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November 8, 2021 8:04 am
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UNC and Duke University Event Literally Erases Israel

avatar by Peter Reitzes

Opinion

Duke University. Photo: Ilyse Whitney / CC BY 2.0.

A 2021 webinar intended for K-12 teachers, published by the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, presented a map of the Middle East and Africa.

The map, however, erased Israel and replaced it with “Palestinian Occupied Territories.”

A flyer promoting the webinar said prominently at the top, “How to Teach About the Middle East and Get It Right!”

The webinar titled “Hip Hop and Women’s Voices in the Middle East and North Africa” discussed seven female hip hop artists from Morocco, UK/”Palestine”, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, and Egypt.

Not a single Israeli artist was included.

An obvious omission is Eden Dersso, a highly regarded Israeli-Ethiopian hip hop artist, described in a Vogue profile as “captivating,” “provocative,” and “a sensation.”

At one point, the webinar presenter — Angela Williams from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — spoke for more than six minutes while attendees looked at a slide saying “Free Palestine.”

The webinar moderator, Rima Hassouneh from the University of Michigan, has publicly supported an academic boycott of Israel.

The webinar featured an enthusiastically positive discussion of Shadia Mansour, a London-born Palestinian rapper. This is the same Mansour who wrote on Facebook, “Dear Israeli fan, Remember where you are and how you got there, you money hungry, water pipe stealing, illegal, irrelevant son of a b***h.”

Mansour also said on Facebook, “The only place Israel should exist is at an International War Crimes Tribunal.”

In the webinar, which UNC published on YouTube, Angela Williams discussed Mansour in gushing terms, saying nothing about Mansour’s overt antisemitism.

The UNC website states that the webinar “was a collaboration between the Duke–UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, both National Resource Centers funded by the US Department of Education.”

Michigan teacher-attendees could “Earn Professional Development Hours, and State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs)!” for “FREE!”

Attacking Israel and Jews is nothing new for UNC and Duke.

In 2019, the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies made international news for featuring an antisemitic rap performance.

UNC-Chapel Hill is currently offering a course on the Israel/Palestinian conflict taught by an instructor — Ph.D. student Kylie Broderick — who promotes the view that Israel should not exist, believes Palestinians are the only legitimate side in the conflict, and tweets “Palestinians are being murdered for just being alive.”

A few weeks ago, I reported that an online webinar offered by the National Humanities Center (NHC), whose sponsors include UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University, teaches K-12 educators that “Israel is not Jewish.” The 2020 webinar, titled “Understanding the Modern Middle East,” is taught by Akram Khater.

In the webinar, Khater insists on a one-state solution to the Israel/Palestinian conflict, which, if carried out, would result in Israel’s destruction as a Jewish state.

UNC and Duke are sponsoring events that literally erase Jews and Israel. They are indoctrinating students against Israel, and nurturing hostile environments for Jewish and pro-Israel students on college campuses — and also in K-12 classrooms. It’s an absolute outrage.

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

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