Why is Palestine taboo at Chicago's Columbia College?

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Crescent International

Jumada' al-Ula' 09, 1435 2014-03-10

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

Zionist apologists do not want any discussion of the crimes against innocent Palestinians. They want to deny this even in an academic environment where freedom of opinion and thought are touted as cherished values. This is what is happening at Chicago's Columbia College where a zionist student's objection to a course on Palestinian suffering has been suspended because it exposes zionist crimes.

Chicago, Crescent-online
Monday March 10, 2014, 12:47 DST

In the West in general and the US in particular, there is only type of freedom allowed: to applaud whatever the Zionist entity does even if it is murdering innocent Palestinian children.

There is also much talk about “academic freedom.” If a professor teaches a course about so-called Muslim “extremism” or “terrorism” and even if he/she uses unsubstantiated allegations that would be considered academic freedom. The argument advanced is that the professor could be challenged in class discussion that follows after such presentation.

This freedom, however, appears not to be available to any professor discussing Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Zionists. Professor Iyman Chehade at Columbia College had planned to screen the Oscar-nominated documentary ”5 Broken Cameras”, which depicts popular resistance to Israeli military occupation.

After a Zionist student alleged that the film showed Chehade’s course is ”biased,” the professor was summoned for a meeting with Dr. Steven Corey, chair of the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences. Corey told Chehade to teach his course in a more “balanced” manner, and then Columbia College withdrew one section of his course just hours after it had been made available to students registering for classes.

“Academic freedom entails not only the right to speak from a particular perspective, but the freedom from being compelled to engage in a particular type of speech,” said Chehade.

“The frequent demand from apologists for Israeli colonialism that any discussion of the conflict be ‘balanced’ would be considered absurd in most other contexts. For example, must every presentation about the African-American civil rights movement include a speaker who will attempt to justify the denial of these rights?”

Columbia College students, faculty and community members are organizing a campaign to defend academic freedom after administrators retaliated against Shehade for the content of his course about the Israel/Palestine conflict. The campaign includes a petition (www.chn.ge/MXMtpY) and March 11 and 12 call-in days to the Columbia College administration.

A public forum is planned for March 20 entitled “Why is Palestine taboo at Columbia College?” (www.tinyurl.com/PalColumbia).

The forum will feature Professor Iymen Chehade; Ali Abunimah, America’s best known advocate for Palestinian rights and author most recently of The Battle for Justice in Palestine; John Wilson of the American Association of University Professors-Illinois; and Columbia college students Ava Ginsburg and Ahmed Hamad, who are both members of Students for Justice in Palestine/Jewish Voice for Peace at Columbia College. After the speaker presentations, there will be ample time for audience discussion and debate.

The Zionist stranglehold on academic debate or indeed any other type of debate must be challenged and exposed. Equally, Zionist crimes against innocent Palestinians must be exposed at every forum regardless of how much the arrogant Zionists may scream and protest.

They must stop oppressing and terrorizing the Palestinians. Then there will be no need to have forums like these.

END

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