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


Hamas merely acting like the Black Panthers did in the U.S.

A pair of University of Arizona education professors was recorded telling a “Cultural Pluralism for Young Children” class that Hamas is not comprised of terrorists, but is a “resistance” group merely opposed to Zionism.

Rebecca Lopez and Rebecca Zapien (pictured), both of whom teach “teaching, learning & sociocultural studies,” initially appear to differ somewhat in their views in the audio obtained by the X account Israel War Room.

But not for long.

One of them concedes that Hamas representatives appear to be “like, speaking, like very antisemitic,” but is countered by her peer who says “they’re probably anti-Zionist, which, again, is about the Israeli state.”

“Antisemitism,” the second professor continues, “is different than being anti-Zionist.”

The first professor then claims the Hamas “movement” is about how Israel and the Zionists “have been taking away and taking away and blockading [Palestinians] so that they’re not allowed to leave, and they’re tired of that.”

She goes on to say it is “so exhausting” for Palestinians “to be constantly treated like crap, like you don’t matter,” and that Hamas is merely “responding” to this — much like the Black Panthers did in the U.S. during the civil rights struggle of 60-plus years ago.

This professor then states Hamas “doesn’t represent the Palestinian people” as they are “not elected officials.” (In fact, they are.) She says she “thinks [she] thought [Hamas] was a terrorist group” because people “just say” so, and her peer notes that “language matters.”

MORE: The past week at Penn: antisemitic projections on campus buildings, theft of Israeli flag

Despite having the ability to target its weapons, Israel puts “churches, shelters, schools [and] hospitals” in its crosshairs, the first professor continues. The targeting “seems to be very intentional and deliberate,” she says.

After a student in the class says Zionists are “almost as cruel as Nazis” and another student objects, one professor jumps in to say “genocide is awful” and that the “part that’s really brutal to think about is that there have been many holocausts” … but “we’re only taught about World War II.”

One professor eventually informs the class what they can do to support the Palestinian cause: engage in boycotts (she specifically mentions the BDS — Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions — movement), contact various representatives and organizations, and participate in marches.

In an email sent to The College Fix, U. Arizona Director of Media Relations Nick Prevenas (he/him/his pronouns) said “The college and university will determine how to proceed after they have completed an ongoing investigation. In the meantime, alternative instructors will be taking on responsibilities for the course in question.”

On her personal website, Lopez includes the “Mahatma Ghandi” [sic] quote “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

According to Ballotpedia, Zapien last year ran unsuccessfully for an at-large Tucson Unified School District school board seat. In 2020 she penned an op-ed blasting the district for having police, aka School Resource Officers, in its schools.

“Stop funding the false and dangerous narrative that SROs are safe for our brown and black youth,” she wrote. “Stop participating in the school-to-prison pipeline and start practicing transformative justice.”

MORE: American U. protest: Faculty should ‘connect’ Palestinians’ plight to their coursework

UPDATE: The story was edited to include a statement from U. Arizona.

IMAGE: Israel War Room/X

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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.