The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called on Princeton University to remove a book promoting antisemitic lies about Israel from the required reading list in a humanities course that is being taught by Professor Satyel Larson this fall. The book, The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability, by Jasbir Puar, falsely accuses Israel of deliberately maiming and “debilitating” the Palestinian Arab population, rather than killing them, “in order to control them.” Puar also falsely claims that children are a “prime target” of Israel.
Despite justifiable outcry from the ZOA and many others – including U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) – Princeton University President Christopher I. Eisgruber is defending the professor’s decision to put this book on her course’s reading list. At a recent faculty meeting, President Eisgruber reportedly stated that when the University is asked to ban or condemn a book, “We of course will not do that. Academic freedom protects our right to decide what to teach and how to teach it.”
President Eigruber expressed the same sentiments to Rep. Gottheimer, after the Congressman urged Princeton to remove the book from the reading list because its author, Puar, “is known to traffic in vile antisemitic tropes” and her book “veers into offensive, antisemitic blood libel.” President Eisgruber again defended the decision to require that students read a book that promotes antisemitic falsehoods: “When faculty members teach a course within our curriculum, academic freedom protects their right to decide what texts they will assign and how best to cover the subject matter.”
Criticizing Princeton’s response and urging the University to rethink its decision, ZOA National President Morton A. Klein stated: “It’s almost impossible to imagine Princeton defending a professor’s decision to mandate the reading of a book claiming that Black people benefited from slavery, or a book claiming that Black people are biologically inferior to white people. Particularly where the professor is not mandating that students read another text expressing a different point of view, the University would surely remove the book or at least strongly condemn including it.”
Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., Director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, added: “Especially at a time of soaring antisemitism in the U.S. and in Princeton’s home state of New Jersey, Princeton should not be defending an unscholarly book that will not educate students but will instead encourage them to hate Israelis and Jews and will give them a false understanding of the Jewish state of Israel and those seeking to destroy it.
“ZOA strongly urges Princeton to rethink its decision. Puar’s antisemitic book, with its fallacious claims, should be removed from the course curriculum.”