Werner Cohn, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of British Columbia, has been making quite a name for himself this year as someone who wants to shut down academic critics of Israel.
He was among the academics leading the smear campaign against Brooklyn College professor Moustafa Bayoumi, the editor of a book highly critical of the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Bayoumi’s other book about Arab-Americans in Brooklyn was assigned as reading for incoming freshmen at Brooklyn College, which prompted Cohn and others to create an uproar.
Now, Cohn is attacking a self-described anti-Zionist Jew named Jennifer Peto who recently published a thesis on Jewish identity, victim hood and Israel.
The University of Toronto is coming under fire for granting its “imprimatur” to a master’s thesis that critics say is an allegation of “Jewish racism” and is of low academic standards.
In a letter to University of Toronto president David Naylor, retired sociology professor Werner Cohn said the thesis posits that “the Jews of the world, most particularly those of Canada and the United States, are racist and seek to oppress people of colour everywhere.”
The thesis, Cohen goes on, is averse to empirical data, and its author, Jennifer Peto, “makes wild… charges against her fellow Jews without a shred of evidence. . . ”
Summarizing her thesis, Peto stated that it “focuses on issues of Jewish identity, whiteness and victimhood within hegemonic Holocaust education. I argue that today, Jewish people of European descent enjoy white privilege and are among the most socio-economically advantaged groups in the West. Despite this privilege, the organized Jewish community makes claims about Jewish victimhood that are widely accepted within that community and within popular discourse in the West…”
To give you an idea on where Cohn is coming from, he has written on “Jews who hate Israel,” links to documents that supposedly show Noam Chomsky’s “links to the neo-Nazis” and recently wrote a blog post that compared the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to the Nazi campaign of boycotting Jewish-owned businesses in Germany.
It appears Cohn has somewhat of an obsession with members of the Jewish community who are critical of Israeli policy. But instead of interrogating why such members exist–the occupation, massacres in Gaza, the colonization of the West Bank–he simply denounces them as “haters” of Israel.