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At the Center of an Academic Storm, a Lesson in Calm

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Article/book #: 16419
Title: At the Center of an Academic Storm, a Lesson in Calm
By: Robin Finn  
Published in: The New York Times
Date of issue: Friday, 8 April 2005
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:
Commentary (by JB):

See the photograph that accompanied this article in the New York Times, showing the appearance that is so discussed in the article.

IF intimidation, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, Joseph A. Massad, the Columbia University professor implicated last week by a faculty panel investigating charges of intimidation of students by pro-Palestinian professors, is apparently on his best behavior as he sits on his spotless microsuede sofa a stone's throw from the campus where his classroom conduct has been denounced as "inappropriate." And where he has received hate e-mail, including this advice from a fellow faculty member: "Go back to Arab land where Jew hating is condoned. You are a disgrace and a pathetic typical Arab liar."

Not a nice thing to say to a Christian fellow who began holding Seders as an undergraduate in Albuquerque (he had a Jewish roommate).

Who's intimidating whom here? Or, to borrow the title of an article Professor Massad wrote for Al-Ahram Weekly as the campus brouhaha reached a boiling point, spurred by "Columbia Unbecoming," a film produced in Boston by the pro-Israel David Project: "Semites and Anti-Semites, That Is the Question." Sort of.

According to Professor Massad, any self-respecting scholar of Middle East studies knows that "Israel is the party most responsible for the oppression of the Palestinian people." He has issues with the Palestinian national movement, too.

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