Anti-Semitic Allegations Swirl Around MIT Postdoc's Demand To Close Israeli Company

By Greg Moriarty | Wednesday, 03 April 2024 03:00 PM
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Afif Aqrabawi, a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has sparked controversy with his recent call to action against an Israeli company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This follows his anti-Semitic tirade last month, in which he labelled Virginia Foxx, chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, a "treasonous Zionist tool" and referred to Israelis as "parasites."

Aqrabawi, who works in MIT's Tonegawa neuroscience lab, urged his Twitter followers to shut down Elbit Systems, an Israeli company that supplies counterterrorism equipment to Israel. This call was in response to a suggestion from a follower to close down a Raytheon facility in Bedford, Massachusetts. Aqrabawi responded, "Elbit in Cambridge as well. No stoping [sic] until liberation."

Elbit Systems has been a target of anti-Israel activists, particularly since the recent terrorist assault on Israel by Hamas. The company's facilities have been vandalized, and its employees harassed, as part of a broader campaign against Jews.

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Aqrabawi's call to action was accompanied by images of a pro-Palestinian protest in Boston that disrupted traffic last Saturday. It remains uncertain whether Aqrabawi participated in this illegal protest, which managed to close a Boston bridge for half an hour. Neither MIT nor Aqrabawi have responded to requests for comment.

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This incident comes amidst allegations that MIT and other institutions are violating Title VI by allowing anti-Israel events on campus that endanger students and have led to repeated instances of harassment.

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Aqrabawi faced criticism last month for his anti-Semitic outburst following the House Committee on Education and the Workforce's request for MIT to provide internal documents regarding its response to anti-Semitism on campus. Aqrabawi used derogatory language to describe Foxx and other House members, referring to them as "Israeli bootlickers." He also made derogatory remarks about American politicians and Israelis.

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Foxx told the Washington Free Beacon that Aqrabawi's actions demonstrate "very, very strong anti-Semitic feelings at MIT," and that the university needs to address this issue. A committee source echoed these sentiments, stating that Aqrabawi's rhetoric justifies the committee's investigation into MIT.

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Aqrabawi has previously referred to Israelis as "mentally ill Nazis," a term he admits is "hateful." He has also expressed hope that supporters of the genocide will be haunted by the ghosts of the victims.

In the wake of Hamas's attack on Israel on October 7, Aqrabawi compared Israel's retaliatory war against the terrorist group to "Nazism, disguised as Israeli self-defense." Last month, he claimed that Hamas members did not rape Israelis during the attack, a statement that was later contradicted by a U.N. report confirming evidence of such atrocities.

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Aqrabawi's actions and statements have raised serious concerns about anti-Semitism at MIT and have prompted calls for the university to take action. His call to shut down an Israeli company in Cambridge is the latest in a series of controversial actions that have drawn attention and criticism.

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