Breaking: GWU Clears Dr. Lara Sheehi of Anti-Semitism

Breaking: GWU Clears Dr. Lara Sheehi of Anti-Semitism

Washington, D.C. | | March 27, 2023 – ADC welcomes the conclusion and findings of a third-party investigation by George Washington University (GWU) which unequivocally clears and exonerates Dr. Lara Sheehi from any and all claims made by the spurious Title VI complaint by StandWithUs (SWU), a right-wing pro-Israel political activist group.

The impartial third-party investigator found that the statements made by SWU were inaccurate, taken out of context, or misrepresented. Importantly, the investigation found no evidence of discrimination against students and determined that no students were treated differently because of their citizenship or religion.

The findings have been accepted by the University. In a Summary of Findings from the Office of the University President, it states, “Underlying much of the discourse that arose in the class is the issue of what is appropriately defined as antisemitism – that is, whether structural critiques of the State of Israel, including actions by the Israeli government, constitute antisemitism.  This issue is being debated in college campuses across the country, and in many other arenas.  SWU and a few of the students in the class, advocated for an expansive view of the definition of antisemitism, which, if accepted in the university environment, could infringe on free speech principles and academic freedom.”

These findings send a resounding message: pro-Israeli smear campaigns and tactics targeting academics who advocate for Palestinian rights are baseless and primarily meant to intimidate, harass and silence. They prove our position that StandWithUs fabricated a complaint and intended it to find traction because of anti-Arab racism and anti-Palestinian sentiment.

ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub: “We condemn the actions of StandWithUs, and remain concerned about the irreparable damage they have caused to Dr. Sheehi and to other academics they routinely target. We commend GWU for accepting the findings and for denouncing the hateful messages and threats directed at Dr. Sheehi as a result of this smear campaign.”

The third-party investigative results are an unambiguous victory for Dr. Sheehi whose own position has matched the third-party investigators findings.

Dr. Lara Sheehi: “I am grateful to the investigators and the labor that was expended to meticulously document what I have known since day one: those of us who fight for Palestinian liberation do not do so on the backs of our Jewish siblings, nor do we discriminate, retaliate or isolate Jewish or Israeli students in our classrooms. I am delighted that today I stand stronger, uplifted by the national and international solidarity that has been shown to me in my field and elsewhere. Importantly, I stand strong with the support of an independent report that not only proves my innocence but also asserts the dangerous ramifications of fabricated claims of antisemitism against me, an Arab woman, scholar, and clinician. I am hopeful that these findings will send a clear message to anyone who feels scared or intimidated by external political groups whose explicit aims are to harass and silence us.”

ADC will remain committed to protecting Dr. Sheehi against escalating attacks against her, and others who stand for the rights of Palestinians. It is essential to address these attacks, demand accountability, and ensure the safety and academic freedom of all members of our community.

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