Last month, I wrote about Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, the "professor of peace" at Oberlin College. Mahallati was the mullahs' man at the United Nations in the 1980s during which time he called for a global jihad against Israel.
Mahalliti was the scourge of Iran's religious minorities, the Baha'i population in particular. An Amnesty International report accused him of crimes against humanity by covering up the massacre of at least 5,000 innocent Iranian prisoners in 1988.
At Oberlin, the "professor of peace" allegedly requires students in his Religion class to post anti-Israel blog entries that reflect the professor's lectures and assigned readings. Students say they were also required to blog that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) is a pro-peace effort.
(Mahallati's course listing states he is teaching remotely. According to this article, he spends time in Shiraz, Iran. It's not clear whether he is teaching peace, love, and understanding from Iran.)
The allegations regarding Mahallati's anti-Israel teachings are the subject of a civil rights complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education. That agency is now controlled by Team Biden, so it's not clear whether the complaint will be treated seriously.
As for Amnesty International's finding that Mahalliti committed crimes against humanity, Oberlin said earlier this year that it "is aware of the allegations and is taking steps to address them." I suggested in my post that Oberlin might not be serious about its investigation.
On October 12, Oberlin released a statement declaring that it "could find no evidence to corroborate the allegations against Professor Mahallati, including that he had specific knowledge of the murders taking place in Iran." Oberlin also stated that since coming to Oberlin in 2007 "Professor Mahallati has developed a reputation for espousing religious tolerance and seeking peace and understanding between all people." According to Oberlin, his record at the college "includes no instances of the anti-Semitic or anti-Israel behavior of which he has been accused."
The Oberlin Review begs to differ. A review of the record, summarized in a series of articles, led it to conclude that the evidence that Mahallati covered up crimes against humanity is "irrefutable."
Mahalliti's defense rests on the fact that, at the time of the executions, he was in New York serving as the regime's U.N. ambassador and did not know about the atrocities. The Oberlin Review responds:
This could very well be true. However, within a few months of the executions, there were several instances where Mahallati was confronted about the killings. Instead of publicly calling for a detailed investigation or speaking out against his own government, he insisted on an alternate narrative of events and denied that the executions took place. This is not the conduct of an innocent or ignorant official — rather, it points to deliberate actions taken to hide the atrocities committed by Iran from the world.
Mahallati continued to take this position as evidence of the executions poured in:
Even if Mahallati did not hear from his own government about the executions, he could not have remained ignorant for long. Between August and December 1988, Amnesty International sent 16 Urgent Action notices, calling for activists to protest the unjust executions of political dissidents. These activists relentlessly sent letters to the head of Iran's Supreme Court, Iran's Minister of Justice, and diplomatic representatives of Iran, demanding that Iran cease the executions.
Furthermore, on Nov. 9, 1988, U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions S. Amos Wako wrote and published reports of Iranian prisoners being executed, detailing the transfer of their corpses. Similar reports were sent by Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, U.N. special representative on the human rights situation in Iran. Mahallati met with Pohl on Nov. 29, 1988.
Thus, as the Oberlin Review's editors conclude, Mahallati was aware of his government's butchery within months. Yet:
In his Nov. 29 meeting with Pohl, he claimed that the victims were killed in battle, rather than executed. In his official capacity as ambassador, he never backtracked this claim, even though human rights agencies have proven it to be false.
The editors also point out that Oberlin refuses to release any details of its investigation, including who the investigating party was and what materials were looked at. It also refuses to speak with the activists and family members who decry Mahallati's employment at the College. Many activists assert that they have been blocked by President Carmen Twillie Ambar on Twitter after attempting to bring her attention to this issue by tagging her.
Furthermore, based on Oberlin's only public statement about the investigation, it appears that the inquiry may have been confined to killings of members of the People's Mujahedin Party of Iran. The editors point out that this omits multiple other groups that were — and continue to be — persecuted in Iran, including the aforementioned Baha'is against whom the "professor of peace" railed. As the editors say:
Mahallati's rhetoric about the Baha'is laid the groundwork for Iran to commit genocide against the Baha'i community. To this day, Baha'is are systematically persecuted, tortured, and killed in Iran.
For more on Mahallati's actions in the 1980s, Oberlin's investigation, and protests against the college's whitewash, see this article in the Jerusalem Post.