Wiesenthal Center Commends UC Berkeley Decision to Cancel Anti-Israel Course from Student-Run Education Program

September 13, 2016

The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomes UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ decision to cancel “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” a course slated for the Fall 2016 DeCal program. According to its website, DeCal is, “student-run democratic education program at the UC Berkeley - here, students create and facilitate their own classes on a variety of (often unorthodox) subjects.” The faculty sponsor of the disputed course, Dr. Hatem Bazian, is notorious for his radical anti-Israel, anti-Semitic views and the Wiesenthal Center and other Jewish organizations raised concerns that the course wouldn’t present a fair and unbiased view of the State of Israel.

An email from Chancellor’s Dirks’ office read in part:

“It has been determined that the facilitator for the course in question did not comply with policies and procedures that govern the normal academic review and approval of proposed courses for the Decal program. As a result, the proposed course did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards before it was opened for enrollment to students. For that reason, approval for the course has been suspended pending completion of the mandated review and approval process. It should also be noted that the Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science is very concerned about the offering of any course, even a student-run course, which espouses a single political viewpoint and/or appears to offer a forum for political organizing rather than an opportunity for the kind of open academic inquiry that Berkeley is known for.”

“The Wiesenthal Center commends UC Berkeley’s action to cancel this so-called course that was never more than an extreme anti-Israel propaganda drill masquerading as an academic exercise. We will continue to closely monitor this issue across the UC system,” said Aron Hier, Director of Campus Outreach for the leading Jewish human rights NGO.

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036. Join the Center on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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).