LOS ANGELES (TND) — Two professors at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) helped lead a pro-Palestinian "teach-in" in the wake of the Hamas terrorist invasion of Israel.
The "emergency teach-in" was hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA (SJP at UCLA) Wednesday.
"If you are a student seeking more clarity, information, and perspectives on recent escalations in Palestine, we highly encourage you to attend," SJP at UCLA wrote on Instagram.
The teach-in was led by UCLA professors Saree Makdisi and Sherene Razack. Razack told The National Desk (TND) that the premise of the teach-in was "that genocidal force is being unleashed on Palestinians in Gaza."
"This violence is authorized and supported by the Western world on the basis that a legitimate response to the terror attack launched by Hamas is the obliteration of Palestinians," Razack told TND. "We hoped to contextualize what is happening by discussing Israel as a settler colonial society committed to the elimination of the Indigenous inhabitants of Palestine."
Razack also told TND that she is "personally horrified both by Israeli lives lost and the 56 years of occupation that produces a disproportionate loss of Palestinian life."
Razack's research centers around anti-Muslim racism and racial violence, according to her biography on UCLA's website. She is also the founder of virtual teaching network Racial Violence Hub, which held a roundtable discussion titled "Anti-Muslim Racism, Palestine, and White Supremacy" earlier this year.
Both Razack and Makdisi participated in the roundtable discussion, according to its description.
Makdisi recently published a book titled "Tolerance is a Wasteland: Palestine and the Culture of Denial," according to his biography on UCLA's website. The book argues that "denial" helps sustain "the liberal imagination of a progressive and democratic Israel."
"Despite well-documented evidence of racism and human rights abuse, Israel has long been embraced by the most liberal sectors of European and American society as a manifestation of the progressive values of tolerance, plurality, inclusivity, and democracy," a description of the books reads in part.
Makdisi did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TND Friday.
SJP at UCLA demanded "action" from university leadership this week over "hate crimes inflicted on pro-Palestine students by Zionist assailants." The group claims students have been "attacked and violently threatened" for their "refusal to remain silent against the ethnic cleansing and occupation of" Palestinian people.
"UCLA has enabled this behavior, showing nothing but disregard and apathy towards the protection and wellbeing of Palestinians and their supporters," the group wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
SJP at UCLA's sentiments align with those expressed by students at the University of California, Berkeley. The student-led group Bears for Palestine released a statement Saturday applauding Hamas, writing that it rejects "framing" Israel as a "victim."
In a statement to TND, a spokesperson for UCLA said Wednesday's teach-in "was not sponsored by UCLA, but by faculty members whose free expression rights are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution."