10.28.2004

Emily — More on Joseph Massad

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Here is what the Zionists on Columbia campus are trying to do to
Professor Joseph Massad. It is unbelievable! And of course in typical
Democrat style, U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-Queens) called
for the University administrators to fire Massad……
Here are some more articles on the issue:
http://www.nysun.com/article/3452
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ideas_opinions/story/244430p-209482c.html
http://www.nysun.com/article/3602
http://www.nysun.com/article/3639
Film Accuses MEALAC Professors of Anti-Semitism
David Project Documentary Is Latest Event in Series of Controversies
Surrounding Middle East Studies; Students Featured Allege
Discrimination
By Megan Greenwell
Spectator Staff Writer
October 27, 2004
A film produced by a Boston-based Zionist group alleges that Columbia
professors discriminated against Israeli students or those who defended
Israel’s right to exist.
The David Project, a non-profit organization that aims to “promote a
fair and honest understanding of the Middle East conflict,” according
to its president, created the film after meeting with students who said
they had been intimidated by professors in Columbia’s Middle East and
Asian Languages and Cultures department. The film has reignited
controversy surrounding professors of Middle East studies at Columbia,
many of whom have long faced charges of voicing anti-Semitic and
anti-American sentiments. Most recently, the University administration
was widely criticized for accepting a $200,000 gift from the United
Arab Emirates to fund the Edward Said chair in Middle East studies that
professor Rashid Khalidi now holds.
The president of The David Project, Charles Jacobs, said the new film
was intended to alert Columbia administrators to the issue of
anti-Semitism on campus and was not meant to be shown to students or
the media. But the group was forced to take the project public, Jacobs
said, after Barnard College President Judith Shapiro mentioned it in a
speech last week. Shapiro and University Provost Alan Brinkley had seen
the film in a special screening by David Project leaders.
“I was astonished by the stories I heard from students,” Jacobs said.
“It was motivated in part because there was no clear way that students
felt they could be protected if they spoke out.” One professor featured
in the film is assistant professor Joseph Massad, a Jordanian native
whose characterization of Israel as a racist state has brought frequent
allegations of anti-Semitism. Massad has repeatedly maintained that he
is not anti-Semitic, writing in an Egyptian magazine in 2003 that
“Israel is a racist state not because of Jewish nationalism but because
of its legally institutionalised racism where only Jews (not Israelis)
have rights and privileges based on their national belonging.”
Massad was unavailable for comment yesterday, citing a full course load
and an evening meeting.
In the David Project documentary, which was screened for interested
students last night and is scheduled to be shown at a press conference
this morning, students say they were belittled by Massad and other
professors for expressing pro-Israel views. According to Jacobs, former
School of General Studies student Tomy Schoenfeld says Massad refused
to listen to him after learning he was an Israeli native and had served
in the Israeli Air Force. Schoenfeld said Massad asked him “how many
Palestinians have you killed?” and would not allow him to speak when he
declined to answer.
University President Lee Bollinger, who has not seen the film, called a
special deans’ meeting Monday to discuss the issues raised by The David
Project and the students alleging discrimination. Bollinger said that
cases of intimidation would be fully investigated by Columbia
administrators, but that to his knowledge no student had formally come
forward to register a complaint about any of the professors featured in
the film.
“I am very disturbed by these allegations, but I don’t know that they
are true,” he said. “If they are true we take them very seriously.”
But Ariel Beery, GS ’05 and a student interviewed for the film, said
students were unable to file complaints because of fears that they
would be discriminated against by the department chair or other
professors. Beery, who has not taken a class with Massad, said that
several people told him about negative experiences with professors and
said that they felt uncomfortable going to department chair Hamid
Dabashi because his political beliefs align with those of other members
of the department.
“There has to be an anonymous way to lodge a complaint,” Beery said.
“For example, you can’t go to Hamid Dabashi with a complaint about
[MEALAC professor] George Saliba.”
Though few people affiliated with Columbia have seen the documentary,
an series of articles condemning the department in conservative
newspaper The New York Sun late last week alerted several people to the
film. The Sun, which has championed Zionist causes since it was reborn
in 2002, also called for Massad to be fired in an editorial.
On Monday, U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-Queens) also called
for University administrators to fire Massad. In a letter addressed to
Bollinger, Weiner wrote that by not disciplining the professor,
Columbia would “enhance the public perception that it is condones
anti-Semitism.”
Since The Sun began its campaign, Massad has received angry letters,
including one from Columbia associate clinical professor of medicine
Moshe Rubin. An e-mail from Rubin forwarded to Spectator by Massad
read, “Go back to Arab land where Jew hating is condoned. Get the hell
out of America. You are a disgrace and a pathetic typical Arab liar.”
This week, former colleagues of Massad from his Ph.D program at
Columbia have created an online petition to support him, calling him a
courageous public intellectual who has been unafraid to speak his mind
after Sept. 11, 2001. As of last night the petition had 600 signatures,
several of which were from other Columbia professors.