Columbia Profs Smeared as Anti-Semites

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Article/book #: 10502
Title: Columbia Profs Smeared as Anti-Semites
By: Adam Federman  
Published in: CounterPunch
Date of issue: Tuesday, 9 November 2004
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:
Commentary

Abstract:

»Charges of anti-Semitism against professors in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) at Columbia University, are being made by a Zionist organization that claims to promote, "a fair and honest understanding of the Middle East Conflict." The David Project, a Boston based organization created in 2002, "in response to the growing ideological assault on Israel," is using a documentary film, "Columbia Unbecoming," to argue that anti-Semitism on American college campuses is growing.
The film, originally shown only to administrators and slowly leaked to the press, including the conservative and rabidly pro-Israel New York Sun, has led to calls from Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) and others, for the firing of one of the Departments junior non-tenured professors, Joseph Massad. Shortly after the allegations in the film were publicized, Massad received an email from Columbia associate clinical professor of medicine Moshe Rubin, telling him to, "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."
Students in the film argue that they have been harassed and intimidated for having pro-Israel positions and claim that the department in general is unbalanced and biased. Yet, since the controversy has erupted, many Jewish students have come forward to support the professors under attack and the department in general, even if they do not agree with their politics.«

»The department, which encompasses the study of over one billion South Asians, over 300 million Arabs, tens of millions of Turks, Kurds, Armenians, and six million Israelis, five million of whom are Jewish, has three full time professors covering Israel and Hebrew, four full time professors covering the Arab World, and two full-time professors, who cover South Asia. In addition, Columbia is home to the Center for Israel and Jewish Studies and has six endowed chairs in Jewish Studies. A seventh is being established after pro Israel groups launched a campaign against the only chair in modern Arab Studies established two years ago.«

»President Bollinger, in response to the film, has agreed to launch an investigation. But the David Project has already accomplished its primary goal, equating criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Semitism and condemning professors who speak out against the Israeli occupation.«











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