London U moves Hebrew program from Jerusalem to Haifa

Simon Wiesenthal Center claimed the move was because the school felt Jerusalem is on "occupied territory." The school said their contract ended.

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE of London was home to a violent student protest in 2016 against an event featuring Israeli activist Hen Mazzig (photo credit: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS)
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE of London was home to a violent student protest in 2016 against an event featuring Israeli activist Hen Mazzig
(photo credit: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS)
A London University has moved its contract for its study abroad program from the Hebrew University to Haifa University after its contract ran out. However, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) first accused the school of making the switch for ideological reasons.

London University's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) "is committed to retain the Year Abroad as part of Hebrew pathway, and decisions on this matter are taken on academic considerations," a statement by the school read. "Following the end of the agreement with the Hebrew University, the convenors and the department took the decision to sign a new agreement with Haifa University, based on considerations regarding the structure of the programme and student experience/welfare."

SOAS stated that it will continue with Haifa University as its provider for the program in order to structure and handle issues such as student welfare better, as well as providing a year abroad for Hebrew students for the next five years. SOAS concluded its response by reiterating its commitment to teaching Hebrew and Jewish culture in various programs that are continuing to be developed.
Earlier, SWC claimed that the school made the choice to switch Israeli partners because the Hebrew University, which is located in Jerusalem, is on "occupied territory," according to a statement from SWC.
 
The 'Annual Hebrew Program' covers various subjects regarding Israel, including the Hebrew language, with modules including "Introduction to Israeli culture," "History of Zionism," and "Literatures of the Near and Middle East."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, slammed SOAS's Academic Board for the termination of the program in a letter to United Kingdom Secretary of State for Education, Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson.
“Even the European Union has recognized that, from Israel’s 1948 Independence until the 1967 Six Days War, the HUJ original campus was always part of Israel, within the 1967 lines,” Samuels wrote.
 
Sources at SOAS claimed that the cancellation came about due to pressure from extreme left pro-Palestinian activists, according to the Wiesenthal Center statement.
Two Professors of the SOAS Jewish Studies department, allegedly, suggested that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem be replaced by either Bir Zeit or Al Quds Universities, situated in the Palestinian territories, where Hebrew is taught as a foreign language. "Not a joke!”, the SWC stated, adding,"To study Hebrew in the Palestinian territories is akin to learning Turkish in Kurdistan, or Amharic in Eritrea."
“We have brought this atmosphere of hate to the attention of the UK Secretary of State for Education, to seek possible measures to redeem a top London University... Hate is not freedom of expression!” Samuels said.