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UPenn honors activist professor who accused Israel of ‘genocide’

Meanwhile, university faces criticism, questioning about its response to antisemitism on campus

A University of Pennsylvania professor who signed a letter last fall accusing Israel of “genocide” just received a social justice award named in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The award given to Dorothy Roberts, a professor of law and sociology who describes herself as an activist, comes amid on-going concerns about the University of Pennsylvania’s response to antisemitism.

The university’s Center for Africana Studies presented the MLK Jr. Social Justice Award to Roberts on Wednesday while praising her “prestigious research and activism,” according to posts on its X account. The Annenberg School of Communication, the Penn Carey Law School, and the Department of Sociology also are involved in the awards program.

While Roberts primarily focuses on race and gender issues, she also has weighed in on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

In October, she joined other Ivy League professors in responding to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack by accusing Israel of “genocide” and calling for a ceasefire in a letter to President Joe Biden, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

Although the letter did condemn Hamas terrorists for the Oct. 7 violence, it also faulted Israel for responding with military action, describing the country as an “apartheid regime whose occupation is in clear violation of international law” and stating that Palestinians “face genocide and ethnic cleansing,” according to the Beacon.

Roberts said in an Oct. 18 post on X that she felt “morally compelled” to sign the letter.

The University of Pennsylvania and other Ivy League schools continue to face questions and criticism about antisemitism on their campuses.

In December, President Liz Magill resigned after she was criticized for her response during a U.S. Congressional hearing when asked if calling for the “genocide of Jews” violates school harassment and bullying policies. The chairman of its Board of Trustees also resigned.

Later, a major donor pulled $100 million from the university in response to Magill’s testimony, The College Fix reported.

Additionally, two Jewish students are suing the Pennsylvania university alleging it allows “virulent anti-Jewish hatred, harassment and discrimination,” CNN reports. Other universities, including Harvard and Rutgers, are facing similar lawsuits.

MORE: UChicago magazine says Israel committing ‘genocide,’ calls for ‘liberation of Palestine’

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.