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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Anti-Israel professor removed from Northeastern faculty list

Published: November 2, 2012
Section: News

A political science and Middle Eastern studies professor has been removed from the list of faculty at Northeastern University after a video made by Boston-based political organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) revealed anti-Israel views expressed in his classroom.
Professor Denis Sullivan, a tenured professor who is still director of Northeastern’s Middle East Center for Peace, Culture and Development, is no longer listed as a Jewish Studies faculty member, according to Charles Jacobs, president of APT.

The 32-minute video, meant to expose rampant anti-Semitism at Northeastern, has already led to the removal of four professors from the university faculty. It showed a clip of Sullivan praising Hamas, listed by the United States as a “foreign terrorist organization” and one of Israel’s most active opposers, for “good health care and kindergartens.”

Jason Pressburg, former director of Israel programs at Northeastern University Hillel, said in the video that many of Sullivan’s students “tell me all the time about the incredible bias that he has and he will disagree with them and give them a bad grade because of it,” which constitutes an abuse of academic power. Although Sullivan claims to be unbiased, his views are “vehemently anti-Israel,” according to Pressburg.

Sullivan did not respond to an email seeking comment this week.

At Brandeis, students and faculty had a variety of opinions about the issue. Zahava Guz ’15, a board member of Brandeis Zionist Alliance (BZA), is “glad something is being done to raise awareness of the situation and to try to put an end to it.” She believes that any more drastic actions would have increased his anger and been counterproductive.

One of the required readings for Sullivan’s courses was the pro-Palestinian scholarly work “Al Haq Position Paper: Sixty Years of Nakba: Israel’s Continued Policy of Forcible Displacement,” according to the video.

Sullivan also led a school-sponsored trip to Cairo where he only introduced his students to Arab political and religious leaders, which students said provided a one-sided view of the conflict, according to Jacobs.

Jacobs wrote in an op-ed that Sullivan’s “lectures, syllabi, curricula and invited guests are shown to be clearly designed to poison the minds of students against the Jewish state.”

“It seems clear that Professor Sullivan has built his department to inculcate students with a hostile and demonized view of the Jewish state, with repeated comparisons to the Nazis,” Jacobs said. “Indeed, viewers will see that some of the core themes promoted in his courses are plainly anti-Semitic, and are outright lies.”