Kent State reprimands historian who blasted academics who support Israel

Historians in the News
tags: Middle East, Israel, Hamas, Gaza, Julio Pino

Kent State University has distanced itself from a professor who charged that academics who support Israel are responsible for the murder of 1,400 Palestinians who died during the recent conflict in Gaza. Julio Pino, an associate professor of history at Kent State, leveled the accusation in an open letter to HNN on August 2.  Two days later the university publish this brief statement on the school website:

It has come to our attention that a Kent State University professor posted an online statement charging scholars with responsibility for civilian deaths in Gaza. We condemn the professor’s statement as reprehensible and irresponsible. 

 At Kent State, we value collegiality and mutual respect. Assailing the public with broad statements of culpability violates these principles. 

In his open letter Professor Pino, who teaches Latin American history, charged that academic supporters of Israel are 

directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women and elderly civilians over the past month. This is not symbolic or even legally justified homicide on your part but actual, cold-blooded, calculated killing, for which you are culpable. Your names are scrawled on every bullet fired, bomb dropped, body buried and burnt forehead in Gaza. May your names become a curse word on the lips of every justice-loving person on earth, along with “Obama” and “Netanyahu”

The letter immediately circulated around the Internet, drawing harsh criticism.  On Twitter he was denounced as anti-Semitic. The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Kent State to denounce Pino's statement.  By then Kent State had already posted the statement quoted above.