The University of California, Berkeley (UCB) has been hit by a wave of posters denouncing Jews on campus as “bullies” attempting to suppress free speech.
“Jewish bullies smash free speech at CAL and are pledged $38 billion,” one poster said. “Attention Non-Jews: PAY UP and SHUT UP!” The $38 billion refers to a recent agreement between the U.S. and Israel supplying the latter with $38 billion in military aid.
— Nanette Asimov (@NanetteAsimov) September 23, 2016
Another poster spotted on campus last week complains that UCB has allowed “advocates of a foreign state” to influence the school’s class offerings.
The posters appear to be inspired over a recent spat concerning a student-led course UCB is offering on Palestine. The class, originally titled “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,” said in its syllabus it would “explore the possibilities of a decolonized Palestine” and require students to present “decolonial alternatives to the current situation.” The class was also taught by Paul Hadweh, a student affiliated with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a pro-Palestine and anti-Israel activist group. (RELATED: Anti-Semitism Is Running Rampant At California’s Elite Public Schools)
In mid-September, several Jewish groups denounced the class in a letter, saying it was little more than a partisan political attack on Israel dressed up as an credit-granting class (UCB policies prohibit “political indoctrination” in the classroom). UCB officials initially agreed, suspending the class and taking its syllabus offline.
Just a few days later, though, UCB restored the class after students and faculty claimed administrators were suppressing academic freedom, after making tweaks to its syllabus that allegedly fixed its issues with political bias. The restored class had its description tweaked slightly, but otherwise the syllabus and course readings were left totally unchanged. Hadweh told the website Electronic Intifada the changes were merely “cosmetic” in nature.
UCB spokesman Dan Mogulof told The Daily Californian that faculty have been taking the posters as soon as they spot them.
Supporters of Palestine claim they’ve been the victim of hostile rhetoric as well. A student in the disputed Palestine class told the Californian that on the first day of class there was an anti-Palestinian poster plastered to the classroom door.
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