In a breakout session of the “Academic Boycott of Israel” initiative, Amy Kaplan, professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania spoke about how teachers can most effectively demonize Israel in every classroom as well as the "positive aspects" of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
A member of the audience asked Kaplan how teachers could incorporate ways of de-legitimizing Israel “especially, I guess, when the course is not dealing directly with material that has to do with Palestine?”
Kaplan responded by saying that if a course had to do with prisons, for example, one could teach a course in which he or she “included prison as a really, really big thing, not only in the political life of Palestinians, but also in their literature and in their poetry.”
She said this would be “an ideal way” of denigrating Israel and incorporating BDS into the course objectives.
She went on to state, “you take a thematic course and you bring in themes from this issue… And, literature is a really great way to teach students about what’s going on- students who think they know they have an ideological line and then they read, you know, they read Darwish, they read, you know, The Pessoptimist and it opens up a whole new world.”
Kaplan references the author Mahmoud Dariwsh and the novel The Pessoptimist, as two sources teachers can utilize in order to propagate an anti-Israel ideology, even in courses that are completely unrelated to the subject matter at hand.
Thus, teachers take a course, that was originally unintended to focus on the ‘plight of the Palestinian people’ and turn it into another way of casting Israel as an "oppressor" and international pariah.
Such efforts, on behalf of the BDS movement, are intended to subliminally instill an anti-Israel ideology into the social consciousness of an unsuspecting reading public and cannot be tolerated.