American university suspends Palestine history course
A top-ranking university in the United States has suspended an academic course on Palestinian history midway through the semester, following accusations that it propagated anti-Semitic viewpoints and indoctrinated students against Israel.
The University of California at Berkeley cancelled the course “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” after it received complaints from 43 pro-Israel and Jewish groups alleging that the one-credit course was politically bent and encouraged students to hate the Tel Aviv regime and “take action to eliminate it.”
The advocacy groups had expressed concern that the course aimed to teach the idea “that Israel is an illegitimate settler colonial state” and that the readings in its syllabus had “a blatantly anti-Israel bias.”
Berkeley’s Chancellor Nicholas Dirks confirmed the suspension, claiming that the class “did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards.”
This is while Paul Hadweh, the course facilitator, said in a statement that, “I complied with all policies and procedures required for creating the course.”
He added that, “The course was vetted and fully supported by the faculty adviser, the department chair, and the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses of Instruction.”
“UC Berkeley’s move to suspend a student-led course is a flagrant violation of academic freedom,” Hadweh said.
Meanwhile, Hatem Bazian, the faculty sponsor of the course, in response to the move said, “This was disheartening and insulting and shameful of the university.”
“The fact that something is controversial does not mean it’s antisemitic. It does not demean any Jewish person,” he said.
Critics of the course had accused both Hadweh and Baznin of having “extreme anti-Zionist political orientation.”
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Much of the international community regards the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories they are built on were captured by Israel in a war and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.
Nevertheless, the Israeli regime continues to build more settlements and expand the existing ones.
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. America’s military assistance to Israel has amounted to $124.3 billion since it began in 1962, according to a recent congressional report.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.
More than 240 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the tensions since the beginning of last October.