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Sunday, September 07, 2003

Student recounts her class at UC-Berkeley

This morning I arrived to my class in Iraqi Arabic (Arabic15) at UC Berkeley at ten AM. My teacher, Abbas Kadhim, came in a few minutes later. Several students had not yet arrived, so he began chatting with me and the other students that were already present. I mentioned that I had read his quote on Yahoo news the day before. He was quoted as saying: "If you decide not to have relations with anyone who does have anti-Israeli politics or anti-Zionist sentiments, you will never have relations anywhere in the Arab world,". He claimed to me that he had been misquoted and had in fact said that he believed that it would be hard to find anyone in the Arab world who does not oppose Israeli politics, but not Israelis in particular. (By this point, the majority, if not all, of the class had arrived and it was already about half past the hour.)

He then launched into a long speech about how much he loves Jews and Judaism, but he hates Zionism. I asked him how this was possible, and he responded by claiming that Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism, but was invented by European Jews. He claimed that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion serve as an example of Zionist philosophy. I was simply astounded. I concluded that he was joking and asked him, laughing, if he was joking. He responded that he was completely serious. I was astounded, and asked him how he could possibly believe something so absurd. He asserted that everything that Zionists have done so far has progressed exactly according to the Protocols, and that it therefore must be a true document. I could not believe my ears. I asked him again, "Are you sure you believe it was written by Jews?" He answered that he did indeed, although he felt it important to clarify that he only meant "Zionist Jews." I again sought confirmation. I asked him, "You don't believe it was a forgery?" He shot back, laughing, "Who would have forged it, Muslims?" I tried to explain to him that it was forged by the Tsar's secret police, and that it is an established fact. He cut me off dismissively and changed the subject.

This morning my professor lost all academic integrity in my eyes. I have appealed to the university to investigate. I hope the university realizes that they bring shame to their institution by employing such an ignoramus on their teaching staff. I, meanwhile, have a week and a half left in this course. Since this is an intensive course, that means about eighteen more hours in a class taught by someone who gives credibility to anti-Semitic propaganda that cost the lives of thousands of people of my faith. I hope I can pull through.
Check in from time to time at this interesting website, sure to heat up as the Fall semester progresses:

Students for Academic Freedom