Campus Watch in the Media
Letters to the Editor: Web Site Necessary to Combat Anti-Israel Bias
Little by the little the Arab-Israeli conflict is showing itself in The Daily Californian ("Site Tags UC Berkeley Students as Anti-Israeli," Sept. 20). Posters and flyers have made their way to Sproul Plaza once again.
When the Arab-Israeli conflict has infected almost every walk of campus life, this debate has gone too far. Furthermore, when this debate is no longer a debate, but instead is a biased indoctrination by professors and grad students, especially in classes that should have nothing to do with history or the Middle East, there is a problem.
Therein lays the work of Campus Watch. If there is bias on campus it should be pointed out. We do nothing to further the academic situation on campus by ignoring it. By hiding the presence of bias, we superficially pretend that an open debate exists on campus. And let us not believe that one does.
When English classes are anti-Israel simply by virtue of their course description, decrying Israeli independence as a tragedy rather than a success, there is bias. When sociology classes attempt to explain the phenomenon of rape by bringing in non-existent comparisons to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is bias. Let me be very clear: There is an anti-Israel bias on this campus, period.
If we pretend that there is no bias, the only people we are hurting are ourselves. Worse, if we brush off attempts to expose this bias as "threats to academic freedom" we're simply kidding ourselves. As students of the fine institution of higher learning we attend we have an obligation to expose bias wherever it lies and demand its end. Otherwise, the four years we spend here will be full not of education, but instead indoctrination.
It's very difficult to take Snehal Shingavi's comments about "freedom of speech" and the "free flow of (academic) ideas" seriously when the course description for Palestine and the Poetics of Resistance actively discouraged those very two things ("Site Tags UC Berkeley Students as Anti-Israeli," Sept. 20).
The Daily Cal quotes Shingavi as saying the Web site "was designed to chill academic speech. It carries with it an implicit threat that not only are you being monitored but that there are some kind of implicit consequences," and, "(Campus Watch) doesn't pretend to be a debate or conversation." One must wonder what "debate" Shingavi wanted to elicit in class. I'd imagine conservative thought would receive a rather chilly reception.
It's very disingenuous to try so boldly to shield oneself with concepts that one doesn't practice.
Sheldon EpsteinNote: Postings in "Campus Watch in the Media" do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch.
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