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Dalit Baum
 

http://web.mac.com/spme_at_ucsc/iWeb/Site/Anti-Israel%20Course_files/Letter%20to%20Prof.%20Pudup%206-18-7.pdf 

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June 18, 2007

Dear Professor Pudup:

We would like to bring to your attention several concerns that we have about one of the

courses that Community Studies will be offering this summer. Dr. Dalit Baum is

scheduled to teach "Violence and non-Violence in Social Change" (CMMU-124) in the

first summer session. A careful review of the course's on-line syllabus (attached) and a

consideration of the instructor’s past performance lead us to believe this course may not

meet professional norms of academic integrity and competence, for the following

reasons:

1) We have serious concerns about the unusual inclusion of the instructor's biography in

the course syllabus, which stresses not her academic credentials but rather her credentials

as an anti-Israel activist: "During the last several years she has been active with the

nonviolent joint Palestinian Israeli campaign against the Apartheid Wall being built in

Palestine". There are three serious problems with the instructor's statement: First, her use

of the term "Apartheid Wall" is a clear indication that she believes Israel to be a racist

state. Second, her use of the term "Palestine" gives life and legitimacy to a Palestinian

state that does not exist. Both of these examples not only indicate the instructor's

extreme political bias, which could set the stage for indoctrination rather than education

in her classroom, they are also inaccurate and misleading, suggesting that the instructor's

bias could substitute for accuracy, truth and scholarship, and even impede the

dissemination of knowledge. Moreover, a student who does not agree with the

instructor's political bias, and may even find it offensive, is not likely to sign up for this

course. Therefore, not only is the instructor reaching out to like-minded students, which

would seriously limit the points of view that will be expressed, but the inclusion of her

political bias has acted in a discriminatory way, effectively excluding students who do

not share her political beliefs.

2) We are also concerned with the course readings. At least a quarter of them deal

directly with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and each of these takes a pro-Palestinian

anti-Israel perspective.

3) Another concern has to do with the last two weeks of the course, which, according to

the syllabus, involve activist training and planning of (and presumably following through

on) an activist intervention. Considering the extreme political bias expressed in the

instructor's biography and reading list, we have reasonable grounds for fearing that these

last two weeks will be more politically than educationally motivated and directed.

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Moreover, while we understand that teaching students
about social activism is a

legitimate academic endeavor, we wonder how a politically biased course which

encourages students to engage in social or political activism and teaches them how to do

so
can have any place at a public university like UCSC.

4) Finally, after reading the testimony of an undergraduate student who took a

Community Studies course with Dr. Baum last summer on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

(CMMU 120), we have ample reason to believe that all of our concerns about this

summer’s course are well-founded. The student reported that Dr. Baum used her

classroom as a platform for egregiously politically biased and unscholarly instruction,

and that she sought to indoctrinate students to her anti-Israel perspective, stifled

dissenting opinions and inappropriately encouraged students to engage in anti-Israel

activism. (See Appendix 1 for the student testimony about Dalit Baum’s course “The

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”(CMMU 120), and the instructor’s web posting to students).

In summary, we are concerned that the course which Dr. Dalit Baum will be teaching this

summer will not meet even minimal professional norms of academic integrity and

competence. Moreover, we believe a careful review of the instructor’s proposed

syllabus, together with a consideration of her past performance, would have revealed

these deficiencies, and we wonder how your department could have allowed this course

to be offered as part of the undergraduate academic programming at this university.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Ilan Benjamin

Professor of Chemistry, UCSC

Head of UCSC Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin

Lecturer in Hebrew, UCSC

Member of UCSC Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

cc: Prof. Jaye Padgett, Chair Committee on Educational Policy

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Appendix 1

Student testimony and instructor’s web posting from “The Israeli-

Palestinian Conflict” (CMMU 120), a course taught in summer 2006

in the Community Studies department at UCSC

1) Student testimony

My last class at UC Santa Cruz was a Community Studies (CMMU 120) course on the

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. What I thought would be an interesting and informative

course exploring the two sides of a very complex conflict, turned out to be so

outrageously one-sided and anti-Israel as to make a mockery of the educational system.

The professor used her lectures, classroom discussions and course readings as a vehicle

for her own personal vendetta against the state of Israel, against Zionism, against Israelis

and against Jews. She even used the class website to distribute information about anti-

Israel protests occurring in the Bay Area and to invite her students to attend. Many times

when I would confront the professor in class or on WebCT, she would argue with me so

harshly that I felt personally assaulted by her. This class went against everything that the

academic world should stand for. It was not about the presentation of diverse ideas so that

students can use the valuable information they learn to construct their own opinions.

Students were fed lies, twisted truths and one sided information- all presented as facts.

2) Instructor’s web posting to students

Author: Dalit Baum (CMMU120_Baum)

Date: Friday, July 14, 2006 10:43am

PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY.

Join us for a rally.

MONDAY JULY 17, 2006, AT NOON

ISRAELI CONSULATE, 456 MONTGOMERY STREET, SAN FRANCISCO

A CALL BY BAY AREA JEWS: Break the Siege on Gaza! No War on Lebanon

BEFORE OUR EYES, the people of Gaza are being brutally and collectively

punished by Israel. Israel is using a single captured Israeli soldier as a

pawn to employ its enormous military might and terrorize an entire people.

With the bombing of civilian targets in Lebanon, Israel threatens to

escalate the current crisis into a regional war, with potentially devastating consequences

for people throughout the region.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza, already dire from 39 years of occupation, and a

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recent Israeli blockade of basic supplies, is now desperate. Israel's bombing of power

stations and bridges and cutting off fuel supplies in Gaza deprives people of electricity,

refrigeration, pumped drinking water, and sewage disposal. The relentless and deadly

attacks by the Israeli military are compounded by the threat of epidemics and starvation.

Presenting this as an isolated hostage-taking incident ignores Israel's

regular abduction of Palestinians from their homes. Israel holds over 9,000

Palestinians in prison, including almost 400 children. Thousands of these

prisoners are held in "administrative detention" without charges or trial.

They too need to be returned to their families.

With the recent arrest of 64 members of the Palestinian Parliament and many

members of the Palestinian cabinet, Israel is also using this opportunity to

wage an assault on Palestinian democracy. All of this is being done with

diplomatic support and $3 billion in tax-funded annual aid to Israel from

the U.S. government.

As Jews, we cannot and will not remain observers of crimes committed in our

name. We call on other Jews and all people who believe in justice and peace

to take a principled stand against this brutality.

Here's what you can do.

SUPPORT ISRAELIS protesting against their government's destructive actions:

Gush Shalom (zope.gush-shalom.org), Israeli Committee Against House

Demolitions (www.ICAHD.org <
http://www.icahd.org/> ), New Profile(www.newprofile.org <http://www.newprofile.org/> ).

WRITE TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES to demand that the US government stop

funding Israel's war crimes and act to achieve an immediate ceasefire.

MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD! JOIN WITH US TO PROTEST THE SIEGE OF

GAZA--

Organized by: Break the Silence, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for a Free

Palestine

STOP THE US/ISRAEL ATTACKS ON GAZA NOW! NO WAR ON LEBANON

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