Two college professors are warning Jewish students to exercise caution when considering taking university classes that focus on the Middle East, claiming that many American professors have proven that they hold biased views against Israel.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at University of California Santa Cruz, and Leila Beckwith, an emeritus professor at the University of California Los Angeles, penned an op-ed in the Jewish Journal Thursday voicing their educational concerns.
"We recommend that students exercise great care in choosing which courses they will take," Rossman-Benjamin and Beckwith wrote. "Consider this: last month, about 200 professors identifying themselves as 'Middle East scholars' on more than 100 U.S. campuses signed a petition decrying 'ongoing Israeli massacres in Gaza.'"
Abu Obeida (R), the official spokesperson of the Palestinian militant group Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, give a press conference on July 3, 2014 in Gaza City. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
They explained that these professors signed a letter calling their scholarly colleagues to boycott academic institutions in Israel and to refrain from participating in projects, academic journals or conferences involving these schools.
Many signatories belong to well-known institutions like Columbia, Duke, Harvard and Georgetown.
"Yet despite the fact that its signatories identify themselves as 'Middle East scholars,' the boycott petition is extremely unbalanced and unscholarly, and holds Israel to a breathtaking double standard," their op-ed continued. "For example, it laments 'the ongoing Israeli massacres in Gaza' which are 'ghastly reminders of the complicity of Israeli academics', without even mentioning Hamas, its genocidal aims, its firing of missiles into Israeli population centers from Gazan schools and hospitals, or its use of Palestinians as human shields."
A building within the Gaza port is seen on fire after several strikes early on July 29, 2014. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
The letter lambastes Israel for creating a "humanitarian catastrophe," but gives no attention to Hamas' actions in the conflict, they argued.
"We believe the professors who have signed this petition may be so biased against the Jewish state that they are unable to teach accurately or fairly about Israel or the Arab-Israel conflict, and may even inject antisemitic tropes into their lectures or class discussion," Rossman-Benjamin and Beckwith wrote.
Both professors are co-founders of the AMCHA Initiative, an organization that seeks to combat anti-Semitism on college campuses in America.
(H/T: Jewish Journal)