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UNC Professors Are Indoctrinating Students with Anti-Israel Rhetoric and Coursework

Students sit on the steps of Wilson Library on the campus of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US, Sept. 20, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

Nadia Yaqub, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), emailed campus leadership and colleagues on Oct. 14 to inform them that the Oct. 7 atrocities Hamas committed were “provoked” by Israel, in her view.

Yaqub also chastised then-UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz for issuing a campus statement the day before in which he wrote, “The senseless acts of terror in Israel by Hamas are horrifying. I condemn this terrible violence.”

Yaqub told the Chancellor that she was “disappointed and discouraged by what you wrote.” Yaqub continued, saying she had “warned” the Chancellor a week before about issuing such a statement.

On Nov. 28, I attended an event at UNC titled “No Peace Without Justice: A Round-Table Talk about Social Justice in Palestine.” A speaker — Rania Masri — boasted that Oct. 7 was a “beautiful day.” In January, Yaqub spoke at a UNC Faculty Council meeting to oppose a resolution, titled “Condemning Antisemitism on Campus,” that sought to rebuke Masri’s remarks. To the dismay of the Jewish community and many UNC faculty, the resolution did not pass.

Yaqub told Inside Higher Ed that she did not believe that Masri’s comments were “objectively antisemitic,” and that “what actually happened on that day [Oct. 7], and who actually committed what, is still very unclear.”

A source sent me the first page of what appears to be Yaqub’s current syllabus for ARAB 151 — Arabic Literature Through the Ages. The syllabus states, “In light of the extraordinary violence being brought to bear against Palestinians living under Israeli occupation since October 7 and the shockingly callous position the United States government has taken vis-à-vis that violence, it is incumbent on us to educate ourselves about all aspects of the Palestinian condition.”

It seems Yaqub intends to use an Arabic literature class at a public university to focus on condemning Israel and the United States.

I requested a copy of the full syllabus from UNC using a public records request. My request was declined, saying the syllabus is Yaqub’s “intellectual property.”

Reviews posted at Rate My Professors state that Yaqub “presents Israel as this cartoon-ish villain … and basically says ‘Israel bad, Palestine good,’” and that she “has a notable bias towards Palestine.”

In other UNC news, a campus panel titled “News Media Frameworks for Israel/Palestine” is scheduled for Feb. 16. All five speakers are well known anti-Israel activists.

Four speakers — Amahl Bishara, Dina Matar, Rebecca Stein, and Helga Tawil-Souri — signed a 2021 statement pledging to promote the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel “in the classroom and on campus.”

The fifth scheduled speaker — Michael Palm — signed a 2021 statement saying, “We acknowledge our complicity in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians,” and “express our solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Five UNC departments and institutes are sponsoring the event: the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Departments of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies and Communication, and the Curriculums in Global Studies and Peace, War, & Defense.

In the Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Department, three top administrators signed the 2021 statement condemning Israel’s “oppression” of the Palestinian people: Chair Morgan Pitelka, Associate Chair Robin Visser, and Director of Graduate Studies Yaron Shemer. Two administrators in the Curriculum in Global Studies also signed the statement: Chair Banu Gökariksel and Director of Internships & Diversity Liaison, Michal Osterweil.

This planned event raises a simple question: Are multiple UNC departments planning to defy North Carolina law that requires the university to be institutionally neutral “on the political controversies of the day”?

In November, UNC’s chancellor and provost issued a statement reminding the campus community of the university’s supposed commitment to “institutional neutrality.” Yet it seems that multiple campus departments and institutes are ignoring or spurning this reminder.

In October, UNC’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies published a “Solidarity Statement” with Palestinians, which was condemned and eventually removed from their website for lacking institutional neutrality. The notorious Nov. 28 event featured a panel of anti-Israel activists without a single pro-Israel or even neutral voice. The upcoming Feb. 16 event appears to promise more of the same.

It seems that university department heads and professors have forgotten or are unaware that UNC also signed a Resolution Agreement with the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights that it will “take all steps reasonably designed to ensure that students enrolled in the University are not subjected to a hostile environment.”

The UNC Charlotte website explains, “The goal of institutional neutrality is to promote the open exchange of ideas on campus by ensuring that schools don’t inhibit dissenting opinions.”

At the Nov. 28 event, not only were all the speakers anti-Israel activists, but the audience was not permitted to ask questions. Dissenting opinions were not invited, included, or allowed.

Why are so many UNC departments afraid to offer students and the community institutionally neutral events where speakers respectfully discuss and debate complex issues from different perspectives?

Instead, UNC is training and indoctrinating generations of students that Israel is evil. When will the legislature and the university demand that UNC departments adhere to institutional neutrality and obey both the law and the agreements for which they are legally liable?

Peter Reitzes writes about issues related to antisemitism and Israel.

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PA Daily: Hamas Shouldn’t Release 130+ Israeli Hostages Without Release of All 9,000 Terrorist Prisoners

A dinner table is set with empty chairs that symbolically represent hostages and missing people with families that are waiting for them to come home, following a deadly infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 20, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Janis Laizans

The official Palestinian Authority (PA) daily is calling on Hamas not to release the more than 130 kidnapped Israeli hostages unless Israel releases all the 9,000 imprisoned Palestinian terrorists.

