NEW BRUNSWICK — A Rutgers professor who is under review by the school for allegedly sharing anti-Semitic posts on Facebook said some of the posts in question might have been put there by hackers — and said does not believe he is anti-Semitic.

But in a statement addressing the posts, Professor Michael Chikindas also repeated his assertion that Zionism — the movement that resulted in a Jewish state of Israel — is racist. And he defended personally sharing at least some of the images and posts called into question by Jewish blogs and other media.

He also never explicitly said none of the posts were his — only that "I cannot say with confidence that everything on my page was shared by me."

"Should I knew that sharing these freely available pictures questioning Zionism on possible racist actions can be seen as antisemitic, I would never do it," Chikindas wrote in an email to New Jersey 101.5 " I strictly separate Antisemitism from intolerance to Zionism."

Chikindas said his personal computer had been hacked and that "several public accounts" that were hacked "exposed my personal information, which was NEVER accessible for anyone else except those who I personally chose."

Chikindas said photographs "were modified to make me look ugly and many harassing comments appeared on my Facebook page which was not set up for free access by outsiders, without my approval."

The professor, who also serves as the director of the center for digestive health said there is a "good chance" that some things seen on his wall were put there by other people.

The posts came to light after they were shared by the blog Israellycool. The site, which describes itself as “one of Israel’s largest English-blogs” published screenshots of Chikindas’ Facebook page, does not currently appear to be publicly available.

The Algemeiner, which describes itself as “the fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America,” also quoted Chikindas calling Judaism “the most racist religion in the world,” and calling Israel a “terrorist country.” It linked to Facebook posts that no longer appear available.

In one of the screenshots of a post Chikindas says the "jewish mother****** do not control me."

"They can go f*** each other in their fat arses — you see, I do not have anything to loose, hence nothing to be controlled," he wrote.

That post was sharing another page's link to an article titled "The Globalists: Who controlls us."

Another included crude caricatures of Jews:

Screenshot via
Screenshot via

Several others cartoons criticizing Israeli policies or the U.S.'s relationship to Israel included similar Jewish caricatures as well. In another post, Chikindas responded to Facebook serving him an "orthodox Judiasm Zionist racist advertisement" with "Do not force me to love the so-called 'Chosen' and I will not tell you where you have to go."

All of the screen shots shared by the blog appear to be from May of this year.

Chikindas said despite the content of some of the posts in question he does not consider himself to be anti-Semitic.

"It is my lifelong credo that all people are born equal regardless of their ethnicity, religion and wealth," he said. "I am equally intolerant to all forms of racism, without exclusions. The pictures I shared from other Facebook pages were not removed by the Facebook mediators which made me think they are not violating any rules while raising a question of possible racist nature of Zionism."

Since the posts have been made public, Chikindas said he has received several messages "all of which are full of hate and with a content insulting to me and my parents."

"Many of these messages are coming from Israel-based individuals of Russian origin, and many of these are of a questionable racist nature as I am referred to as a Goyim, and my health and life are being threatened," he said.

According to his resume on his Rutgers website, Chikindas received his bachelor and masters degrees at Yerevan State University in Armenia. He also received his Ph. D from an institution in Moscow in 1984. He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Louisiana State University in 1997 before coming to New Jersey the following year.

"Being an explorer, I am not a conservative, stubborn person," he said. "I am open to civilized discussion with opponents and am willing to accept another person's opinion should it be delivered in a sound and civilized manner."

Rutgers Hillel released a statement on its website condemning Chikenda's posts:

"Remarks by Prof. Michael Chikindas and his posts on social media express a base racism, homophobia, and misogyny which has no place in our university or our society," the statement said. "His vile anti-Semitism is a profound embarrassment to our University and a source of pain and bewilderment to our students, the largest Jewish undergraduate population in America, and to our alumni, parents, and supports."

In addition to the social media posts by Chikindas, the school is also investigating flyers spread by a white supremacist group, and a racist poster seen on a campus bus. According to Hillel, Rutgers professor Jasbir Puar "will be publishing a book accusing the world's only Jewish state of what amounts to a modern blood libel."

Puar is listed by the school as an associate professor of women's and gender studies at Rutgers, who according to a call to the department, is on sabbatical this year. A link on her university website to her personal website does not appear to be active. According to an article in the Dartmouth, a student got in trouble for attempting to record a talk Puar was involved in at the school last year.

"Each of these incidents gives voice to traditional racist, anti-Jewish tropes," the Hillel statement said. "They both reflect and contribute to trends in our society in which the expression of extremism and prejudice have become common place and even acceptable."

The Hillel statement also said that Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Deasish Dutta met with Hillel leaders "to assure us that the University takes this issue very seriously and that there will be accountability."

"We are united in the conviction that Jewish students should not and will not face open antisemitism from the faculty of our State University," the statement said.

A statement from Rutgers University, reached by New Jersey 101.5 Wednesday, called Chikindas’ comments and posts “antithetical to our university’s principles and values of respect for people of all backgrounds, including, among other groups, our large and vibrant Jewish Community.

The statement adds that his comments “do not represent the position of the University.”

“Rutgers’ position on free speech is clear: All of the members of our community, including faculty and staff, are free to express their viewpoints in public forums as private citizens,” the school said. “Yet at Rutgers University we must also foster an environment free from discrimination, as articulated in our policy prohibiting discrimination.”

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