Tufts University in Massachusetts is facing criticism from pro-Israel students for offering a course this upcoming fall 2018 semester titled “Colonizing Palestine,” which will discuss “the Israeli state which illegally occupied Palestine.”
The class will be taught by Thomas Abowd, a professor with a lengthy history of anti-Israel advocacy including being active in the Students for Justice in Palestine movement and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement. Abowd was a featured speaker for Tufts' annual Israeli Apartheid Week, Campus Reform reports.
Abowd is also known for reportedly mocking the Hebrew Bible, as he did in 2015, when he called it a “celestial real estate guide.” He also reportedly called the City of David, an archaeological complex with structures from over 3,000 years ago, a “weaponization of myth,” claiming Israel “has built a whole national mythology out of the City of David.”
In response to the class offering, the Tufts University Friends of Israel student group released a statement about the course that they label “problematic.”
“As the next generation of world leaders, it is our time and place to contribute in bringing about a peaceful resolution benefitting both the Jewish and Palestinian peoples,” the statement says. “We are very concerned, however, that a new Tuft University course, “Colonizing Palestine,” will only serve to reinforce further division with its one-sided nature.”
The statement goes on to encourage balance in studying the conflict and warns against the demonization of Israel that “fosters an unwelcoming and often unsafe environment for Jewish students.”
“Ahistorical rhetoric and misinformation have no place on our campus,” the statement says.