A Yale University professor is facing calls for her removal over her controversial social media posts where she justified Hamas terrorists' actions in killing Israeli civilians and referred to Israel as a "murderous, genocidal settler state." The petition titled 'Remove Zareena Grewal from the Yale Faculty for Promoting LIES and VIOLENCE,' has garnered over 35,000 signatures.
Zareena Grewal, an associate professor at Yale specializing in American studies, ethnicity, race, migration, and religious studies, faced backlash for speaking out in support of Palestinians as Hamas' surprise attack on Israel unfolded on early Saturday. The petition argues that her views condone violence, support terrorism, and distort historical facts, contrary to Yale's values.
Facing Backlash for Her Comments
On October 7, Grewal wrote: "My heart is in my throat. Prayers for Palestinians. Israeli [sic] is a murderous, genocidal settler state and Palestinians have every right to resist through armed struggle, solidarity. #FreePalestine."
Grewal, who identifies herself as a "radical Muslim" in her X bio, faced backlash for a series of tweets that seemed to applaud the violent invasion, resulting in the loss of entire families and horrifying acts, such as reported baby decapitations, as confirmed by the Israeli military.
Grewal came under fire for her enthusiastic response when retweeting a news video covering the initial onslaught, where she exclaimed, "It's been such an extraordinary day!"
When journalist Rachel Shabi tweeted, "Civilians are civilians are civilians, doesn't matter where," the Yale educator clapped back, writing in response: "Settlers are not civilians. This is not hard."
In recent days, Grewal has faced further criticism for retweeting posts that accuse Israel of having a 'mad bloodlust' and liken supporters of the Jewish state to people who would have supported 'slave owners' during rebellions.
In Troubled Waters
As of now, it remains unclear if Yale University will take any action or conduct a review regarding Grewal's messages and statements.
On Tuesday, a Yale student named Netanel Crispe launched a petition on Change.org titled "Remove Zareena Grewal from the Yale Faculty for Promoting LIES and VIOLENCE."
"She has unequivocally proven that she has no right being in her current role or in the field of education if she considers war crimes against civilians to be acts of resistance," Crispe wrote.
As of Thursday morning, the petition urging the immediate dismissal of Grewal from her position has garnered over 30,000 signatures. Despite the mounting calls for her removal and the controversy surrounding her tweets, Grewal has not issued a response.
Moreover, she chose to make her X account private on Wednesday evening, limiting public access to her statements and online activity.
In a student-written article for the Yale Daily News, the university reiterated its commitment to upholding Zareena Grewal's right to exercise free speech.
A spokesperson for the Ivy League institution said: "Yale is committed to freedom of expression, and the comments posted on Professor Grewal's personal accounts represent her own views."
In a statement released on Tuesday, university president Peter Salovey denounced the attack by Hamas against Israel. "As a member of the Yale community, I am compelled by our shared sense of humanity to condemn the attacks on civilians by Hamas in the strongest possible terms," Salovey wrote at the time.
In her first book "Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority," Grewal delves into the dynamics of transnational Muslim networks connecting US mosques to Islamic movements in the Middle East.
She has gained recognition for her scholarly work, receiving awards for her writing and research grants from esteemed foundations such as Fulbright, Wenner-Gren, and Luce.
Additionally, Grewal has contributed opinion pieces to notable publications including the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the Islamic Monthly.