Nearly 400 emails accusing Jews of “selling blacks” were sent to the University of Montana staff and faculty on Jan. 19.
The Missoulian reports that the emails contained flyers linking to a book titled “Jews Selling Blacks” that blames Jews for the slave trade and encouraged recipients to distribute those flyers.
The emails also linked to a video from Nation of Islam student minister Ava Muhammad referring to Jews as “blood-sucking parasites,” according to Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism.
Seth Bodnar, the university’s president, denounced the emails in an email he wrote to students, faculty and staff.
“The work of many on campus, including student groups, points toward a UM family that seeks to build a welcoming and inclusive campus for all,” Bodnar wrote. “This is ongoing work that is, as the hateful email highlights, still necessary.”
He also urged the campus community to speak out against hateful rhetoric.
The Montana Human Rights Network wrote in a Facebook post that they “documented a rise in anti-Semitic material distributed in communities across the state over the past few years. In this instance, the material references the Nation of Islam, which has a record of anti-Semitism, but only represents a small and specific subgroup and is not representative of all Muslim people.”
They later added: “Bigoted ideas are dangerous to our communities, and the work to build coalitions that cross issues and identities is key to having a strong response to hate incidents.”
The Chabad of Missoula said in a statement to the Journal that they “are disheartened by this recent act of anti-Semitism and the evil endeavor wishing to divide the Jewish and African American communities.” They’re going to launch a new Jewish group on campus next week in response to the incident.
A spokesperson for the ADL said in a statement to the Journal, “Although we don’t yet know who was behind the email, it is deeply disturbing that someone sent a message containing hateful anti-Semitic propaganda to so many faculty and students. We stand ready to offer assistance to the university as they respond to this incident.”