Commentary Magazine


Why Didn’t NYU Cut Nir Rosen Loose a Long Time Ago?

It took a Twitter joke about Lara Logan’s sexual assault in Egypt to finally push NYU’s Center for Law and Security to revoke Nir Rosen’s fellowship today. The question is, what took so long?

As Jeffrey Goldberg reports at the Atlantic, Rosen has been making disturbing and violent comments on Twitter for quite awhile. Of course, the difference was that these remarks took aim at politically correct targets — America and Israel — while his Tweet mocking Logan’s sexual assault was decidedly un-PC.

Much of Rosen’s most vitriol appears to be focused on Israel, and his Tweets run the gamut from unvarnished hatred of the Jewish state to outright anti-Semitism:

Many of his tweets are given over to expressions of hatred of Israel, and wishes for its destruction. He openly advocates for violence against Israel: “Yes to a 3rd Intifada. This time hopefully with the support of the Palestinians citizens of ‘Israel,’” and he states that “Israel’s existence is a blight unto the nations.” …

The creepiest tweet of Rosen’s is this one, I think, from December 3rd, 2010: “On Hannuka, Just think, if only the Greeks had been better at counterinsurgency we wouldn’t have these problems today. Where was Petraeus?” The meaning of this is fairly obvious: Hannukah marks the defeat of a Syrian-Greek empire by a Jewish insurgency. If the Greeks had won, the Jews would have been slaughtered. He also wrote that same day, “genocide is modern concept (except when jews are doing it on god’s orders in the old testament) greeks were just hellenizing.”

Based on the content of Rosen’s Tweets, the statement from NYU on his resignation couldn’t have been more tone-deaf:

“Nir Rosen is always provocative, but he crossed the line with his comments about Lara Logan. I am deeply distressed by what he wrote about Ms. Logan and strongly denounce his comments,” said Karen J. Greenberg, the executive director of NYU’s Center for Law and Security.

So publicly wishing that the Jewish people had been exterminated thousands of years ago so that “we wouldn’t have these problems today” doesn’t cross a line? Calling for a third intifada and the violent destruction of the Jewish state doesn’t cross a line? Apparently, NYU believes that’s just being “provocative.”

The university stayed silent as Rosen repeatedly glorified violence against the Jewish people. And the sad truth is that if not for his celebration of the sexual assault of a journalist, he would still have his job today.