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August 30, 2021 4:38 pm
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Despite Antisemitic Syllabus, UNC Won’t Back Down on Anti-Israel Instructor

avatar by Peter Reitzes

Opinion

Manning Hall at the University of North Carolina. Photo: benuski / flickr.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), as I have reported, is standing by its decision to have a graduate student — Kylie Broderick — teach “The Conflict Over Israel/Palestine,” despite her long history of attacking and boycotting Israel.

In May, Broderick tweeted the term “Zionist dirtbags,” which resembles the antisemitic slur “dirty Jew.” She has also promoted the idea that Israel should not exist.

A Jewish sophomore at UNC, Abigail Adams, explained to ABC News how she wanted to take the Israel/Palestine course, but did not, because “it’s [not] fair for any student to worry about getting a lower grade because of their opinion.”

North Carolina Hillel issued a strong report describing Broderick as an instructor “who has made public, extreme and at times antisemitic statements about Israel.”

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I recently obtained Broderick’s course syllabus, and it was very revealing.

The two guest lecturers — UNC PhD candidate Israel Domínguez and Jadaliyya contributor Mekarem Eljamal — are both anti-Israel activists.

Eljamal has recently accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. She also spread flagrant lies on social media, saying that Israel is “destroying all infrastructures [in Gaza] … no schools, no homes” and that Israel “burned the whole city.”

These patently false statements are the type of inflammatory language that leads to violence against Jews in America and worldwide.

Eljamal promotes the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “settler-colonialism.”

In July 2021, Israel Domínguez retweeted, “The Israeli military targets children,” reminiscent of the common blood libel that Jews murder children to drink their blood.

He has retweeted “F*** YOU UNC,” calling UNC Chancellor Guskiewicz “a coward.”

In May 2021, Broderick wrote in a local paper, with the following headline: “UNC Is Complicit in the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians. We Need to Divest from Israel.”

In the article, she wrote, “We must do the right thing now and take steps to divest from Israeli investments as an institution and boycott Israeli goods as individuals.”

Both of Broderick’s two and only scheduled guest lecturers, Domínguez and Eljamal, enthusiastically endorsed her column on social media.

Sources tell me that UNC actually believes her guest lecturers represent a diverse range of views on the Middle East.

This is not diversity; this is severe demonization of Israel and Jews.

Broderick wrote on the Israel/Palestine class syllabus, “Thank you to Dr. Sherene Seikaly, Dr. Ziad Abu-Rish, Dr. Sarah Shields, Israel Domínguez, and Mekarem Eljamal for their help and guidance in creating this syllabus.”

All five of these course advisors are anti-Israel activists.

Broderick is managing editor at Jadaliyya, a pro-Palestinian advocacy organization and publishing outlet. Four out of five of the syllabus advisors are affiliated with Jadaliyya.

Sherene Seikaly is co-editor at Jadaliyya. Seikaly spoke at a May 2021 event that UNC co-sponsored with Jadaliyya; Broderick was a moderator. During the event, Seikaly accused Israel of “settler colonialism” and “persistent ethnic cleansing,” spoke of an “Israeli war machine,” called Israel an “apartheid” state, and said “hurling rocks” at Israelis should not be considered terrorism, but rather rational behavior.

Ziad Abu-Rish has published 45 articles at Jadaliyya, including a four part interview with Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the US declared a terrorist organization in 1997. Khaled participated in hijacking two civilian airliners. Talking about Khaled, Abu-Rish wrote, “We have much to learn from her.”

Sarah Shields was the main moderator at the May 2021 UNC/Jadaliyya event. Shields has taught the Israel/Palestine course at UNC many times, and endorses the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz has dismissed the widespread concerns he has received from many Jewish leaders and community members, stating he is “confident” that students enrolled in Broderick’s class “will benefit from a thoughtful presentation of information relevant to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.”

The Jewish community is angry and frustrated with the chancellor and administrators.

Sources tell me that some at UNC are dismissing many of Broderick’s hateful comments as being old, from when she was in high school and an undergraduate student.

But if so, they are not paying attention. Here are just a few examples:

In July 2021, Broderick retweeted that Israel should not exist.

In May 2021, she tweeted the antisemitic slur “Zionist dirtbags” and demanded, “Everyone at UNC … Start following #BDS immediately. Boycott Israeli products.” Also in May, Broderick pressured “undergrads” — the very students she is now teaching — to stop hiding and “Do what’s right. Support a #freePalestine now.”

UNC has essentially outsourced its course on Israel to an anti-Israel instructor, anti-Israel guest lecturers, and a BDS-supporting, anti-Israel advocacy organization. This is indoctrination, not education.

UNC has abandoned any pretense of academic neutrality, and is nurturing a hostile environment for Jewish and pro-Israel students.

Peter Reitzes is a board member of Voice4Israel of North Carolina and writes about issues related to antisemitism and Israel.

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