The PA daily editorial is demanding Hamas insist on the release of all the mass murderers, which includes terrorists like Abdallah Barghouti, the Hamas bomb builder responsible for the murder of 67 people, and Abbas Al-Sayid, who is serving 35 life sentences for planning the suicide bombing at the Passover Seder in Netanya in 2002, and others who together have killed thousands of Israelis.

According to the PA daily, to release the more than 130 Israeli hostages without the release of all these terrorist murderers, whom the PA calls “prisoners of freedom,” would be a crime.

All members of the Israeli government and all Israeli negotiators have ruled this option out. Many of the 1,027 terrorists released by Israel in exchange for Israeli soldier hostage Gilad Shalit in 2011 went on to murder again, and others became the leaders of Hamas who planned and executed years of terror including the October 7 atrocities. The Israeli army is fighting to destroy the Hamas leadership in Gaza. It will all have been for nothing if Israel releases the imprisoned Hamas terrorist murderers who will become the new leaders and will rebuild the terror organization.

Unfortunately, the greater the public pressure from Palestinians on Hamas to insist on the release of 9,000 terrorists from prison, the harder it will be for Hamas to compromise and release the Israeli hostages for a smaller number of terrorists.

The PA daily may be pressuring Hamas to demand what Israel cannot agree to, in order to undermine negotiations. Any successful exchange that releases a significant number of Palestinian prisoners will raise Hamas’ popularity. It is possible that the PA daily is warning Hamas that it will be a “crime” not to have 9,000 terrorist prisoners released for the hostages, because it knows that this demand is not achievable.

The following is from the editorial in the official PA daily.

This [prisoners’] front … necessitates raising our voices for the immediate release of all the prisoners [i.e., imprisoned Palestinian terrorists]. Those who are conducting negotiations for prisoner exchanges [i.e., Israel’s kidnapped hostages in exchange for Palestinian terrorists] must not compromise on the release of all the prisoners of freedom without any exception. And if it should happen that someone from among the resistance wings, and especially the Hamas Movement, who claims that he wants to release all [the prisoners] for all [the hostages], should concede, he will commit a crime against the prisoners of freedom.

[Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 8, 2024]

The article’s author, Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, is also a former PLO Central Council member.

The author is the founder and executive director of Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article first appeared.

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Media Distort Israeli Rejection of ‘Over the Top’ and Unacceptable Hamas Demands

Hamas leader and Oct. 7 pogrom mastermind Yahya Sinwar addressing a rally in Gaza. Photo: Reuters/braheem Abu Mustafa

On February 8, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he had rejected the deal proposed by Hamas for a ceasefire to the current war between the Jewish state and the Gaza-based terror group.

Hamas’ proposal was in response to a long-term truce framework that had been crafted in late January by the United States, Qatar, Egypt, and Israel.

Although Hamas’ ceasefire demands have not been officially published, both Reuters and the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar have reported on its key elements, which ultimately include:

The return of Israeli hostages in exchange for thousands of Palestinian prisoners (including those serving life sentences for violent crimes involving blood on their hands).
The withdrawal of Israeli troops from populated areas of the Gaza Strip and ultimately the Strip itself.
An increase in aid to Gaza and the return of Palestinians to all parts of the Strip.

While the core principles of Hamas’ far-reaching ceasefire demands (leaving it in control of the Gaza Strip and the release of hundreds of dangerous Palestinian terrorists from prison) are anathema to many Israelis and have been deemed “non-starters” and “over the top” by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden, several media outlets presented a skewed picture of Israel’s response to Hamas’ demands.

Several headlines portrayed Israel as the sole obstacle to a cessation of hostilities in the region, while some reports even went so far as to diminish Israel’s acceptance of the original negotiating framework.

“Netanyahu Rejects Ceasefire”: Headlines Skew Israel’s Response to Hamas’ Demands

Headlines set the context of a story.

In the case of Israel’s response to Hamas’ ceasefire proposal, the most vital information is that it was a Hamas proposal and that Hamas’ demands were in response to a proposal that Israel had agreed to.

For example, The Wall Street Journal’s headline neatly summarized these points, reading “Israel’s Netanyahu Rejects Hamas’s Response to Cease-Fire Proposal.”

However, several mainstream news outlets failed to properly convey these points, leaving their readers misinformed and with a poor understanding of Israel’s ceasefire stance.

The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Times of London, and The Guardian‘s headlines all failed to mention that Israel was responding to a ceasefire proposal presented by Hamas. Thus, the takeaway appears to be that Israel is a belligerent party that is opposed in principle to any ceasefire.

The Washington Post:


The Times of London:

The Guardian:

For their part, The New York Times (first below) and NPR (second) did include the fact that it was a Hamas proposal that Israel rejected. Yet, the tone conveyed by their headlines still made Israel appear to be the uncooperative and belligerent party in this conflict.

In addition, the titles of several news organizations’ video reports portrayed Israel as an uncooperative and belligerent state while simultaneously presenting Hamas in a sympathetic light.

