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Genocide Scholar Denied Genocide Studies Job for Calling out Genocide

Plus lady hockey drama, Nguyen wins big, and meet a hero old dog in today's Flyover news roundup.

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The ol’ mall.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

Ski-U-Huh? U of M Blocks Israeli Jewish Prof from Job.

There’s a job opening at the University of Minnesota, but it looks like the position isn’t going to be filled anytime soon, according to a Monday scoop from Jewish Insider. Last week, the U of M offered prominent Israeli historian Raz Segal—who, it's worth noting, is Jewish and Israeli—a gig as the new director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS). This week, two of the center's board members resigned in protest, the job offer was rescinded, and the search for a new hire has been placed on hold.

So what did Segal, who is currently an associate professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Stockton University in New Jersey, do? About six months ago, he wrote an article, “A Textbook Case of Genocide,” for the progressive magazine Jewish Currents, and he didn't hold back in his analysis of the horrific situation in Palestine, writing:

The assault on Gaza can also be understood in other terms: as a textbook case of genocide unfolding in front of our eyes. I say this as a scholar of genocide, who has spent many years writing about Israeli mass violence against Palestinians. I have written about settler colonialism and Jewish supremacy in Israel, the distortion of the Holocaust to boost the Israeli arms industry, the weaponization of antisemitism accusations to justify Israeli violence against Palestinians, and the racist regime of Israeli apartheid

Board members apparently disagreed, arguing that an anti-Zionist has no place heading CHGS. So, following protests on campus and calls to divest from Israeli companies, the U is courageously opting to bide its time; in a public statement, Interim President Jeff Ettinger says things are on ice "to allow an opportunity to determine next steps."

PWHL MN Drafts Transphobe, Cans GM to Start Bizarre Post-Championship Offseason

There were boos Monday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium when Minnesota’s yet-to-be-named champion women’s pro hockey team announced Britta Curl as the ninth overall pick in the PWHL Draft. The North Dakota native is a member of the U.S. women's national ice hockey team, and she played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin. But despite her impressive on-the-ice résumé, some local hockey fans here aren’t excited to have her aboard. That's because Curl is a vocal supporter of ex-Gopher/U.S. Olympic hockey star Jocelyne Lamoureux, who has advocated for the exclusion of trans women from women's sports. The “likes” section of her Twitter account is also a minefield, with a mix of hockey news and anti-mask jokes, anti-Pride stuff, Covid misinformation, pandemic downplaying, and even a thumbs up for a “Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty” tweet. That's a wide variety of bullshit!

Retired pro hockey player Harrison Browne was one of the first to criticize Minnesota's choice, writing via Twitter: "Women's hockey was my safe space as a trans person. Super disappointing to see someone enter the league that would make my community feel anything but welcome. Trans people belong in sports. Trans women are women." Meanwhile, hockey fans on Reddit are sharing plans to speak out and cancel their season tickets. It's has been a rough and wild nine days since PWHL Minnesota won the league's inaugural Walter Cup; this week the team canned its GM, Minnesota-born hockey great Natalie Darwitz, in a head-scratching move, considering she had just assembled a championship team. Maybe PWHL Minnesota needs to figure this name situation before any other important decisions are made...

Hai Hai Chef Is a James Beard Award Winner

Fourth time’s the charm for Christina Nguyen, who won the James Beard Award last night for Best Chef, Midwest. Hai Hai, her northeast Minneapolis restaurant serving Southeast Asian street food and fancy drinks, had previously been nominated in 2018, 2020, and 2023. It turns out 2024 was her year. “When we started our restaurant, the most that a Southeast Asian restaurant could hope for was ‘best cheap eats,’ and I feel like we’ve come a long way,” said Nguyen, who also owns Hola Arepa in south Minneapolis, during her acceptance speech.

Folks here in Minnesota have been fans since Hai Hai moved into the notorious Deuce Deuce strip club space. “Diners for whom texture is paramount, look to Hai Hai for chewy, squishy, crunchy, juicy satisfaction,” wrote Hannah Sayle in City Pages in 2018. “The Vietnamese crepes invite you to dig in with your hands: Cup the lettuce leaf in your palm, rip a crispy-chewy bit from the crepe, pile on herbs, shrimp, and fatty hunks of pork, roll it up, and dip it in the nuoc cham.” OK, now I'm hungry for a squishy dinner...

Important: Elder Dog Enjoys Crossing Bridges

Nanna is a good dog. She’s 18 years old, deaf, and blind, and she loves visiting bridges. That’s what her human, Abe Switter, discovered after adopting her from a Nashville shelter six months ago. “She just stopped dead in her tracks, and kind of peered out without eyes over the bridge,” he tells Sam Stroozas at MPR. “I have never seen her so still and at peace.” Back in Tennessee, experts had concluded that Nanna was headed for the Rainbow Bridge, and had been placed in hospice care. But since getting adopted and moving to St. Paul she’s put on weight, grown a ton of new fur, and even finished a 10K. Switter has been documenting Nanna’s bridge visits on Twitter; so far they’ve crossed eight of ‘em together, including Stone Arch, the Rock Island Swing Bridge, the Washington Avenue Bridge, and Wabasha Street Bridge. Atta girl!

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