The University of Minnesota is pausing its search for director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies — days after it offered the job to Israeli historian Raz Segal and two longtime board members resigned in protest.

"In the past several days, additional members of the University community have come forward to express their interest in providing perspective on the hiring. … Because of the community-facing and leadership role the director holds, it is important that these voices are heard," the university said in a statement Monday. Interim President Jeff Ettinger has paused the selection process, the statement added, "to allow an opportunity to determine next steps."

Segal is associate professor of Holocaust and genocide studies and endowed professor in the study of modern genocide at Stockton University in New Jersey. Among other things, the resigning board members took issue with an article called "A Textbook Case of Genocide," which he published in Jewish Currents less than a week after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel killed 1,200 Israelis and Israel retaliated.

"Israel's campaign to displace Gazans … is yet another chapter in the Nakba, in which an estimated 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes during the 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel," Segal wrote. "But 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."

Israel's offensive has killed more than 36,700 Palestinians as of Monday, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count.

Board member Bruno Chaouat wrote to university leaders this weekend that his understanding of the core mission of the center is to educate people on the history of the Holocaust and of genocides in order to raise awareness and prevent further dehumanization and violence.

"Professor Segal, by justifying Hamas's atrocities … days after they occurred (via a perverse allegation that Israel was committing a genocide), cannot fulfill the mission of the Center," wrote Chaouat, a French professor and previous interim director of the center. "He has failed to recognize the genocidal intent of Hamas. He does not understand that a movement like Hamas is inherently fascist and represents precisely what CHGS stands against. Finally, he does not understand the specificity of the history of antisemitism — which, as you will easily concede, is a sine qua non to educate the community and our students about the extermination of the Jews."

Board member Karen Painter, a music professor, also resigned Friday in protest.

By Sunday morning, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas sent an advocacy alert citing the Jewish Currents article, calling Segal an anti-Zionist and encouraging recipients to call or email Ettinger, Provost Rachel Croson and the Board of Regents to voice their concerns.

Segal did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday evening.

The director of the center would also hold the position of the Stephen C. Feinstein Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The late Feinstein's daughter, Rebecca Feinstein, opposed Segal's hiring but said she had also asked the university to delay its search until next year, when tensions could cool down over the Israel-Hamas War. With so many campus protests, "everything is too much of a hot topic. … You can't do a search in this kind of environment," she said.

This article includes information from the Associated Press.