For example, ABC News (Australia) gave the false impression that Hamas was negotiating in good faith with its headline “Israeli PM Netanyahu rejects Hamas’s offer of a ceasefire and hostage release.”

The title of American outlet ABC News’s video short omitted the fact that it was a Hamas proposal that Israel had rejected, making it appear as if Israel was against a good faith hostage deal.

This false portrayal of Israel as uncompromising and belligerent was also conveyed by the title of Channel 4’s video report, “Israel-Gaza: Netanyahu says no ceasefire and pledges ‘total victory’ over Hamas.”

Similarly, South African SABC News’ video title omitted the necessary facts, simply stating “Netanyahu rejects ceasefire proposal.”

Media Miss Context on Hamas’ Ceasefire Demands

For some media organizations, it wasn’t only the headlines that presented a false impression of Israel’s ceasefire stance and Hamas’ demands.

Several news outlets either diminished or completely ignored the fact that Hamas’ proposal was a response to a negotiating framework that had already been accepted by Israel a week earlier.

For example, in The New York Timesreport, the opening paragraph accuses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “dashing hopes” that a ceasefire might be close, seemingly placing the onus for continued hostilities on Israel. It’s only 24 paragraphs later that it mentions the fact that Hamas was responding to a framework agreed upon by Israel, the United States, Qatar, and Egypt.

Similarly, in its report, The Guardian opened with a condemnation of Israel’s rejection, writing that “Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the terms of a ceasefire in Gaza proposed by Hamas and rebuffed US pressure to move more quickly towards a mediated settlement to the war…”

Any reader would immediately be left with the impression that Israel is being uncompromising and not interested in a cessation of hostilities. They would have to read through 13 more paragraphs before discovering that Hamas’ demands were in response “to a proposal drawn up by the US, Israel, Qatar and Egypt.”

NPR omitted entirely the fact that Hamas was responding to an Israeli framework, leaving its readers woefully in the dark as to Israel’s true intentions and portraying the Jewish state as intransigent, while simultaneously depicting the Islamic terror organization as more flexible and open.

By not accurately reporting on Israel’s rejection of Hamas’ “over the top” ceasefire demands in either their headlines or pieces, these media outlets are not only misinforming their audience but are also playing into Hamas’ propaganda tactic of falsely portraying Israel as bellicose and the terror group as a peace-seeking organization.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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‘You Will Burn!’: Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Heckle Hillary Clinton at Columbia University Event

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on February 9, 2024, speaking at Columbia University. Photo: Screenshot

Pro-Hamas demonstrators threatened and heckled former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Columbia University this past Friday.

Clinton, a staunch defender of Israel, was speaking at an event, titled “Preventing and Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence” and held by the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), when a male heckler rose from his seat and screamed her name.

“Hilary Diane Rodham Clinton!,” he bayed. “You are a war criminal! The people of Libya! The people of Iraq! The people of Syria! The people of Yemen and the people now of Palestine!”

Clinton, responding with a grin, said, “That’s my name, correct,” and proceeding to open a folder containing her written remarks.

Keren Yarhi-Milo, SIPA Dean and Adlai E. Stevenson professor of International relations, intervened to restore order. Earlier in the event, she discussed Hamas’ atrocious raping of Israeli women during the terrorist group’s massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

“Sir, sir, I am going to ask you to leave right now,” Yarhi-Milo said. “I’m asking you to leave, the delegates will now escort you out of the building.”

“You will burn!! Free, free, Palestine!,” he continued. “Free, free Palestine!”

Clinton again attempted to continue — “Let me thank all of you for coming, because this is such an important subject… And yelling doesn’t solve the problem.”

As one heckler was escorted out of the event, another interrupted Clinton. While only fragments of her statements could be picked up on the microphone — “…You want to talk about Libya!…before being murdered…that you supported as Secretary of State!” —  she also appeared to accuse Clinton of being a war criminal.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield endured more interruptions after taking the stage, with one heckler screaming, “Linda, how dare you!” and other accusations. When Thomas-Greenfield continued attempting to speak, a chorus of pro-Hamas supporters began chanting, “Free, free, Palestine” in call and response.

Pro-Hamas supporters at Columbia University have been waging a campaign of intimidation and harassment in recent months against pro-Israel students and faculty. Despite the university’s numerous attempts to enforce compliance with the code of conduct, including suspending Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), they have continued to misbehave and lash out at anyone who denounces their support for Hamas.

Recently, an anonymous group of graduate students there accused a vocal pro-Israel professor, Shai Davidai, of anti-Palestinian racism and demanded that a professional association of which he is a member publicly censure him.

Accusing Davidai of “targeting individuals — especially Palestinians and students of color,” the students’ letter describes his efforts to hold pro-Hamas student groups accountable for harassing Jewish students and defending terror as “decolonization” as “blatant dereliction of duty with respect to his responsibilities and ethical standards as a professor and faculty member of SPSP.”

The students additionally accused him of promoting “doxxing” and “misrepresenting” the views of pro-Hamas groups, all of whom have defended Hamas’ atrocities on Oct. 7 while calling for a ceasefire, a strategy they have employed to portray themselves as a pro-peace movement.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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