:: UPDATE:: Coursera and the Boycott of Israel

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has noted the apology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and its reinsertion of "Israel" into its course application form list of over 200 "countries of residence"

May this victory against campus boycotts of Israel serve as an example
for other Universities.

The Center thanks Coursera and especially its CEO, Richard Levin, for their timely intervention and successful resolution of this outrage.


Tel. +33-147237637 - Fax: +33-147208401
E-mail: csweurope@gmail.com

“Your partner, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, wipes Israel off the map.”

Paris, 30 June 2014

In a letter to Richard C. Levin, newly appointed CEO of Coursera, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, recalled their meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, when Levin was President of Yale University.

The letter congratulated the new leader of Coursera, “Wishing success to the online platform for free academic courses in partnership with 110 universities worldwide in fifteen languages.”

Samuels noted, “One of our Spanish-speaking members residing in Israel is a veteran client of Coursera and has just applied for a course on Egyptology given by the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona,” adding, “The application form includes a question on ‘your country’, giving drop-down options that go beyond acknowledged sovereign states including small non-state islands and territories such as ‘Africa’ and ‘Antarctica'."

See: “Cuál es tu país de residencia habitual?”

“Only one state, however, is missing – the ‘State of Israel’,” protested the Centre. “Its geographical location is eclipsed by ‘Palestine Territory’.”

The letter argued, “As your own website offers courses in Hebrew from the Universities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Haifa Technion, wiping Israel off the map is, apparently, the policy of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) – reportedly an active centre for anti-Israel boycott.”

The Centre urged Coursera, “As the Egyptology course is due to begin on 6 October, our Centre urges you to immediately freeze all inscriptions and terminate your relationship with UAB, explaining publicly the reasons for this action,” continuing, “to do otherwise would violate Coursera’s own Code of Conduct regarding ‘polite’ and ‘sensitive’ behavior, as also its Terms of Service that prohibit ‘content that defames, harasses or threatens others’.”

“For our Israeli members to find that they do not exist or have to accept that they are in ‘Palestinian Territory’ is indeed, at best, ‘harassment’ and a self-evident ‘threat’,” concluded Samuels.

For further information please contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 00(33)609770158, join the Wiesenthal Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).