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Rep. Tenney Calls for Cornell Professor to Resign Over Hamas Comments


Congresswoman Claudia Tenney is calling for the Cornell University professor who publicly expressed support for Hamas to resign.

Last weekend, Professor Russell Rickford spoke at a rally in downtown Ithaca and described Hamas’ attacks on Israel as “exhilarating and energizing.” Cornell President Martha Pollack says Rickford’s remarks were “reprehensible” and are under review.

On Friday, Congresswoman Tenney sent a letter to President Pollack demanding the associate professor of history at Cornell step down immediately for his anti-semitic remarks.

In the letter, Tenney wrote, “Anti-Semitism should not be tolerated in academia or any other part of a civilized society. Professor Rickford holds a position within the university that allows him to mold and influence young minds. This position demands a higher standard of behavior, one that is free from anti-Semitic rhetoric and the vocal support of terrorism. By perpetuating these abhorrent views, Professor Rickford has not only violated his ethical responsibility as an educator but has also jeopardized the safety of the Jewish community and tarnished Cornell University’s reputation. I sincerely hope that, as the President of Cornell, you will take this matter seriously and understand the severity of these faculty statements.”

Rickford released a statement apologizing for his comments:

“I apologize for the horrible choice of words that I used in a portion of a speech that was intended to stress grassroots African American, Jewish and Palestinian traditions of resistance to oppression. I recognize that some of the language I used was reprehensible and did not reflect my values. As I said in the speech, I abhor violence and the violent targeting of civilians. I am sorry for the pain that my reckless remarks have caused my family, my students, my colleagues and many others in this time of suffering. As a scholar, a teacher, an activist and a father, I strive to uphold the values of human dignity, peace and justice. I want to make it clear that I unequivocally oppose and denounce racism, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, militarism, fundamentalism and all systems that dehumanize, divide and oppress people. “

Rep. Tenney’s full letter can be read below:

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