San Diego State replaces Palestine map

San Diego State University agreed to replace a map from an Arabic language course that excluded Israel and instead labeled all of the Jewish state’s territory as “Palestine.”

Several students sought the assistance of the pro-Israel group StandWithUs following the appearance of the map in professor Ghassan Zakaria’s Arabic 101 class.

“With no context given to the students about the map, no explanation and no discussion to frame the reasons for why that particular map was being used — the students were unsure of how to handle the situation,” Nicole Bernstein, regional director of StandWithUs San Diego, wrote in an email.

Ghada Osman, chair of the linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern languages department, wrote to concerned community members that Zakaria would replace the map with one that identifies Israel.

“Prof. Zakaria explained [to me] that the reason that he utilized the label ‘Palestine’ was because this map was supposed to reflect the view of Arabic-speakers in the region,” Osman wrote. “After assigning the map, Prof. Zakaria’s aim was then to have students get into groups and research the political developments of each area on the map, with the assumption that this would lead to a discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history of the state of Israel. After our conversation, Prof. Zakaria agreed that it would be more appropriate to discuss the context of the assignment at the outset.” —