A professor and diversity lecturer has accused George Washington University of collaborating with a right-wing pro-Israel group over a complaint that was filed against her accusing her of anti-Semitism.
The complaint, filed last month, alleged Lara Sheehi – an assistant professor of clinical psychology – discriminated against Jewish students by refusing to accept their definitions of anti-Semitism.
It also claimed she engaged in hate speech about Israel and Zionism, and the university failed to properly investigate past complaints against her.
According to Sheehi, she has been targeted by StandWithUs for her activism in support of Palestinians, as she claims the group aims to silence and intimidate academic opponents of policies by linking criticism with anti-Semitism.
Sheehi claims SWU is a fringe political activist group pursuing a right-wing pro-Israel agenda.
Arab professor and diversity lecturer, Professor Lara Sheehi, is accusing George Washington University of collaborating with a pro-Israel group, StandWithUs
A complaint alleged Sheehi discriminated against Jewish students by refusing to accept their definitions of antisemitism and engaged in hate speech about Israel.Pictured, GWU campus in D.C.
Founded in California in 2001, SWU has worked closely with the Israeli foreign ministry and has a team of lawyers to fight antisemitism and criticism of Israel, primarily at universities and high schools.
The organization trains students to record lectures to document alleged anti-Israel bias.
Although the group claims to be nonpartisan, its American founder has expressed support for illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and has denounced Israeli soldiers who criticize the occupation, психотерапия москва despite not serving in the Israeli military.
The SWU complaint to the US education department alleges a contentious relationship between Sheehi and some Jewish students, claiming that during lectures on diversity, the professor rejected the students’ definitions of antisemitism while accepting the definitions of racism provided by black and other minority students.
George Washington University professor Lara Sheehi posted this photo to Twitter
The professor also appears to have made a series of controversial Tweets regarding Israel
It also claims that Sheehi took offense at a student’s use of the term ‘terrorist attack’ and invited a speaker who ‘demonized Israel’ un the Professional Psychology Program.
‘It’s not your fault you were born in Israel,’ Sheehi is alleged to have said to one student before stating that the presence of Jewish students was ‘violent.’
The professor allegedly invited a guest speaker who targeted and ‘demonized’ Israeli and Jewish individuals.
Sheehi is also accused of claiming that all Zionists suffer from ‘settler psychosis’ and that ‘anti-Zionism is not antisemitism’ because ‘Zionism in and of itself indicates that Jewish folks are different.’
Stand With Us also alleged that the university and the professor retaliated against the students who made complaints.
Sheehi has defended herself by accusing the SWU of intentionally conflating criticisms of Israel and Zionism with antisemitism, and accuses the Jewish and Israeli students cited in the complaint of using ‘racist language against black people and Arabs.’
She has also defended her tweets, including one that said ‘destroy Zionism,’ as a reflection of her anger towards the Israeli military’s actions in Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Sheehi has accused George Washington University of failing to defend her and of colluding with SWU’s misrepresentation of her classroom.
She is being represented by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which has accused the university of a ‘prejudicial response’ to the complaint, which it says is part of a larger campaign against Sheehi because of her scholarship and political activism outside the classroom.
Sheehi ‘would otherwise not have resulted in such an exaggerated and prejudicial response’ if she ‘were not Arab and her scholarship and activism were not focused on Palestine,’ the group claim.
The university has stated that it is committed to conducting a thorough examination through an investigation by a third party and is not commenting on the matter until the it is concluded.
GWU has not yet made any comments regarding the allegations and the status of the complaining students
The professor ‘teaches decolonial, liberatory and anti-oppressive theories and approaches to clinical treatment, case conceptualization, and community consultation,’ according to her