Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Zugzwang
    08 Jun '07
    17 Sep '16 22:492 edits

    "Suspension of Controversial Palestine Class at UC Berkeley Sparks Debate"
    --Sam Levin (15 September 2016)

    The class, 'Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis', was an (elective) undergraduate
    class taught by a student (in the DeCal program) under a faculty member's guidance.

    "Hatem Bazian, the faculty sponsor of the course. proposed by undergraduate
    Paul Hadweh, said that the class went through standard review procedures
    and was approved on multiple occasions before it was abruptly suspended
    this week without warning or discussion."
    --Sam Levin

    "This was disheartening and insulting and shameful of the university.
    They are essentially throwing the student under the bus and responding to political pressure."
    --Hatem Bazian (UCB lecturer in Middle Eastern studies and ethnic studies)

    Every one of the class's 28 students (including Jews) has signed an open letter
    criticizing the class's sudden suspension for violating academic freedom and
    demanding the class's reinstatement. Some of UCB's Jewish faculty members
    also have called for the class's reinstatement.

    "We hold any claims made by the campus administration or by outside
    organizations against the course to be blatantly false, especially any claims
    or concerns that the course would tolerate only a single or particular view.
    We the students collaboratively designed and established community agreements
    to ensure that we would engage with course content and each other in a
    mature and respectful manner. Any and all participants were welcome to
    attend the course, irrespective of background or preconceived perspectives
    on the subject matter."
    --the students of Ethnic Studies 198: Palestine, a Settler Colonial Analysis

    I would make three points. First of all, it's quite legitimate to examine
    Palestine (and Zionism) from a 'settler colonial' perspective, and some
    Israeli Jewish scholars have done so. Second, I note that none of the
    class's 28 diverse students (including Jews) accept the accusations by
    outsiders that the class incites anti-Semitism. Third, I regard this incident
    as another case in which the USA's dominant pro-Israeli political culture
    has clashed with academic freedom (including the right to criticize Israel
    or Zionism) and academic freedom (even at fabled UC Berkeley) has lost.

    I already know that nearly all Americans seem 'brainwashed' by pro-Israeli propaganda.
    Although Israel and its supporters in the USA might have won this battle,
    by drawing more attention to the suppression of criticism of Israel in the USA,
    they might provoke some Americans to wonder why Israel seems so
    frightened to have Zionism critically examined in one undergraduate class.
  2. Joined
    12 Jul '08
    17 Sep '16 23:38
    Funny how one side claims the other of propaganda without recognizing itself of doing the same. A true intellectual should be repulsed by both forms of propaganda. Just goes to show the hypocrisy of those who hate Israel.
  3. Zugzwang
    08 Jun '07
    22 Sep '16 21:231 edit
    After apparently concluding that outside condemnations were unwarranted, UC Berkeley has reinstated the class.