University of Texas Vindicates Israeli Professor, Dismisses Complaint of Anti-Israel Students | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion

Verified

UT-Austin Vindicates Israeli Professor

By Carly F. Gammill1457712071144

This is a tremendous victory for free speech against anti-Israel bullying on college campuses.

We received news yesterday that the University of Texas has concluded its investigation of a student complaint against our client, Israeli Professor Ami Pedahzur, and cleared him of any wrongdoing, recognizing the lack of any credible evidence to support the student’s allegations. This was unquestionably the correct result given the entirely baseless nature of the accusations against Dr. Pedahzur, who was actually the target of hostile conduct in this situation. The University’s conclusion—rejecting the distorted narrative of the complainant and vindicating Dr. Pedahzur—is unsurprising given the actual facts.

Last fall, Dr. Pedahzur, as the Director of the Institute for Israel Studies at UT-Austin, was hosting an event on campus involving the presentation of a guest speaker on Israel’s military culture. As the event was about to begin, a group of students from UT’s Palestinian Solidarity Committee stood across the back of the room holding a Palestinian flag while one of the students began giving his own speech.

Although Dr. Pedahzur repeatedly invited the students to stay and learn, they refused, preferring instead to disrupt the event with their anti-Israel speech, which eventually culminated in chants of “Long Live the Intifada.” For anyone who is unfamiliar with Israel-Palestine politics, the “intifada” refers to a series of Palestinian uprisings against Israel, which have included numerous violent acts and attacks against Israelis. Such a chant obviously connotes support for physical aggression and thus, unsurprisingly, created a clearly hostile atmosphere.

Despite their responsibility for this atmosphere, the students subsequently published heavily edited video footage of their disruptive behavior in an attempt to make it appear that Dr. Pedahzur was to blame. At least one student then filed a complaint with the University claiming that Dr. Pedahzur was guilty of discrimination and harassment.

After a lengthy investigation process, University administrators uncovered the truth and correctly resolved the matter in Dr. Pedahzur’s favor, finding a lack of credible evidence to support the allegations against him, and dismissing the complaint. Not only did the University reach the right result; crucially, it refused to be taken in by the false narrative of students aimed at harming the reputation of an Israeli professor and, in the process, the campus community as a whole.

Ironically, this is a professor widely recognized—including by UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves—for having consistently “fostered open, responsible dialogue, often on contentious political issues, including those involving Israel” and “protect[ing] freedom of speech for all, including the diverse students” at UT. It is unfortunate that these students chose not to exercise their right to freedom of speech in a more responsible manner, as Dr. Pedahzur invited them to do, opting instead to level false accusations against him based on their own misconduct.

We are pleased, however, that Dr. Pedahzur has been vindicated by the University and can continue his valuable contributions to the UT community. Like Dr. Pedahzur, we remain committed to the principles of free and open dialog on campus, including on controversial topics, and will continue to defend those members of the campus community who find themselves the targets of others who seek to turn those rights on their head. 

DonateYOUR GIFT DOUBLED
$20
$40
$60
$120
$240
Make this a monthly tax-deductible gift.

Take action with the ACLJ as we continue fighting for life and liberty. Make a tax-deductible gift today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.

Email Address is required.
First Name is required.
Last Name is required.
Credit Card Number is required.
Verification Code is required.
Expiration Month is required.
Expiration Year is required.
Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.
Latest in
Israel

Hundreds of Terrorist Rockets Fired from Gaza

By ACLJ.org1542212439383

Israel has been pushed to the brink of war. Already this week, more than 300 deadly rockets and mortar shells have rained down on Israel, reportedly launched by Islamic jihadists like the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. According to the Israel Defense Forces, more than 300...

read more

Israel Under Attack – Rockets, Anti-Israel U.N., Proxy War

By ACLJ.org1541178109101

Israel is under attack. Another 30 new deadly jihadist rockets were just fired on Israel, reportedly launched from the Gaza Strip. On Friday night militants in Gaza fired at least 30 rockets towards Israel. The Israeli military responded with air strikes on what it said were more than 80 military...

read more

UN Gives "Palestine" Illegitimate Seat of Power

By ACLJ.org1540478417462

The anti-Israel U.N. is at it again, siding with Palestinian demands, undermining the U.S., and undercutting the peace process in the Middle East. Despite its continued violent attacks and threats against our ally Israel, the United Nations just voted to further empower the terrorist-funding...

read more

Defunding UNRWA is the Right Move

By Jay Sekulow1536940048882

President Trump’s decision to defund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is, of course, the right move from a legal perspective, but lest there be any confusion, it also is the just and empathetic response towards an organization that long has done a disservice to the very population...

read more