Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Groups Slam 'Anti-Semitic' Course at UC Riverside - Ari Yashar

by Ari Yashar

Pro-Israel groups urge university to cancel 'settler-colonialism and apartheid' course taught by student member of pro-Hamas group.

Pro-Israel groups are demanding action over a new course at University of California (UC) Riverside, entitled "Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid," which attempts to paint the Jewish citizens of their historical homeland as "occupiers."

The groups argue that the course syllabus and materials constitute a violation of school policy prohibiting political indoctrination in the classroom, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday.

Tina Matar, an undergraduate student on campus, is teaching the class according to the paper. It added that she is a leader at UC Riverside's branch of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group that has voiced support for the genocidal Hamas terrorist group and sought to press a boycott of Israel at campuses nationwide.

SJP's leanings were put on full display in late January, when a vote on boycotting Israel that it sponsored passed at UC Davis amid heckling of Jewish students, leading one Muslim student senator to crow that Hamas had "taken over" the campus.

The sponsor of the class is David Lloyd, an English professor at UC Riverside. Lloyd has openly supported the BDS movement urging economic actions against Israel, and "liaises with SJP" according to the paper.

In response to the course, at least 20 pro-Israel organizations have sent a letter to UC Riverside's leadership, urging them to cancel the course which they say has a blatant anti-Semitic bias.

The groups, which include the AMCHA Initiative, Christians United for Israel, the Californian Association of Scholars, the National Conference on Jewish Affairs, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, noted the course syllabus shows "the full extent of the course’s anti-Israel bias, and its clear intent to politically indoctrinate students to hate the Jewish state and take action against it."

Referencing the course title, charging Israel with "colonialism and apartheid," the letter added that "it includes a patently false canard about Israel frequently used to delegitimize the Jewish state, language which meets the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism.”

"The course schedule is filled with egregiously one-sided, anti-Israel readings and films that falsely paint Israel as a settler-colonial and apartheid state, hold Israel to a double standard to which no other democratic country is held, vilify and demonize Israel and Israel’s supporters, and argue for an end to the Jewish state; these tropes are all considered anti-Semitic according to the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism," it added.

UC Riverside has "no problem" with the course

However, despite the serious accusations, UC Riverside officials told the Washington Free Beacon that they have no problem with the one-credit course.
"The course ‘Palestinian Voices’ was reviewed by a faculty committee here and that committee decided that it did meet UC standards,” a spokesman said, referring to the class by its re-named title which is not the one that appears on the syllabus.
He added that "this series is a student led course," one of several the school holds, and insisted that it met school policy.
However, pro-Israel groups strongly disagree.
"I’m not sure what’s worse, having a college course taught by an undergraduate student or having a course syllabus that reads like the Facebook page of a skinhead teenager,” said David Brog, executive director of CUFI, one of the organizations signed on to the letter.
“This course isn’t just anti-Semitic, it is a complete waste of time and money,” Brog added. “If (university head) Janet Napolitano wants to preserve a shred of respect for the once august UC system she runs, she must demand that her instructors at least pretend to promote facts over propaganda."

Ari Yashar


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