AN academic at the University of New England (UNE) in NSW – who controversially defended a student’s thesis disputing the Holocaust – is in the spotlight again, this time for allegedly displaying anti-Semitic cartoons.
The cartoons, reportedly seen on the office door of Professor Thomas Fudge by a UNE student, depicting demeaning Jewish stereotypes, have been denounced by the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC).
The ADC identified the cartoons on Fudge’s door as the work of Carlos Latuff, who was awarded second prize in 2006 in the Iranian Holocaust cartoon competition.
In one cartoon, a Jewish caricature exclaims, “Anti-Semitism! Anti-Semitism!” to a figure holding a placard with the words, “Free Palestine! End Occupation!” In another, an angry Jewish character, learning of a pro-Palestine rally, rushes to break a fire extinguisher box containing a megaphone, beneath an inscription, “In case of increasing of world support to Palestine, break the glass and shout anti-Semitism”.
ADC chair Dvir Abramovich said, “Imagine being a Jewish student, about to enter the office for a consultation, and being confronted with these disturbing and offensive posters which demonise and portray Jews and Israelis in a highly negative way.
“In a climate of rising -anti-Semitism on Australian campuses, such troubling representations and blatant propagandising will only further isolate Jewish students and make them feel unwelcome.
“Clearly these posters do not belong at any educational institution and undermine the university as a place where students are all treated equally and are accorded respect regardless of their background. Imagine the outcry if other ethnic, religious and cultural groups were depicted in such a way,” he added.
Fudge, a lecturer in medieval European history at UNE since 2012, was embroiled in a Holocaust revisionism controversy in New Zealand in 2003.
He resigned as a history lecturer at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand that year, after writing an article defending a student’s thesis.
Student Joel Hayward’s 1993 Master of Arts thesis included arguments against widely known facts about the Shoah, drawing condemnation from the New Zealand Jewish Council and a call for his degree to be revoked.
The university reviewed the thesis, confirming significant flaws but did not recommend it be withdrawn.
Contacted by The AJN, a UNE spokesperson said on Wednesday: “This issue was brought to the attention of UNE management yesterday and we are currently looking into the matter.”