Controversial Course at University of Missouri Cancelled

On Wednesday, June 10, the University of Missouri announced that it was canceling a controversial class planned for Fall 2015. The class was widely contested by pro-Israel organizations and students. George P. Smith, a biology professor at University of Missouri and extreme anti-Zionist was preparing to teach a course entitled “Perspectives on Zionism,” an ironic…

New Congressional Legislation Aimed at Countering BDS

The vote on the Trade Promotion Authority bill (“TPA”) is still up in the air. Having already passed through the Senate, the House will vote on the bill in the coming weeks. Hill Republicans and President Obama support the “fast track” legislation, which would help finalize a major Pacific trade accord with the Pacific rim. Democrats are torn between supporting the President’s quest for a historic Pacific Rim trade deal and their allegiance to traditional party backers like labor unions, who oppose the bill.

Canada’s Important Resolution on Anti-Semitism

Canada has just passed a resolution that defines and prioritizes combating anti-Semitism. In an article for the Jerusalem Post, Irwin Cotler, former justice minister and current MP of the Canadian parliament, discussed the importance of such a resolution. Last February, Cotler and Jason Kenney, the minister of multiculturalism, presented the resolution to Canada’s House of…

LDB Makes Higher Education Act Case to Congressional Staffers

On Wednesday, Brandeis Center President Kenneth L. Marcus and Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) President Sarah Stern educated congressional staff and others on the history, current status, and problems of Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunities Act. This year, the failed government program, which funds many controversial Middle East Studies outreach programs, is…

BDS Defeated at Washington Supreme Court

In a major setback to the BDS campaign, the Washington State Supreme court reversed a lower court’s ruling yesterday and struck down the state’s anti-SLAPP statute as unconstitutional. The Olympia Food Co-op, based in Olympia, Washington, provides “wholesome foods and other goods and services . . . through a locally oriented, collectively managed, not-for-profit cooperative…

Tennessee first, then Indiana condemn BDS as anti-Semitic movement

For the first time in the U.S., a state legislature condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The Tennessee General Assembly approved the resolution overwhelmingly, declaring that BDS is “one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism and advocating the elimination of the Jewish state”. The resolution condemns similarly the BDS activities…

LDB and Others Write Napolitano about Anti-Israeli class at UC Riverside

The Louis D. Brandeis Center joins the AMCHA initiative and 25 other groups in writing a letter to University of California President Napolitano and Provost Dorr about an anti-Israeli class taught at UC Riverside by a SJP member

Dear President Napolitano and Provost Dorr,

The_University_of_California_1868_Merced.svgLast Fall, after several of our organizations wrote to you expressing our concern about instructors on UC campuses who promote anti-Israel propaganda and boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) campaigns in their classrooms, you sent us assurances that the Regents Policy on Course Content, which prohibits misuse of the classroom for political indoctrination, applies to both graduate student instructors and faculty, and you called on UC Chancellors to enforce this important policy.

However, we are gravely concerned about a course being given at UC Riverside this academic quarter, which we believe is being used for political indoctrination rather than education.  Even more troubling is that when our organizations and members of the public have expressed their legitimate concerns to UCR administrators, they have been unwilling to acknowledge these clear violations of UC policy, let alone address them.

The one-credit course, entitled “Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid,” is being taught at UCR by Tina Matar, an undergraduate student who is the head of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).  Matar was an author and proponent of the extremely contentious anti-Israel divestment resolution passed by the UCR student senate last April, as well as the leader of a very recent SJP campaign to have an Israeli product, Sabra humus, removed from campus cafeterias. Matar’s class syllabus, reproduced below, strongly suggests that her affiliation with the anti-Zionist SJP group formed the ideological basis for her course curriculum, which was developed under the mentorship of the SJP’s faculty advisor, UCR English Professor David Lloyd, who is also a BDS leader and founder of the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

In addition, a preliminary analysis of Matar’s syllabus by Verity Educate  a non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides scholarly analysis of the factual accuracy and objectivity of educational material, demonstrated that “the core academic and educational values of knowledge acquisition and critical thinking have been hijacked by a particular strain of political action, and specifically by a particular politically oriented activist organization.”  Verity Educate’s analysis includes the following: