The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) has apparently endorsed the view that Israel is the cause of all the violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A slide on the UNC website reads: “Today the Golan Heights, Gaza and the West Bank are all areas under Israeli occupation. Due to the occupation, Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, the official government of Palestine, have been in constant violent conflict since the end of the 1967 war. ”
By authorizing the publication of this material on its website, the UNC promotes the idea that Israel is the sole cause of violence in the conflict.
There is no mention of the thousands of rockets, mortars and waves of suicide killers launched at Israel by Palestinian terrorist organizations to indiscriminately murder Israeli citizens. There is no mention that the Palestinian people democratically elected Hamas – a terrorist organization – to power. There is no discussion of the repeated rejection of the Palestinian leadership of the state and the invitations to peace talks.
Another slide on the UNC website continues: “Since Israel and Palestine are currently nations in conflict and Israel uses water as a tool of domination, water can be described, in this situation, like a weapon, inciting a new conflict.
The UNC presents this inflammatory anti-Israel material, written by students, and declares it “a teaching tool to spread awareness.”
Apparently the UNC is endorsing – and UNC students are internalizing – a one-sided demonization of Israel.
I came across this “teaching tool” because the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle Eastern Studies recommends it on their “Resource Links” webpage, describing it as “useful for studying the Middle East and North Africa “.
Let’s take a closer look.
The Consortium offers an entire section on “Islam”, with over 25 recommended resources. Oddly, there are no corresponding sections on Christianity and Judaism.
There is an entire section on “Arab Refugees”. There is no section on Jewish refugees, such as the 850,000 Jewish refugees who were forced to leave Arab countries and Iran.
There is no section on Christian refugees. According to National Public Radio, in recent years thousands of Iraqi Christians have been killed and thousands have fled the country because they are “threatened with genocide”.
The Consortium’s website contains a section on “American Arabs,” but lacks corresponding entries for American Jews and other religious minorities.
In the “Culture and Arts” section, the Consortium recommends five resources that all focus on Arab and Muslim culture. No resources on Jewish culture and art are included.
The Duke-UNC resource page recommends five “contemporary news” sites “for studying the Middle East and North Africa,” including Al Jazeera English and Jadaliyya.
Jadaliyya is a Palestinian rights organization and media outlet that glorifies terrorism and promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Al Jazeera is funded by the State of Qatar and has repeatedly posted clearly anti-Semitic content.
Five of the six members of the Consortium’s Executive Committee signed a “Declaration on Palestine from North Carolina Academics on Palestine” in 2021, stating: “We recognize our complicity in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians… [and we] reject the dominant narrative on “both sides”. They are Michael Figueroa, Caroline Robinson and Claudia Yaghoobi from UNC, and Didem Havlioglu and Rebecca Stein from Duke. According to the student newspaper UNC, Stein helped organize the declaration. The Consortium’s Duke Campus director, Ellen McLarney, also signed.
Additionally, in 2021, Stein and McLarney both committed to promoting BDS “in the classroom and on campus”.
This is the same UNC / Duke Consortium that co-sponsored the 2019 “Conflict Over Gaza” conference that made international news for presenting the anti-Semitic performance of a rapper.
In the wake of this scandalous conference, in 2019, the Office of the Consul General of the United States Department of Education (DOE) sent a scathing letter to the Consortium, stating:
The Duke-UNC CMES [Consortium] seems unbalanced as it offers very little, if any, programming focused on the historical discrimination faced and the current circumstances of religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, yadizis, Kurds, Druze and others. In addition, in your activities for primary and secondary students and teachers, there is a considerable emphasis on understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar emphasis on the positive aspects of Islam. positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.
The 2019 letter continued: “This lack of balance in outlook is troubling and strongly suggests that Duke-UNC CMES is not meeting the legal requirement that National Resource Centers” provide a full understanding of areas, regions or countries. ” in which the modern foreign language taught is commonly used.
As a result of complaints filed with the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office (OCR) following this conference, UNC and Duke each signed OCR resolution agreements. Yet the Duke-UNC Consortium website – two years later – still lacks balance and still overlooks religious minorities in the Middle East. And UNC is currently offering a course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict taught by graduate student Kylie Broderick, which promotes the idea that Israel shouldn’t exist, and says, “I never want to encourage them. [students] believing that there are reasons to adopt in good faith the oppressive ideologies of the … Zionists.
The evidence is clear: Despite signing resolution agreements with the US Bureau of Civil Rights, UNC and Duke remain committed to providing students with an unbalanced, pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel and one-sided view of the conflict.
Peter Reitzes is a board member of Voice4Israel of North Carolina and writes on issues related to anti-Semitism and Israel.