Arizona State University investigates professor over attack on Muslim woman at pro-Gaza protest

Arizona State University investigates professor over attack on Muslim woman at pro-Gaza protest
Jonathan Yudelman of Arizona State University launched a racist and threatening tirade against a Muslim woman at a pro-Gaza protest.
3 min read
07 May, 2024
Arizona State University has placed a professor on leave after video footage showed him intimidating a Muslim woman in hijab [Getty]

Arizona State University (ASU) has placed a professor on leave and said it was investigating him on Monday after a video showed the academic harassing a Muslim woman at a pro-Palestine march.

"ASU is aware of the allegations against Jonathan Yudelman and is investigating them," a university spokesperson told the Anadolu news agency, adding that he had been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The investigation came after a video shared online showed Yudelman shouting aggressively at a woman wearing the hijab, prompting widespread condemnation and calls for him to be punished.

In the video, Yudelman could be seen surrounded by a pro-Israel mob standing near the woman and following her.

"You don’t like it go back to Jihad, I’m literally in your face," Yudelman can be heard saying in the video while aggressively extending his arms around the woman.

"You’re disrespecting my religious boundaries," the woman responded in the video.

Yudelman, joined by Sammy Ben, a reserve soldier in the Israeli army, then corners the woman by a tree, blocking her from escaping.

"You disrespect my sense of humanity, b*tch, get the f*ck out of here" he replied in the video.

The video footage showed a large counter-protest of pro-Israel demonstrators near a rally in support of Gaza, with many waving the Israeli flag.

In the footage, taken on Sunday, a group of men crowd around the woman, filming her as Yudelman hurls abuse at her.

According to the ASU website, Yudelman teaches two courses at the university, Great Debates in American Politics and Great Ideas of Politics and Ethics.

His profile on the University of Austin website states he is an assistant professor of Political Theory in Intellectual Foundations at the university and holds a Ph. D in political science from Boston College.

It also adds his research focuses on early modern political theory, the idea of progress, sources of political authority and the intersection between politics and religion.

Online, social media users criticised the Yudelman’s behaviour, some highlighting that his actions amount to the legal definition of assault.

"If this is Dr Jonathann Yudelman, he is held to a higher standard. He could be arrested for assault because in this country and in this state ‘blocking someone’s path – if coupled with threatening words or gestures- could possibly qualify as assault," one person noted.

"Two cowards exposed! Sammy Ben enjoys torturing Palestinians with the IDF so much, that he puts videos on social media. The other is Jonathan Yudelman, an assistant professor and fellow," another wrote.

US police have launched a heavy crackdown on protesters taking part in encampments across US universities since 17 April.

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The protesters, who are demanding a Gaza ceasefire and the divestment from Israel-linked companies have been met with arrests, suspensions, and the tearing down of tents and barricades.

Over 2,000 people have been arrested since the start of the protests, which have shown no signs of waning.

The protest encampments, which started at Columbia University, have now spread across the US and internationally, growing in numbers.

They come as Israel continues to bombard the Gaza Strip, killing over 34,700 Palestinians over the past seven months. An additional 78,000 have been wounded, while Gaza’s Civil Defence crews say at least 10,000 remain under the rubble.