Members of the grassroots Zionist group Im Tirtzu handed out the recently-published “Charlie Hebdo” cover at Hebrew University this week, in defiance of warnings by Muslims who threatened violence if it is published in Israel.
The activists claim that while they were distributing and posting the cover around campus, Dr. Ofer Kassif, a professor of political science at Hebrew University, approached them and began, without any apparent reason, to shout curses at them such as “Scumbags!” and “Rubbish!” He allegedly turned to the students that stood by and asked “What are these [expletive] doing here?… You scumbags, go back to your friends in Italy from 70 years ago!” — an apparent reference to the Fascist movement under Benito Mussolini.
The incident took place during a break in classes in a crowded corridor. Some members of Im Tirtzu are students in the political science department, who have taken or will take courses from Kassif himself.
Im Tirtzu responded by sending a strongly-worded letter to the university administration demanding that the professor be prosecuted.
Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, said: “The thuggish and violent behavior of Dr. Ofer Kassif, a professor at Hebrew University, crossed a dangerous red line. It is against all students who want to express their views on campus using legitimate means. The university president should impose all possible sanctions against the professor, including a hearing before a dismissal committee. Intimidation and fear – that is, the use of terror – against students who think differently from the lecturer is suitable for perhaps Islamic State or Gaza, but certainly not in the State of Israel.”
The Hebrew University Spokesperson told Arutz Sheva that "in cases like these, students are allowed to submit a complaint to the Academic Staff Disciplinary Officer and it will be taken care of in accordance with regulations. The university encourages open, cultured discourse and denounces any use of vile language and verbal violence. The Dean of the Faculty for Social Science, Prof. Vered Vinitzky Sarousi, has spoken to Dr. Kassif, who has apologized for the way he spoke.