This video segment was published in Newsweek on October 6, 2016 with the article excerpted below. To view the video and full article at Newsweek.com, click here.
Why a Controversial Palestinian History Class at Berkeley was Canceled, then Reinstated
After graduating from high school in Bethlehem, Hadweh returned to the United States for college. He started out at Sacramento City College, then transferred to Berkeley, routinely ranked the best public college in the United States. Many come to higher learning with the expectation of broadening their horizons; Hadweh, a peace and conflict studies major, freely admits to his narrow concentration: “I came in here to learn about Palestine. And I said, ‘I’m gonna come out of here having learned about it.’”
So when he discovered that there was no course that, in his view, fairly addressed the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories, he decided to make his own. “If you’re not going to give me a space to explore Palestine, then I am going to make that space,” he says with an edgy defiance that hints at how hard that space has been to claim.
Last year, Hadweh took an Arabic course with Hatem Bazian, an Islamic scholar at Berkeley who has been involved in political activism that, some say, seeks to delegitimize and malign Israel. Over the summer, Bazian helped Hadweh create a DeCal course called Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis.
After the class was suspended, Hadweh was offered representation by Palestine Legal, which frequently defends students who become targets of the pro-Israel lobby. His lawyer, Liz Jackson, is a Jewish alumna of Berkeley Law who, some years ago, went on Birthright Israel, the free trip offered to American Jews. “The knee-jerk labeling of the Palestinian perspective as ‘anti-Jewish’ is akin to dismissing the study of civil rights struggle in the U.S. or the movement to end South African apartheid as ‘anti-white,’” she says, adding that there was “a documented, coordinated effort by Israel advocacy organizations, and the Israeli government itself, to suppress campus debate in the U.S.”