The Freedom Center’s campaign to stamp out campus Jew hatred scored a direct hit at the University of Denver this month. In a stealth campaign to circumvent campus censors and reach students directly, Freedom Center operatives distributed 2,500 faux-newspapers across the DU campus containing its new report naming the “Top Ten Jew-Hating Professors in America,” provoking extensive dialogue on the issue and coverage in the campus newspaper.
University of Denver Professor Nader Hashemi was ranked #8 on the list and his profile was featured as the lead story in the Freedom Center’s papers.
“Hashemi has a position of great influence within his field—and he has repeatedly used it to promote the terrorist organization Hamas, to whitewash violence against the Jews and Israel, and to spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to the world at large,” states the article on Hashemi.
The newspapers provoked an immediate reaction and targeted media coverage on campus. In a lengthy article published in the campus newspaper, the DU Clarion, student journalist Matthew Logan reported on the Freedom Center’s campaign and the motives behind it.
[Sara Dogan, the author of the report] said that their “goal in disseminating these newspapers on DU’s campus is twofold. Firstly, we wish to raise awareness among DU students and faculty about the dramatic and horrifying increase in Jew-hatred both on American campuses and in the United States overall, facts that are covered in our report,” which Dogan authored…
“Secondly,” she adds, “we wish to put pressure on the DU administration to confront the anti-Semitism that poisons the DU campus, most notably the comments made by Professor Hashemi whitewashing Palestinian and Hamas violence against Israel and promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories including claiming with zero evidence that the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie was likely instigated by Israeli intelligence agents. Dr. Hashemi holds a position of great influence as the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at DU and we are concerned that his clear animus towards Israel and its Jewish citizens creates a hostile environment for Jewish students on campus.”
In his refreshingly comprehensive article, student journalist Logan also cites statistics from the Freedom Center’s report which show a dramatic increase in campus Jew hatred over the past few years, including a 2023 report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which found there was a 41% increase in antisemitic incidents on American campuses in 2022, and a 36% increase throughout the U.S. at large.
Reached for comment by Logan, Professor Hashemi resorted to unhinged vitriol and ad-hominem attacks, calling the Freedom Center’s characterization of him as “Jew-hating,” “totally and completely false; a distortion of my political views on the Middle East; cherry-picked quotes that seek to portray me as an extremist.” He added that, “the people behind this attack, David Horowitz, is a certifiable fascist and extremist, so I don’t take what he has to say seriously.”
Student journalist Logan also sought out responses from DU administrators who were predictably impassive about the escalating Jew hatred on DU’s campus and instead focused on condemning the tone of the Freedom Center’s hard-hitting report.
Logan quotes Fritz Mayer, Dean of the Korbel School of International Studies at DU, whose statement reads: “For the record, I and the Korbel School utterly reject [the newspapers’] slander and not only affirm Professor Hashemi’s right to speak as a matter of academic freedom, but also strongly defend his record. Throughout his career, Nader has been a consistent voice for human rights and against prejudice of all kinds, including, quite clearly, against anti-Semitism.”
Daniel Bennet, executive director of Hillel of Colorado, also gave a statement condemning the Freedom Center’s report, telling Logan, “while we cannot speak to the truth or falsehood of any of the leaflet’s assertions, we do believe that this type of sensationalism and character assassination does nothing to protect Jewish students from antisemitism, and it does serve to distract us from productive conversations and building positive initiatives that safeguard Jews and other marginalized minorities.”
As Logan notes in his article, DU has been plagued by several recent incidents of Jew hatred: “On Feb. 9 and 12, isolated antisemitic acts took place on DU’s campus at Johnson-McFarlane Hall and Nagel Hall, as three students had their mezuzahs taken down and defiled, and one had pork products smeared on their door.”
Despite these outrageous acts of Jew hatred—and Professor Hashemi’s unhinged comments accusing Israeli operatives of plotting the recent attack on author Salman Rushdie— Rabbi Yossi Serebryanski, who works for Chabad of South Denver/DU, told Logan, “Having lived and worked at DU for twenty years and having spent thousands of hours with students, I am comfortable stating that Jewish life is flourishing.”
In concluding his article, student journalist Logan states:
The University of Denver has found itself at the center of a nationwide campaign to reach college students directly and put pressure on university administrators to react. Following the controversy surrounding Dr. Hashemi, this latest distribution of newspaper leaflets is part of an established and pervasive pattern of the DHFC’s effort to market its publications and values on college campuses across the U.S.
Logan is correct in these assertions. The Freedom Center takes pride in its direct-action campaigns and will continue to fight and expose Jew hatred and the whitewashing of terrorists on campus. The scope of the controversy and coverage sparked by the Freedom Center’s initiative proves just how much more action is needed.