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Professors who said Hamas just a ‘resistance’ group reinstated after suspension, protests

Petition claims recording of their comments was ‘selectively edited’

The University of Arizona education professors caught on tape claiming Hamas is merely an anti-Zionist “resistance” group akin the Black Panthers have been reinstated.

This follows the professors’ brief suspensions (with pay) and several student sit-in demonstrations, The Daily Wildcat reports.

Rebecca Lopez and Rebecca Zapien (pictured) said (among other things) that Hamas exists merely as a response to the Palestinians being “exhausted” from “constantly [being] treated like crap, like you don’t matter,” and falsely claimed the group doesn’t represent the Palestinians (they indeed were elected).

The profs also said Israel targets “churches, shelters, schools [and] hospitals” and alleged people are only taught about one Holocaust, that of World War II.

Students affiliated with the College of Education and the United Campus Workers of Arizona organized the sit-ins.

A petition created by the latter claims audio of the professors’ remarks was “selectively edited,” and that the reporting on it led to a “smear campaign,” doxxing, and hate mail.

“The highly unusual move of removing educators from their teaching and service duties without due process sets a dangerous precedent of curtailing academic freedom,” the petition reads. “Academic freedom protects critiques of the Israeli government and should not be reductively equated with antisemitism.”

MORE: U. Arizona professors: Hamas not terrorists, just an anti-Zionist ‘resistance’ group

The sit-ins were held at the College of Education and “demand[ed] the immediate reinstatement” of Lopez and Zapien. College of Education Dean Robert Berry held several discussions with the protesters.

On an Instagram page set up by sit-in organizers, various student testimonies lauding the professors were posted.

“As a Jewish student I did not feel what had been said in class to be antisemitic,” wrote one student. “I have learned more about being an inclusive teacher and understanding my own biases from these professors than I have anyone else.”

“[Lopez and Zapien] showed great courage and strength knowing that there would be differing opinions and beliefs but having an open space to let everyone be heard,” wrote another.

Dean Berry said the College of Education would be hosting several workshops on “deepening [the] understanding of academic freedom,” the teaching of “sensitive subjects” in an “appropriate” and “scholarly” manner, and how to teach the Arab-Israeli conflict “respectfully [and] objectively.”

MORE: Cornell pro-Palestinian activists hold kangaroo court ‘trial’ of school president

IMAGE: Israel War Room/X; UA College of Education Sit In/Instagram

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.