Sujatha Fernandes 'Fake news' claim

Sujatha Fernandes, a University of Sydney Sociology professor while teaching first-year students has told them that Hamas’s mass rapes and sexual ­violence on October 7 were “fake news” and a “hoax” peddled by the media.

Prof Fernandes, who is of Goan Indian descent and an Australian-American academic, teaching her class in April, went on to claim that the media was “distorting” the conflict, and the terrorist group’s mass rapes on and after October 7 were a “hoax”, The Australian reported.

BT understands the University has confirmed it would look into the matter as a priority.

“Western media has played the role of an ideological state apparatus by suppressing coverage of the atrocities, peddling fake news (promoted hoaxes that Hamas beheaded babies and carried out mass rape, in order to shore up support for Israel), and distorting events,” Professor Fernandes said.

The professor, whose social-media accounts have shown her supporting the months’ long activist encampments, made the claims while using Israel as a “case study” in a lecture on “power”.

Professor Fernandes did not call Hamas a terrorist group but alleged that Israel had engaged in “ethnic cleansing, collective punishment and forced starvation”.

“Western governments have largely supported the Israeli government – sending arms to Israel, cutting funds to Palestinian aid organisations, and repressing dissent at home,” she told the class.

Prof Fernandes, who is also an Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York claims her (activist) work “explores social and labor movements, participatory media and art, global Black cultures, migrant workers, and climate storytelling”.

“Her writings are concerned with the stories of those erased by history, multi-racial working class solidarities, colonialism, neoliberalism, and socialist alternatives”.

Sujatha Fernandes is also working a novel about Goan migrants in coastal Karnataka during the colonial wars of the eighteenth century.

What is most interesting is her confession that she has a long-standing interest in political education. And that is on an exquisite display in that lecture. Sujatha Fernandes points particularly to an article in the New York Times, ‘Screams without words’ and attempts to totally discredit it and questions why it was still there on the New York Times website and not taken down.

One Jewish student, speaking anonymously to The Australian, said the statements (of Prof Fernandes) showed a “rising trend of anti-Semitism” at the university.

“(It’s) a trend I feel every day, especially at the university. I find it ridiculous how these same individuals will deny undeniable proof of the events of October 7, which Hamas proudly filmed themselves doing”, The Australian quoted the student saying.

In that lecture,

It seems a ridiculous stretch by an academic, and what is most horrifying is the fact that such an attempt is made by an academic of an Australian university, to deny atrocities, not denied by even Hamas leadership. What some would label as indoctrination, this kind of intellectual posturing is unhelpful and can be counterproductive.

Sanity needs to be called in, now not later. Political leaders, statesmen and diplomats should step in, put their heads together to not only arrest the degeneration of sensible parleys, but fix the mess which has persisted for far too long.

That should relieve the hard-working academics self-engaged in a race to the ‘left’, which, unchecked, will defeat everyone in the end, even those not running it.

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