The head of Ohio University’s master’s program in film studies appears to be the “invisible hand” behind last month’s bizarre “blood bucket” challenge. Prior to dumping a bucket of simulated “blood” over her head to show her support for Gaza in the Hamas created conflict, student senate president Megan Marzec pleaded with viewers to boycott the state of Israel, accusing Israel of perpetrating the murder and genocide of Palestinians.
As it turns out, according to sources at Ohio U., associate professor Louis-Georges Schwartz, the tenured chair of the university’s film department, hosted this twisted display in his own backyard. In essence, he was the puppeteer pulling Marzec’s anti-Israel strings.
The video went fairly viral. A recall petition against Marzec is currently circulating on campus, as are calls to end her taxpayer-funded Ohio U. scholarship. More than 2,500 Ohio U. alumni have signed a change.org petition asking for her removal from student government leadership.
Self-described as a “communist, communist activist, revolutionary communist, Anti-capitalist,” Schwartz explains that his “opposition to Zionism is in every instance an opposition to Capitalism, and a form of class war.”
Consider his tantrum regarding Hillel — a mainstream, pluralistic campus network for Jewish students. At Ohio University, about 500 Jewish students participate. Yet because Hillel supports the existence of Israel, Schwartz has labeled the school’s Hillel director as a “racist.”
According to an email circulated by Ohio U. Hillel director Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, the professor has labeled her a “racist” and an “advocate of genocide.”
Leshaw is widely regarded as one of the most liberal rabbis working in the Hillel system and even delivered the invocation during President Obama’s 2012 campaign visit to Athens. Her past commentary — available on her website — shows not a trace of evidence for Schwartz’s accusations of racism.
Schwartz also labeled an open letter from Rabbi Leshaw to Marzec “racist.” He failed to provide a single racist phrase from the letter — likely because no such phrase exists. In the letter published in The Post, the Ohio U. campus newspaper, Rabbi Leshaw encouraged Marzec to resign for “lack of awareness, compassion, and mostly, because of your lack of vision” and for having “marginalized an entire group of students.”
Certainly there is nothing racist or even racial in this letter. Leshaw simply called out the student senate president for libeling Jewish people (about five percent of Ohio U.’s student body) and Israel.In an effort to seek redress, internal Ohio UI. emails show, Leshaw met with Ohio University’s provost on September 16, according to an email obtained by this author, to report on Schwartz’s activity. The email contained her talking points to the Provost, and reads in part:
Louis-Georges Schwartz has demonstrated a pattern of hostile, aggressive and erratic behavior that is inappropriate for a professor. Students can reasonably expect that his classroom is hostile to Israeli students, students involved with Hillel at Ohio University or Bobcats for Israel (two registered student organizations), and Jewish students in general. Some examples:
- Calling student members of Bobcats for Israel “fascists” at a student senate meeting
- Screaming at a student that he is a “disgusting bully” for exercising free speech rights at a student senate meeting (evidence on video released by The Athens Post)
- Describing same student’s behavior as “threatening” in a letter to The Post to justify his own behavior
- Referring to Hillel at Ohio University, which serves 500 Jewish students, as a “racist organization” numerous times on social media, particularly Facebook
- Referring to Hillel at Ohio University’s advisor, Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, as a “racist” and “advocate of genocide” numerous times on social media, particularly Facebook
- Referring to Israel as a “racist, genocidal nation” numerous times on social media, particularly Facebook
- Staging Megan Marzec’s ‘blood bucket’ video in his backyard, with its blood libel imagery and references to Israel as a genocidal country
- Falsely claiming to be a relative of people killed at Auschwitz in published articles to bolster his own credibility
To date, Ohio University President Rod McDavis and Provost Pam Benoit have not responded to Leshaw. Ohio University has been widely rebuked for its inept and poor handling of the “blood-bucket” challenge incident. School president, Rod McDavis has been criticized in the Ohio media as well as in the Jewish press. Jewish high school students in Ohio are being advised “to go to less hostile” campuses in the state.
Schwartz has also called for an end of Ohio University’s exchange program with Tel Aviv University (TAU). According to Schwartz, TAU’s “repressive, anti-democratic, racist environment” renders it unfitting for the school’s students. Schwartz states that the exchange program “normalizes racist settler colonialism” and claims that TAU “brutally punishes its students for expressing their opinions if they don’t agree with state Policy.”
In reality, tolerance for divergent viewpoints at Tel Aviv University is sky high. Case in point — Omar Barghouti, the founder of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is a TAU student and has already earned a Master’s degree there in addition to working towards a Ph.D.
After starting the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Campaign (PACB) in 2004, he later gained admittance to TAU despite public outcries, including a petition signed by more than 100,000 Israelis asking that he be dismissed. However, TAU permitted Barghouti to stay despite his incendiary statement that “[Palestinians have a right to] resistance by any means, including armed resistance…” — thus expressing moral justification for terrorist activity in the region. Barghouti, a native of Qatar, an oil-rich Gulf emirate that supports Hamas, advocates BDS in the process of achieving a “a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”
Recently, Schwartz was caught on video berating a student for being a “disgusting bully.” Just what was the student doing to invite such a verbal battery? The student was calmly speaking out at a student senate meeting. At that meeting, four pro-Israel students were handcuffed and arrested at the behest of Marzec by Ohio University police for engaging in a filibuster to protest the student president’s action. These four now face legal charges and court appearances.
In the aftermath of his prodigy’s blood-bucket stunt, Schwartz claimed death threats were made against Marzec. Yet, the police and other law enforcement agencies determined no credible threat existed. This invented threat created needless fear on campus on disparaged his opponents.
Schwartz’s strange story gets even stranger.
In a September New Political article, Schwartz not only claimed to be Jewish but he also announced that he was the namesake of two great uncles who died at the hands of the Nazis in Auschwitz. Within hours readers confronted him regarding the veracity of his claim. Schwartz quickly back-pedaled and claimed to have received the story from his “fatigued and confused” mother while she lay in bed dying of cancer. Claiming to have “carried” his mother’s story as “the secret of my identity” for nearly two decades, he pleaded that he “did not mean to lie if the story” were untrue.
This taxpayer-funded professor, who calls on universities to “boycott, sanction and divest from the Zionist state” engages in disreputable behavior, secure in his knowledge that tenure and a weak-kneed university administration will enable him to infect the next generation with his radicalized agenda.
(Images within the story text are Facebook conversation screenshots.)