On Tuesday, UC Berkeley suspended a class Tuesday after civil rights groups complained that it was anti-Zionist propaganda, the San Francisco Chronicle reported today.
The course was titled "Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis" and was taught by an undergraduate as part of the University's DeCal program. Its syllabus, which was available publicly via the DeCal website, has since been taken offline.
Controversy began yesterday, when 43 Jewish and civil rights groupssent a letter to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks complaining that the course violated the University's policy requiring all content be free of partisan interest and political indoctrination. "Of the 194 DeCal courses taught this semester, this is the only one that is blatantly politically motivated and directed," the letter stated.
The course's adviser, Hatem Bazian, is the Chairmen of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). According to AMP's website, "we believe once Americans know the truth that their tax dollars support the longest-lasting and the last military occupation in modern history they won't stand for it and will demand that Congress change our foreign policy in the Middle East to one that is more balanced and just for everyone living in the Holy Land." The Anti-Defamation League calls AMP "the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training and education to students."
The class aimed to view Israel through a settler-colonial framework, which is to say similar to other states whose populations moved from one territory to another. Arnon Degani at Haaretz wrote yesterday that such a framework isn't necessary offensive when applied to Israel. "Even prominent Zionists made explicit comparisons between their own political movement and those of settlers around the world," Degani wrote.