Photo Caption: Wilson Library, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill
Students enrolled in an extremely controversial course on Israel
Students enrolled in an extremely controversial course on Israel at the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill (UNC) this semester will be required to absorb a one-sided, anti-Israel perspective on such topics as “The Utter Failure of the Abraham Accords,” “Save Sheikh Jarrah,” and “Settler Colonialism,” according to the syllabus, obtained by the North Carolina Coalition for Israel weeks ago, using a Freedom of Information Act request before the class started. NCCI then supplied the syllabus to ZOA for potential use in a civil rights complaint, and placed the document on our public website to allow other users and media free access. We believe it’s important for the UNC Chancellor and other UNC leaders to realize that concerns with this course are based on the anti-Israel and antisemitic content, not just the documented bias of the instructor.
The course, entitled “The Conflict over Israel/Palestine,” is taught by Kylie Broderick, a PhD candidate at UNC. Broderick is an outspoken anti-Israel activist, with a marked and documented prejudice against the Jewish state. Broderick’s history led to concerns raised in the Jewish community about the course. The syllabus reveals the course to be little more than an exercise in anti-Israel indoctrination.
Anti-Israel Activists Developed and Teach the Course
In the syllabus, Broderick credits five anti-Israel activists with helping her to develop all the materials for the class, HIST277: Sherene Seikaly, Zaid Abu Rish, Sarah Shields, Israel Dominguez, and Mekarem Eljamal. Abu-Rish and Seikaly have issued or retweeted many hostile anti-Israel tweets; Seikaly retweeted a post calling for “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free,” which effectively advocates for the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel. According to Canary Mission, Mekarem Eljamal was spokesperson for SAFE (Students Allied for Freedom and Equality), a group that supports terrorist Rasmeah Odeh. Eljamal was also a leading promoter of BDS at the University of Michigan. She reportedly created an atmosphere of intimidation on campus with mock eviction notices and sit-ins.
Class topics are overwhelmingly anti-Israel. Out of about four dozen reading assignments, at least 41 were plainly biased against Israel. From the beginning of the semester, several topics listed on the syllabus seem to falsely place Palestinian communities on the land during and before the British mandate, rather than presenting the reality that the “Palestinian people” were a creation of Yasser Arafat in the 1960s. An entire week is budgeted for “The Architecture and Cityscapes of Apartheid,” featuring Ms. Eljamal as a guest lecturer. Israel Dominguez is also a guest lecturer in the course.
Syllabus Content and Language are Classic Orwellian
The materials omit critically important information that would frame both sides of the conflict. For example, there is no mention of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, or other relevant groups declared to be terrorist organizations by the United States and the European Union. With a focus on the twentieth century, the class is deprived of even a brief presentation of 3000 years of Jewish history in the land of Israel. This omission serves to erase Jewish religious and historic connection to the land. Jews and Palestinians are falsely made to appear to have equivalent durations on the land.
The language used in the syllabus is classic Orwellian Newspeak, starting with the course title, that converts the sovereign state of Israel into “Israel/Palestine.” World-class Israeli conservation of water and earth resources becomes “greenwashing,” and Israel, the only country in the Middle East to provide equal treatment of LGBT people, is accused of “pinkwashing” in a section of the syllabus given the bizarre title “Discourses and Materialities of Dispossession.”
UNC Violates its Agreement with US Government
There was a time when UNC was a proud and respected institution of higher learning. It became clear however in 2019 when the university hosted a conference, “Conflict Over Gaza,” that scholarly pursuit had turned into anti-Israel propaganda. The conference made international news for featuring an antisemitic rap show. Consequently, a complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Justice to protect Jewish students. UNC ultimately entered into a Resolution Agreement with the United States Department of Education, promising “to ensure that students enrolled in the University are not subjected to a hostile environment.”
Based on the syllabus for HIST277, and the appointment of Broderick as instructor, UNC should drop its pretense of respecting diversity. It’s clear from the depraved, unrepentant indifference of UNC leadership towards their Jewish community that they do not intend to honor their agreement. Unfortunately, Jewish and pro-Israel students, academic standards, and the truth will suffer the price.