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September 20, 2016 8:12 pm

UC Berkeley Rescinds Suspension of Controversial ‘Antisemitic Anti-Israel’ Course Without Any Change to Syllabus

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The University of California, Berkeley campus. Photo: Wikipedia

The University of California, Berkeley campus. Photo: Wikipedia

A controversial “anti-Zionism” class at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) was reinstated on Monday without any substantial changes to the course material, The Algemeiner has learned.

Despite claims by UC Berkeley officials that the syllabus of “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” underwent revision, a close examination of the new syllabus by The Algemeiner reveals only minor changes and that the same anti-Israel literature will be studied as previously listed.

In addition, the language of the course description was modified to remove the admission that the course would be “exploring the possibility of decolonization,” as originally stated. It now says that the program will involve researching “a range of political alternatives” to “achieve justice for all.”

Paul Hadweh, the course facilitator, admitted to anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada that revisions to the syllabus were mere “cosmetic changes” and no adjustments were made to the course material.

“The changes are just clarifications to the course description, its objectives and the final project,” he said.

The decision to overturn the suspension of “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,” was announced by Dean of Social Sciences Carla Hesse following a recommendation by the Department of Ethnic Studies.

In a letter sent to Hesse by department chair Shari Huhndorf and obtained by The Algemeiner, Huhndorf wrote:

…The faculty supervisor and I have also worked with the student facilitator to revise the course description and syllabus with the aim of removing any ambiguity about whether the course complies with campus policies. The executive committee reached a unanimous recommendation that the course meets all of these criteria and therefore should be reinstated… I concur with this decision.

Our judgment is that the course subject is consistent with the academic mission of our department. The histories and dynamics of settler colonialism, structural inequality, and social marginalization are central to our teaching and research, and several of our faculty work on these issues in transnational contexts…

In a letter sent to the UC Berkeley community by Hesse and obtained by The Algemeiner, the dean announced that “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” met all academic and policy requirements following revision to its syllabus:

…I write in response to the understandable concerns that have been raised regarding the suspension of… Palestine: A Colonial Settler Analysis.

On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, I made the decision to suspend [the course] until it could be further reviewed. I did so because it became apparent that neither the Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies, nor I had been made aware formerly of this DeCal [student run] class offering, nor seen the syllabus…

Let me be clear: Deans review, but do not approve the academic content of DeCal courses. I did not request or require any revisions of the content of the course… It is the responsibility of the Dean to insure that our academic programs are consistent with University and campus policies and practices.

…The Student Facilitator, the Chair and the Executive Committee of the Department of Ethnic Studies determined that revisions of the course in light of these concerns were necessary and appropriate. It is my understanding that they have posted a revised version of the course description and syllabus.

I am therefore rescinding my suspension of the course.

As reported by The Algemeiner, “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,” was decried by a leading campus watchdog group as “a classic example of antisemitic anti-Zionism,” which is likely to contribute to greater hostility toward Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus.

The initial decision to suspend the course coincided with the publication of an open letter to UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirk, signed by a coalition of 43 Jewish, civil rights and education advocacy organizations — led by campus watchdog the AMCHA Initiative — expressing concern over the school’s vetting process.

The faculty sponsor of the course, Dr. Hatem Bazian, is a co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and a major supporter of the US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). Bazian is a former fundraising speaker for the anti-Israel organization KindHearts, which was shut down by the US government in 2006 for its alleged ties to Hamas.

The course facilitator, Hadweh, is a Palestinian student instructor from Bethlehem and an active member of UC Berkeley’s SJP chapter, which, among other things, calls for an end to the “Israeli system of apartheid and discrimination” and “Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

In November 2015, Hadweh helped organize an event featuring anti-Zionist poet Remi Kanazi, another supporter of USACBI. In a 2012 Facebook post, Kanazi wrote, “Dear Zionists: You have never ‘defended yourselves.’ You came in, stole land that wasn’t yours & maintained a racist state through massacres and brute force.”

In his promotion of the course on Facebook, Hadweh wrote that he would be taking students on an “in-depth” exploration of “the history and present of Zionist settler colonialism in Palestine.” The post was accompanied by an image featuring infamous anti-Israel maps whose creators have been accused of distorting history.

