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‘Propaganda’: CUNY College to Give Students Credit for Attending Anti-Israel Film Event

Borough of Manhattan Community College will give students a credit for attending a screening of an anti-Israel film during its “Palestinian Solidarity” series.
Courtesy of Avraham Goldstein
Courtesy of Avraham Goldstein

By: Kate Anderson, Daily Caller News Foundation

A New York community college is offering students one credit for their degree if they attend a screening of an anti-Israel film on March 31, according to an event page.

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BCCM) has been hosting a “Palestinian Solidarity” series throughout the month of March, according to the school’s website. BCCM’s Social Justice and Equity Center (SJEC) is hosting an event on March 31 where students can watch the Netflix film Farha, which has been heavily criticized for its portrayal of the Israel-Palestine conflict and obtain one credit for their degree, according to the event page.

“We will be ending our Palestinian Solidarity Series with a movie,” the event description read. “Join us as we educate ourselves about the Palestinian struggle by watching Farha, a film that depicts the Palestinian diaspora through the lens of a 14-year-old girl. No snacks will be provided in observance of Ramadan, but students are welcome to bring their own.”

Farha depicts Israel’s day of independence as the Nakba, which is Arabic for “catastrophe,” and follows the life of a Palestinian family that is eventually brutally murdered by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), according to the St. Louis Jewish Light. Not long after the film’s release, Israeli officials denounced the project for its portrayal of the IDF.

“To me, it is ridiculous that Netflix chose to release a film whose entire purpose is inciting mockery against IDF soldiers,” Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli media, according to the St. Louis Jewish Light.

From March 1 to April 3, the center is hosting a “Visual Timeline of Occupied Palestinian Land” with posters and graphics displaying the timeline of Palestinian history and the “longest military occupation in history,” according to the event page. Posters along the timeline discuss several historical events and groups including the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which was considered to be a terrorist organization by the U.S. until 1991 despite continuing to engage in terrorist attacks via the Palestinian Authority, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The posters make no mention of PLO’s terror attacks, referring to the group’s mission as an effort to “represent the Palestinian people and their objectives and to liberate Palestine from Israeli control,” according to pictures obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Other posters describe Hamas, a U.S., and Israeli-designated terrorist organization, as an effort to “[establish] an Islamic society in historic Palestine,” also without mentioning the group’s terrorist attacks against Israel.

Avraham Goldstein, an assistant professor of Mathematics at BMCC, told the DCNF that the college uses “official credits” to attract students who would not otherwise attend.

“I think that the vast majority of the students are not involved in the Middle-East affairs and not really interested in the ‘Israeli-Arab conflict,’” Goldstein said. “Thus, the University lures them to get involved (and get brainwashed and then get themselves politically active in the anti-Israeli campaigns) by offering them these official credits.”

Another Associate Professor of Mathematics, Jenna Hirsch, told the DCNF that she confronted several staff members about the timeline display and asked if anyone had expressed concern about the exhibit, to which Hirsch was told that a “student came in really distressed about it.”

“I’m tired of Jewish and Israeli students at CUNY being bombarded with antisemitic and anti-Zionist propaganda,” Hirsch said. “I have never seen anything like this at BMCC, and it breaks my heart that our students have to see this.”

Goldstein also said that the event website has been taken down off the official university site and the displays have been removed despite the event being set to run for several more weeks. The university and SJEC did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

Earlier this month on March 7, students were invited to attend another event titled “Let’s Talk Palestine” with Palestinian activist Maryam Shuaib to discuss “the structure of apartheid to the international impact of Israel’s jurisdiction,” according to the event page.

Goldstein told the DCNF that “there is no discussion going on” because when a “pro-Israel person” tries to talk it does not end well.

“It concerns me because there is a clear systematics smear campaign, which goes on more and more campuses of American Universities and Colleges,” Goldstein said. “Somehow, it became ‘okay’ to present the PLO’s side of the story, and not permit any other sides to talk. In the past 3-4 years the number of anti-Semitic incidents on various CUNY campuses rose dramatically (and even the Administration of CUNY and the pro-BDS CUNY union PSC-CUNY both have officially acknowledged this), and I believe that this rise is a direct result of all these Israel-bashing campaigns, in which Israelis and ‘Zionists’ are accused of various horrendous crimes and are not permitted open their mouth to expose these libels.”

Related Story: ‘Racism and Oppression’: Anti-Israel Activists Hold Event at CUNY in Protest of University’s Antisemitism Investigation

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