A science lecturer at the UK’s University of Essex is being investigated after he allegedly posted anti-Semitic messages on Facebook and called on students to vote against forming a new Jewish society.
At a vote on Thursday, students ultimately voted to allow a new Jewish society on campus, but over 200 students cast ballots against the measure, raising concerns of rising anti-Semitism at the academic institution.
The university is probing claims that computer science lecturer Maaruf Ali had posted content including Holocaust denial, opposition to the creation of a Jewish society at the university and conspiracy theories about Zionism, the Guardian reported.
The posts, which were seen by BBC reporters, have been deleted.
Ali is said to have warned in a post that “the Zionists next want to create a society here at our university!” The warning was written beneath another post claiming Israel planned to “expel 36,000 Palestinians from the Negev.”
Ali is also said to have shared an image from Smoloko.com, a far-right website sympathetic to Nazism, which claimed that during the 2015 Paris terror attacks, a French police officer who was shot dead was actually “a Mossad agent live and well in Buenos Aires … a crypto-Jew in the service of Israeli intelligence,” according to the Guardian.
The lecturer allegedly shared a post claiming that “50,000 Jews protest[ed] Israel” in New York, but that there was a “total mainstream media blackout by the Zionist mafia.”
In a statement the university said they were investigating the incident.
“We are looking into the allegations as a matter of urgency in accordance with our zero-tolerance policy towards harassment and hate crime,” a spokesperson said.
Dave Rich, the head of policy at the Community Security Trust anti-Semitism watchdog called on the university to suspend Ali, the BBC reported.
“It is deeply disturbing that someone who posts such blatantly anti-Semitic material, including Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about a ‘Zionist mafia’ controlling the media, should be teaching students at university,” Rich said, according to the BBC.
“The fact that Maaruf Ali lobbied students to campaign against the creation of a Jewish society shows he does not keep these views to himself. He should be suspended from teaching immediately and Essex University must urgently investigate if he has pushed these antisemitic views on campus previously.”
The University of Essex, which has more than 15,000 students in total, told the BBC it would not comment on Ali’s case, but stressed that it had a zero-tolerance policy for acts of hate.
More than 600 people voted Thursday on the ratification of the Jewish society in total, and about 64% voted in favor.
Following the vote, the national Union of Jewish Students said the fact that so many people were against the ratification of the society was shocking.
“We are deeply disappointed by the significant proportion of students who have voted against the establishment of a Jewish society at the University of Essex,” a spokesman told for the UJS told the BBC.
“The fact that some students at the University of Essex deem it fit to vote against that is quite simply shocking.”
Meanwhile, a student union spokesman at the university insisted that it welcomed the establishment of a Jewish Society.
“As a union we reject any form of hate speech and we are taking all reports of anti-Semitic behavior extremely seriously and ensuring that these are investigated and acted upon,” the spokesman said, according to the BBC.
“In particular we are extremely concerned by the reported comments by a member of university staff and we are representing these concerns and those raised by our members, to the university.”