(JNS.org) The University of California, Berkeley on Monday reinstated a student-led, anti-Israel course after faculty and students petitioned its suspension one week ago.
Carla Hesse, dean of the College of Letters and Science, wrote to faculty members, “I fully support and defend the principles and policies of our campus that protect the academic freedom of all members of our community.”
Paul Hadweh, the course facilitator, and Hatem Batem, faculty advisor and the Ethnic Studies department chair, denied that the course promotes a political agenda and does not “cross over the line from teaching to political advocacy and organizing,” she said.
The “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” course description and syllabus was also revised but Hadweh admitted that changes were only “cosmetic,” according to the LA Times.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) condemned Berkeley’s decision to reinstate the course.
“A course advocating dismantling a country would never be offered in respect of any other country,” ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said. “If one were, for example, a course advocating the dismantling of Italy or Peru, no one would even argue that it was not anti-Italian or anti-Peruvian. Clearly, a double-standard that is permissive where anti-Semitism is concerned is at work and UC Berkeley, by reinstating this course, is enabling anti-Semitism.”
Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUS, an Israel advocacy group, said the decision was not unexpected, but maintains their original position against the anti-Israel course.
"We reaffirm our belief that it violates University of California policy prohibiting political indoctrination in the classroom,” Rothstein said. “Furthermore, we believe that denying the history, identity, and rights of any people in their homeland is a destructive act of racism which deserves condemnation, not acceptance into mainstream discourse.”