The fight foracademic freedomand freedom of speech on US campuses continues as Zionist groups attempt to intimidate university officials into censoring faculty and students who criticize Israeli policies.
Dr. David Delgado Shorter, a University of California, Los Angeles professor of world arts and cultures/dance, was recently accused by the Amcha Initiative — an outside Zionist group which has filed numerous complaints against professors who hold discussions on Israeli policies — that his course included reading materials which “seek to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state.” Unbeknownst to Shorter, a faculty colleague began an investigation of Shorter’s course material based on Amcha’s complaint.
However, despite the unprecendented review, the Zionist censors failed to prove that their claims hold any merit.
After learning about the investigation into his course, Shorter himself asked for a review of Amcha’s complaint by the UCLA’s Academic Senate Committee on Academic Freedom. The committee found that “no evidence was provided” in which principles of professional standards and university policy were violated, and that “no complaint by a member of the course was received.”
The Amcha Initiative has a history of vitriolic intimidation and legal threats against faculty who lead discussions on Israeli policy (or who simply link to websites with information on the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement) in the University of California and the California State University systems. The group accused Shorter of “using his official UCLA class website for the purpose of promoting the academic and cultural boycott of Israel” (“A question about academic freedom,” 29 March 2012).
These claims revolved around a class Shorter taught in the Winter 2012 quarter entitled “Tribal Worldviews.” Shorter told The Electronic Intifada that the class incorporates “how indigenous people use media and technology to engage with or combat globalization.”
On the course’s website, Shorter included pages of non-required links and background material that students were free to peruse if they found the information helpful in their research. Included amongst the dozens of links were the website for the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) and a book review published on The Electronic Intifada.