Middle East studies in the News
Berkeley Sees Push Back Over Anti-Semitic Course
by Bob Kellogg
Controversy continues over a course at UC Berkeley that opponents are calling anti-Semitic.
The famously left-wing state university temporarily suspended the pro-Palestinian course in September for review, then allowed it to continue with minor changes, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Berkeley faculty member Tammi Rossman-Benjamin of the AMCHA Initiative says the problem is much larger than this one course, and that the university policy on scrutinizing courses is often not followed.
"We decided that this was the tip of the iceberg and it wasn't really just a Berkeley issue," she warns. "That it was system-wide. That there are courses like this, both student-taught and faculty-taught courses, that weren't being properly vetted."
Critics of the course says terms such as "decolonizing Palestine" are akin to suggesting the Jewish state must go away, the Times story reported.
Rossman-Benjamin says 175 faculty members and 47 religious, civil rights, education and research organizations signed on to a letter sent to UC President Janet Napolitano on November 1 expressing their concern.
The letter cites a campus policy established in 1970, and still in effect, stating that faculty and instructors cannot use the classroom for political indoctrination.
In a similar situation, Rossman-Benjamin notes at UC Riverside last year a non-partisan group determined that a course being offered was not only politically-driven propaganda but had no educational value.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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