Earlier this month, 43 human rights and Jewish advocacy groups signed an open letter to UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks expressing concern regarding a decal class, “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,” with an obvious political bias and a bigoted agenda. The course was in clear violation of the UC Regents Policy on Course Content which states “ Misuse of the classroom... allowing it to be used for political indoctrination...constitutes misuse of the University as an institution.”
The University of California, Berkeley suspended the class on Tuesday. Only 28 students had signed up for it.
It was reported that the facilitator, Paul Hadweh, “did not comply with policies and procedures that govern the normal academic review and approval of proposed courses for the Decal program”, and for that reason, “approval for the course has been suspended pending completion of the mandated review and approval process. It should also be noted that the Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science is very concerned about the offering of any course, even a student-run course, which espouses a single political viewpoint and/or appears to offer a forum for political organizing rather than an opportunity for the kind of open academic inquiry that Berkeley is known for.”
AMCHA, a watchdog group with a focus on campus Antisemitism coordinated the letter, pointing out to the Chancellor that:
Roz Rothstein, CEO of Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, praised the decision to suspend the class:A review of the syllabus of “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” reveals that the course's objectives, reading materials and guest speakers are politically motivated, meet our government’s criteria for antisemitism, and are intended to indoctrinate students to hate the Jewish state and take action to eliminate it:
- Course Learning Objectives - These make it clear that a key goal of the class is to encourage students to accept unquestioningly the false and defamatory idea that Israel is an illegitimate settler colonial state. Furthermore, by the end of the course students are required to have "researched, formulated, and presented decolonial alternatives to the current situation,” which, in the context of the other course objectives, means that a significant part of the course will be devoted to thinking about ways to “decolonize” -- that is, eliminate — Israel.
- Course Readings - All of the course readings, without exception, have a blatantly anti-Israel bias, and most contain language that demonizes and delegitimizes Israel and is recognized as antisemitic by the U.S. government, democratic world leaders, scholars of antisemitism and the Jewish community. In addition, virtually all of the authors of the course readings have either publicly endorsed an academic boycott of Israel, called for the dismantling of Israel, or both.
- Guest Speakers - Both guest speakers listed in the syllabus — Keith Feldman and Hatem Bazian -- have publicly supported an academic boycott of Israel, and Bazian, who is also the course’s faculty sponsor, is himself a well-known leader of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement as well as campaigns to eliminate the Jewish state.
“We applaud the UC Berkeley administration for recognizing that this course was designed for political indoctrination, and not open academic inquiry,” she said. “Approving a class premised on the denial of Jewish history, identity, and rights in their homeland would have been a stain on the university's reputation as both an academic institution and a force for progress in the world.”
Read more about the suspension of “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” here:
UC-Berkeley halts class that critics say advocates the elimination of Israel
‘Antisemitic Anti-Zionist' Course at UC Berkeley Suspended Following Exposé, Outcry