A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

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A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

Mt. SAC professor testifies in U.S. Congressional Subcommittee about antisemitism

Dafna Golden claims her classes were boycotted, considering moving to Israel
Mt.+SAC+Professor+Dafna+Golden+testifying+about+anti-semitism+in+education+at+the+Workplace+Protections+Subcommittee+Hearing.+
Courtesy from Dafna Golden
Mt. SAC Professor Dafna Golden testifying about anti-semitism in education at the Workplace Protections Subcommittee Hearing.

Mt. SAC Professor Dafna Golden testified to the Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce regarding workplace antisemitism on college campuses on June 26 as a witness to antisemitism on Mt. SAC’s campus.

Dafna Golden, 49, Mt. SAC geography professor for 23 years and vocally pro-Israel on campus, said that she has faced anti-Semitic harassment on Mt. SAC’s campus which has made her feel alienated from her peers and wishes to transition outside of academia.

“I went from being deeply engaged and enthusiastic to feeling alienated and counting the days until retirement,” Golden said. “… it feels unbearable to continue to teach at Mt. SAC…”

In response to Golden’s recount on her days at Mt. SAC, Representative Mary Miller said that Golden’s testimony showed a “clear violation of Title 7” from the part of the college.

Golden further elaborated on her experience in an interview, telling a story of how her usual introduction that included how she used to live at a farm in Israel to new students became a hostile environment for her.

“Recently, during this introduction, a student interrupted me labeling Israel as a colonialist, genocidal country,” Golden said. “It’s statements like that that feel like a personal attack and a clear crossing into antisemitism.”

During the comments section of the testimony, Golden said that the college refused to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. This definition includes the critique of Israel’s behavior to be anti-Semitic, which 128 scholars led by Jewish academics around the world, called “highly controversial and contested.”

One point Golden said during her testimony was regarding 64-year-old Mt. SAC history professor Raul Chavez’s proposed showing of the film, “Occupation of the American Mind” to highlight parallels between Palestinians and Native Americans.

“The film serves no academic purpose,” Golden said. “It is propaganda, pure and simple; better suited for a class as an example of hate speech or antisemitism.”

The film is about Israeli officials and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu using public relations and appeals to convince American politicians to support Israel’s military operations and shape the American media landscape to favor Israel.

Chavez rebuked Golden’s portrayal of the film.

“All the people that participated in the ‘Occupation of the American Mind’ are well respected academicians,” Chavez said. “In the American field and in the Israeli world they’re respected; Dafna is just inventing facts.”

After commenting on the perception of the film, Golden testified that the professor who proposed to the Equity Center the film was also documented to have done a Nazi salute in class by a Jewish student. She did not name Chavez in her testimony, but later confirmed that he was the subject of the accusation.

“The Nazi salute never took place,” Chavez said. “I’ve never used a Nazi salute. They’re full of shit.”

Golden admitted in her testimony that the student’s accusation was found unsubstantiated by the college’s Human Resources because the student did not want to come out with a statement.

Golden also testified that students declared a boycott to her classes. After, in the Spring 2024 semester, her singular class on campus was canceled. This anecdote was later used by Miller, who labeled the boycott as “anti-Semitic harassment.”

“They said that they would not take my class because they’re afraid of me because they think I support genocide,” Golden said. “Then, in the spring, my single on-campus class didn’t fill.”

However, Golden casted doubt that the class’ cancellation was mainly due to a boycott. “It’s hard to say what caused it,” Golden added. “There’s a lot of things that go into course enrollment. There’s campus-wide reasons for low enrollment in on-campus classes, but effectively not having a campus presence did affect a lot of professional relationships.”

In spring 2024 alone, over 500 classes were canceled by Mt. SAC that affected many professors’ full-time status and student schedules. The situation led to the Mt. SAC Faculty Association to protest.

However, Joseph Fasheh Jr., a political science major and student at Mt. SAC said that he chose not to take Golden’s geography class because of her reputation on campus.

“I definitely avoided the class as a Palestinian student despite my love for geography,” Fafseh stated. “I wouldn’t say I told anyone to boycott, nor did I notice any concerted effort to cancel her classes.”

All of what Golden mentioned and other reasons have led her to transition away from academia and move to Israel. In an interview with SAC Media, she explains how her disagreement with the theories of social justice and critical race theory prevalent in academic curriculum is a factor in why she wishes to move out of academia.

“I think that the current ideology that’s being taught on campus, which is basically social justice and critical race theory, which has a very laudable goal of opposing racism and white supremacy,” Golden said. “But it relies on the narrative of greed, appropriation, privilege and hidden power.”

“And all of those kinds of ideas are familiar anti-Jewish conspiracy theories,” Golden added.

The one hour and 30 minute committee meeting streamed on YouTube was sparked by Gaza Solidarity encampments sprouting across the U.S.

For Golden, she intends to move to Israel as soon as her application to immigrate that she submitted on Oct. 8 is approved.

 

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About the Contributor
Adam Young
Adam Young, Editor in Chief
Adam Le Young is the Editor in Chief. He has been pursuing journalism since 2022. Adam likes covering local news as well as being vocal on his various, polarizing opinions. He is interested in Dungeons and Dragons as well as keeping up with politics.   Email: [email protected]

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    ThomasJul 1, 2024 at 6:49 pm

    Good riddance. Baseless claims of antisemitism against much needed discussion of apartheid and racism and how things intersect across other colonized places. Can’t trust someone whose brain completely breaks day one after October 7th and decides to move to Israel. You know who can’t return there on a whim? Palestinians in Palestine and in the diaspora.

    Reply
    • S

      SarahJul 5, 2024 at 11:01 am

      There is something deeply disturbed about anyone whose brain didn’t “break” along with their heart on Oct 7th. Who could even wrap their head around thousands of Nukbah terrorists followed by civilians coming into Israel to slaughter, rape and kidnap innocent people? Who could fathom people evil enough to kidnap babies and holocaust survivors and hold them to this day! And then who can believe that academics and intellectuals would justify and support them?

      Bravo to Dafna for having the courage to go to Congress!

      Reply