NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Rutgers University is embroiled in a campus controversy.
A United Nations watchdog group wants to know why the school hired a fierce critic of Israel who spent years working for a man most consider a war criminal.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, next semester Rutgers students will be able to sign up for a political science class called ‘International Criminal Law And Anti-Corruption.’
It’s taught by Dr. Mazen Adi who is listed as an adjunct professor.
On the Rutgers University website, the biography for Mazen Adi mentions his impressive credentials including 16 years as a career diplomat.
But the bio doesn’t mention who he worked for — the pariah nation of Syria, and dictator Bashar Al-Assad who has been widely considered a war criminal for using chemical weapons on his own people – an oversight first noticed by the The Algemeiner newspaper, a Jewish newspaper based in New York.
During his years at the U.N. Mazen Adi defended Assad and accused Israelis of an unimaginable crime; helping to traffic children’s organs.
“Organs of children? That’s a little much to be honest. People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts, and in this case that’s just simply false,” Mark Ibrahim said.
“If he says this to a classroom, then I kind of disagree with him being here,” David Mikhail said.
Asked for comment a spokesman said, “Rutgers will not defend the content of every opinion expressed by every member of our academic community, but the university will defend their rights to academic freedom and to speak freely.”
The answer wasn’t good enough for the group UN Watch. It’s director spoke from Amsterdam.
“Whoever allowed a representative for 7 years at the United Nations of the genocidal Syrian regime to teach international criminal law should resign,” Hillel Neuer said.
An online petition calling for Adi to be fired has almost 1,000 signatures.
The Rutgers professor did not respond to repeated requests for comment. CBS2 is also waiting for comment from Governor Chris Christie, and Senators Menendez and Booker.