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UCLA prof reprimanded for linking to website advocating boycott of Israel

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From the LA Times:

In a situation that stirred questions about academic freedom, a UCLA professor has been asked not to link his class online syllabus in the World Arts and Cultures/Dance Department to a website that called for a boycott of Israel, according to the head of the campus faculty Senate.

The link from class materials last quarter to that boycott campaign stepped too far into political activities, according to Andrew Leuchter, chairman of UCLA’s faculty Senate. Leuchter said the professor, David Delgado Shorter, has agreed not to repeat the link in future courses. But Shorter said he made no such promise.

Shorter said his understanding was that he agreed to continue discussions over linking to outside websites and that he awaits an explanation detailing campus policy about such matters. He said the link to the Israel boycott was just a number of suggested links for the class to explore in his winter term course “Tribal Worldviews.”

He said he discussed in class the point of view of people who are against the boycott. And, he said the links were not required reading for students and were “only provided as a clearinghouse” that students could choose to look at if they wanted. He said he did not know whether he would use the Israel boycott one again since he changes his courses every year.

The UCLA faculty leadership acted in response to a complaint from the AMCHA Initiative organization, a group of Jewish faculty who have in the past accused UC campuses of ignoring acts of anti-Semitism against Jewish students and of allowing protests against Israel’s policies to turn into harassment of Jews at UC. In response to a previous allegation from the group, the U.S. Department of Education last year said its civil rights branch is investigating whether UC Santa Cruz is a hostile environment for Jewish students.

For more on AMCHA see this post here, and for the situation at UC Santa Cruz here, here and here.

Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Executive Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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7 Responses

  1. pabelmont on April 18, 2012, 3:06 pm

    Has anyone shown instances of harassment of Jews at UC campuses, based on opinions of the alleged harassers about Israel, and are these instances verified? Be nice to know more. To me it sounds like hypersensitivity of folks who want to wonder around campus wearing shirts with Israeli flags on them and don’t like it when they encounter demonstrations against Israel — perhaps think these demos are denunciations of themselves for their views!

    For more on this, see this article

  2. libra on April 18, 2012, 4:45 pm

    “… the U.S. Department of Education last year said its civil rights branch is investigating whether UC Santa Cruz is a hostile environment for Jewish students.”

    The lesson of the last few days is surely just how ominous and provocative the presence of a blond surfer dude would be. I wouldn’t be surprised if UC Santa Cruz doesn’t have one or two on campus.

  3. Les on April 18, 2012, 5:28 pm

    Was Leuchter actually doing what his local branch of the AAUP asked him to do or was this his own doing?

  4. pabelmont on April 18, 2012, 6:19 pm

    Let’s follow out the twisted illogic. Surfer Dude (SD) (on campus) carries sign which says “Viva Palestina!” Zionist sympathizers believe that this sign asserts a crime against Israel (as , really, by now after 44 years, it does). Israel claims it is the country “of” The Jewish People (TJP), and some of these Zios-on-campus (ZOC) regard themselves as members of TJP and therefore regard this SD as implicating them in crimes. (He, for his part, at most thinks he is accusing Israel, not TJP). ZOC then announce to anyone who will listen that they feel discriminated against, unsafe, uneasy — because they follow the Zio religion, which SD seems to attack by implicating Israel in crime.

    Does administation tell them that all they need do to feel “safe” is to put on a TShirt which says “Viva Palestina!” and join SD in a happy dance (of the Hora or Debke, whatever)? Or does he tell them to (in the alternative) proudly wear a TShirt which says, “Israel Usurps Palestine, Now and Forever!”?

    No. He tells the SD to ditch the sign or face criminal prosecution for making a political statement that (is alleged) to make some ZOC feel discriminated against.

    What am I missing here? Admin,. help me out here. Is this the America I grew up in or has McCarthy come back, morphed into a ZioNazi?

  5. AJM on April 18, 2012, 9:58 pm

    God these stories of academic censorship, intimidation, never end.
    How about this for a video title [Israelism?]:
    Rev. Sam Clarke encourages Christians to defeat anti-Semitism, anti-Israelism

  6. DICKERSON3870 on April 18, 2012, 11:42 pm

    RE: “The UCLA faculty leadership acted in response to a complaint from the AMCHA Initiative organization, a group of Jewish faculty who have in the past accused UC campuses of ignoring acts of anti-Semitism against Jewish students and of allowing protests against Israel’s policies to turn into harassment of Jews at UC.” ~ L.A. Times

    ALSO SEE: The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics, by David Theo Goldberg and Saree Makdisi, Tikkun Magazine, September/October 2009

    (excerpt)…It is an extraordinary fact that no fewer than thirty-three distinct organizations – including AIPAC, the Zionist Organization of America, the American Jewish Congress, and the Jewish National Fund – are gathered together today as members or affiliates of the Israel on Campus Coalition. The coalition is an overwhelmingly powerful presence on American college campuses for which there is simply no equivalent on the Palestinian or Arab side. Its self-proclaimed mission is not merely to monitor our colleges and universities. That, after all, is the commitment of Campus Watch, which was started by pro-Israel activists in 2002. It is, rather (and in its own words), to generate “a pro-active, pro-Israel agenda on campus.”
    There is, accordingly, disproportionate and unbalanced intervention on campuses across the country by a coalition of well-funded organizations
    , who have no time for — and even less interest in — the niceties of intellectual exchange and academic process. Insinuation, accusation, and defamation have become the weapons of first resort to respond to argument and criticism directed at Israeli policies. As far as these outside pressure groups (and their campus representatives) are concerned, the intellectual and academic price that the scholarly community pays as a result of this kind of intervention amounts to little more than collateral damage…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/sept_oct_09_goldberg_makdisi

  7. CigarGod on April 19, 2012, 11:49 am

    School administrators just want problems to go away…so the easiest way…is to tell people to stop doing whatever is provoking a response. Without too much trouble…we could probably design a machine to perform this function…freeing up administrators to study the possible elimination of all knickers on campus. No knickers…no twists.

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