Antisemitism, Again: UC Riverside Approves Anti-Israel Course

UC Riverside 2010 (Neon Tommy / Flickr / CC)
Neon Tommy / Flickr / CC

The rise of antisemitism throughout college campuses in California has emerged again–this time at the University of California Riverside in the form of an anti-Israel course that was reportedly approved by the school’s faculty and has resulted in no less than 20 Jewish and pro-Israel groups penning an open letter to the chancellor requesting its removal.

The letter from the Amchai Initiative charges the course with being a purported tool for “political indoctrination.” It details how the course is presented as “Palestinian Voices” on the school’s website but is actually presented as “Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid” on the course syllabus.

The instructor, Tina Matar, is an undergraduate student in the school’s English Department and a member of UC Riverside’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)–a group that is focused on delegitimizing the Jewish state of Israel through the practice of “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS).

According to the open letter, “Matar herself was an author and proponent of the extremely contentious anti-Israel divestment resolution passed by the UCR student senate last April.”

The letter states that the course “is filled with egregiously one-sided, anti-Israel readings and films that falsely paint Israel as a settler-colonial and apartheid state, hold Israel to a double standard to which no other democratic country is held, vilify and demonize Israel and Israel’s supporters, and argue for an end to the Jewish state.”

Furthermore, English Professor and UCR SJP group sponsor David Lloyd is reportedly the faculty member sponsoring the course. “Prof. Lloyd, who makes no secret of his animosity towards the Jewish state, is also an international leader of the BDS movement and a founder of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.”

The letter states that the course is in violation of the Regent’s Policy on Course Content, which outlines that university courses “remain aloof from politics and never function as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest.”

Intolerance has been a problem on the campus in the recent past. This past November, students at UC Riverside voted to issue a “warning” to students on campus about “offensive” pro-life demonstrations and displays.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz


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