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  • Andrei Vincenzo

    With all due respect, I never understood why Jews would steadfastly support either the Democrat or Republican parties. What is wrong with being an independent and voting for the candidate that best supports your view of American society? Democrats are the party of Jim Crow laws, Poll taxes and a long history of racial discrimination but suddenly thanks to the media, they are the friend of Everyman.
    Anyway, I digress. Alan Dershowicz has called for a counter divestment of universities that support BDS policies. The way to change minds, sad to say, is when you hit them in their pocket book. When all the contributions, endowment grants start to dry up, the universities will have no choice but to force out these anti Israeli groups. Please consider someone other than Hillary. If you hate Trump, cast your vote for what he potentially brings to the table. What else do we have to lose?

  • lukelea

    Where is the syllabus? Let’s have a look at it. Also, why couldn’t and shouldn’t a course like this be taught in the Department of History? A department of ethnic studies in an invitation to tendentiousness and conflict, especially in a multi-ethnic society with multi-cultural tendencies.

  • leftynomore

    I second the comment to have as many Jewish students as possible attend class. Then set up their own course to answer this one
    Problem: these kids will not be able to voice any opinion contrary to Professor or risk failing
    I know from a personal story.

  • walter77777

    In jujitsu, judo, and in the fighting tai chi which is the only marital art I still practice at age seventy-seven the student is taught that the opponent must be allowed to defeat himself. If the anti-semites and anti-zionists at UC Berkeley had not put together this course which appears to only have attracted a small number of students they would not have produced this anger, and many Jews who would have ignored their Judaism except on the two days of RoshHaShona and the one day of Yom Kippur find themselves pushed to greater militancy.

  • Leslie Benjamini

    Berkekey has become a cesspool of Jew hatred. I hope every Jewish student leaves, every Jewish alum who has an endowment pulls their money out Let them survive on Saudi money, pretty soon the intellectual level of the school will, if it hasn’t already, go down the drain into the dustbin of history. To be followed by the entire UC system.

  • henrytobias

    What have we got to worry about? Let these antisemites get on with it, but we must fight back showing the justice of our cause. If the course was being held in a private home we could not stop it. Why don’t the Jewish Zionists on the campus attend the course, learn its content and then set up a counter-course dismantling all the lies the Arabs tell?

    • brynababy

      very smart

    • Kish Mirtuches

      This is an anti-Jewish agenda backed by public tax dollars. Jews have better things to do with their time on campus than waste it on a garbage course designed to inflame and dehumanize us and our homeland. This is Nazi-like propaganda, and should not be tolerated. Smart Jews don’t need to play game of catch. They need to shut the ballpark down. Berkeley is a cesspool of hatred.

  • Peter Joffe

    Berkeley you are the center of California hatred and misinformation. I hope that you soon are closed down for the betterment of all mankind. Racists all at Berkeley, supported by racist Democrats (demagogues)! The world has reached a tipping point and we have to stop the slide into Islum.

  • LtcHoward

    Hillary Clinton wants to import hundreds of thousands more Muslims who are taught from birth to hate Jews.

    Watch : Chairman Chaffetz Opener – Criminal Aliens Released by the Department of Homeland Security

    • ReformSchool

      Has “Fundamental Transformation of America” killed Your kids yet?

      • LtcHoward

        @ Reform School….

        The operational word is “yet”.
        North Korea has nuclear missiles that can reach the United States. Iran has operational missiles that can reach Europe and Israel. Iran and North Korea are working closely together on nuclear development.

        Concerning Terror read:America’s Lucky Brush with Terror NOAH ROTHMAN COMMENTARY SEPT. 20, 2016

  • watsa46

    In the antisemitic academia the teaching, promotion, support of Racism and Xenophobia is a freedom right!

  • Dave

    I have voted Democrat all my life, but no more. The current Democratic Party does not represent me anymore when it comes to Israel, antisemitism masqueraded as anti-Zionism, the threat of abandoning Israel at the UN. I recently attended a Hillel dinner and heard of unbelievable bigotry and downright persecution of pro-Israel Campus students. Mrs Clinton who promises to follow in the footprints of Obama will do nothing about any of my concerns. Maybe Trump will.

  • brenrod

    jews who defend muslims from islamaphobia are enablers of this serious anti semitism emanating from the leftist muslim alliance of the democratic party. It is the voters of the democratic party who have been increasing attacks on jewish children on campuses throughout america… jews attacking trump libel him in the same way these muslims libel israel which causes attacks on jews. Jews must abandon the democratic party or expect a rise in anti semitism if they win.