Temple University is defending a professor who questioned the deaths of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and engaged in “anti-Semitic discourse” by saying he is entitled to promote his controversial ideas.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo has the details.

Adjunct Temple University Professor Alessio Lerro came under fire from Jewish scholars after he and other professors were caught on a secret listserv engaging in highly inflammatory anti-Semitic discourse about a resolution by the Modern Language Association (MLA) to boycott Israel.

Lerro accused “Jewish scholars” of having “humungous influence” over the entirety of academia and stated, “It is time that Zionists are asked to finally account for their support to the illegal occupation of Palestine since 1967,” according to message left on the listserv.

It further came to light that Lerro, in a now deleted Facebook posting, also questioned the deaths of 6 million Jewish people in the Holocaust.

Asked to comment on Lerro’s discourse and accusations by Jewish leaders that the rhetoric amounts to anti-Semitism, Temple University spokesman Brandon Lausch told the Free Beacon that the university welcomed his controversial views on campus.

“Temple University promotes open discussion and expression among its diverse community of scholars,” Lausch said after being informed of Lerro’s comments. “The exercise of academic freedom necessarily results in a vigorous exchange of ideas.”

Lerro is entitled to express his point of view, Lausch said in a statement.

“The views and opinions of any individual instructor are those of the individual and not those of the university,” he said.

Lausch would not say if the university has addressed the issue with Lerro and would not comment on the controversial rhetoric itself. Lerro himself did not respond to messages on Facebook asking for comment.

However, Temple’s president and provost have officially come out against academic boycotts of Israel in the past.

Temple’s response to the current controversy fails to address the core issues of anti-Semitism, according to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which works to combat anti-Semitism.

“’Vigorous exchange of ideas’?” Cooper asked. “Let us be clear. A person who questions and mocks the central fact about history’s worst crime is not acting like a scholar but a bigot.”