The Department of Education has launched a federal anti-semitism probe into Oberlin College over a professor of peace studies who called for the elimination of Israel.
The probe by the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights was launched on September 29, the New York Post reported. The investigation is examining whether Oberlin violated Title VI, which protects students from discrimination based on race or national origin.
The probe could result in Oberlin losing some of the millions in federal funding it receives every year — last year the school received $5 million in federal grants.
The private Ohio liberal arts college just outside of Cleveland employs tenured professor Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, who teaches religion as well as Middle East and North Africa studies. Mahallati has previously called himself "professor of peace."
The probe was spurred by a 2019 complaint from Oberlin College graduate Melissa Landa, who sent the Education Department a dossier of allegedly antisemitic incidents from between 2014 and 2017. The dossier focuses on Mahallati.
Mahallati is accused of supporting the Palestinian terror group Hamas and giving students credit for writing anti-Israel blogs as well as telling his classes in 2016 that "Israel is a colonialist state" and "Israel is an apartheid state."
Mahallati, 71, was previously Iran's ambassador to the United Nations. During that period, he is also accused of defending the Supreme Leader of Iran's fatwa calling for the assassination of the novelist Salman Rushdie over Rushdie's novel, "The Satanic Verses."
Rushdie was stabbed in 2022 by a supporter of the Iranian regime while speaking at an event in upstate New York.
Also while Iran's ambassador, Mahallati said at the United Nations in 1989 that Palestinian-controlled land's "occupation by Zionist usurpers is a transgression against all Muslims of the world and its liberation is therefore a great religious obligation and commitment."
Mahallati has also taught at Columbia, Georgetown, and Princeton.
Mahallati's classes at Oberlin were canceled in the spring. Previously, students boycotted and protested the professor's classes, alleging that he covered up crimes against humanity in Iran in the 1980s.
An Oberlin spokeswoman told the Post that Mahallati was on "sabbatical" this semester.
The complaint against Oberlin also accuses the school of failing to protect Jewish students, saying that in 2014, members of Students for a Free Palestine at the school put over 2,000 black flags outside Rosh Hashanah services, allegedly implying that Jewish students were responsible for events in Israel.
The Department of Education's probe comes after last month, when Hamas launched deadly terrorist attacks on Israel that killed more than 1,400 people, including children. Israel is now waging a massive counteroffensive, launching airstrikes in Hamas-controlled territory and preparing for a ground offensive.