GWU instructor backed by propaganda organization quits because too “pro-Israeli?”

Here’s an excellent (if not also unintentionally humorous) article about a university instructor coming under fire– and quitting– because students found her overwhelmingly Israel-centric in her teaching of a course about the Arab-Israeli conflict. In what we are to believe is pure coincidence, one of the two texts she used is a relentlessly anti-Palestinian propaganda text, by-lined by the head of the organization which provided funding for her position.

Eric Fingerhut of Washington Jewish Week writes:

For years, some pro-Israel activists have been troubled by university
professors who demonstrated bias against Israel in the classroom. But
last week was apparently a first: A George Washington University
instructor resigned after being accused of teaching a class that was
biased in favor of Israel.

Hanna Diskin told the students in her “Arab-Israeli Conflict” class on
Tuesday of last week that she would not be teaching the class for the
remainder of the semester – and would be leaving the D.C. university -
because she was upset that students in the class had complained about
her teaching to the head of the political science department.

Diskin was on loan from Hebrew University. Her position was funded by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), run by well known propagandist Mitchell Bard, which is paying to bring 26 professors and 6 post-docs to university campuses this year to teach about Israeli politics. Diskin was apparently unaware of the basic demands of students for a semblance of balance:

[Senior Greg]Berlin and a classmate, senior Elizabeth Kamens, both said that the
problem with Diskin’s teaching was that she focused only on Israel in a
course that was supposed to deal with the entire Arab-Israeli conflict.

“We would never cover the other side,” said Kamens, who is Jewish.

“It became more of an Israeli politics class,” said Berlin, noting that
while understanding Zionism is important to studying the Arab-Israeli
conflict, he wondered why they were they spending half of the semester
learning about it.

Berlin said that he and a number of other students had expressed their
“dissent” to Diskin in class about the way she was handling the course,
but became frustrated when they would ask for an Arab perspective on an
issue and Diskin would change the subject or talk over them. For
example, after Diskin cited the number of Israelis who died in a
particular military conflict, Berlin said, students asked for the number
of fatalities on the Palestinian side. Diskin, according to Berlin,
replied that only the Israeli figures were reliable, because only Israel
was a democracy.

“I’m Jewish myself, but I feel there’s a line between objectivity and
teaching with a bias,” said Berlin, who said he was one of a number of
students who expressed their concerns to leaders of the political
science department.

The two texts for the class? A History of Israel by GWU professor emeritus Howard Sachar, which one would expect to find in such a class, and “Myths & Facts,” a rather stunningly blatant piece of propaganda which started as an AIPAC publication and was later edited by former AIPAC staffer and AICE head Mitchell Bard. (But don’t trust us – read it for yourself.)

M.J. Rosenberg, who edited Myths & Facts when he worked at AIPAC in the
1980s, was surprised to hear it was being used in a college class.

“It’s not a textbook,” said Rosenberg, now the policy director at the
Israel Policy Forum. “It’s counter-propaganda” that is “not designed to
show both sides,” but to provide all the facts that support the
pro-Israel side.

Rosenberg said it was “hard to believe” the book would be used in any
college class other than one studying propaganda.

Bard defended the accuracy of his book. So did Daniel Pipes.

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