Scapegoated at Columbia

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Article/book #: 16731
Title: Scapegoated at Columbia
By: Monique Dols  
Published in: CounterPunch
Date of issue: Monday, 11 April 2005
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:
Commentary

Abstract:

»An investigation into alleged anti-Semitism in an academic department at New York's Columbia University has rejected bogus charges made by pro-Israel students – but made a scapegoat of left-wing professor Joseph Massad. The report, released March 31, clears faculty in the Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) Department of charges of anti-Semitism and finds that there has been no systematic intimidation of Jewish students – a conclusion that unbiased outside observers could have reached months ago. However, the report singles out Massad – despite weak and contradictory evidence – for allegedly making a hostile statement to a Jewish student.«

»In Massad's testimony to the committee, he closely details Bollinger's damaging role in the investigation. According to Massad, Bollinger's actions "emboldened those engaged in the campaign to intimidate me and would confirm to the public that the allegations against me are in fact true, at least, as far as he was concerned. That the Columbia University administration acted as a collaborator with the witch-hunters instead of defending me and offering itself as a refuge from right-wing McCarthyism has been a cause of grave personal and professional disappointment to me.
"I am utterly disillusioned with a university administration that treats its faculty with such contempt and am hoping against hope that the faculty will rise to the task before them and force President Bollinger to reverse this perilous course on which he has taken Columbia's faculty and students. The major goal of the witch-hunters is to destroy the institution of the university in general. I am merely the entry point for their political project."«

»There is a concerted campaign to get Massad fired by a number of defenders of Israel, who are threatened by his scholarship and his support for a one-state solution. Bollinger's actions – and the findings of the investigation – give ammunition to the campaign to fire Massad. "This is a part of a nationwide campaign to chill any kind of discourse that interrupts American foreign policy, including Israel and Palestine," Nader Uthman, a teaching assistant who testified to the investigative committee on Massad's behalf, said in a radio interview. "And we're seeing this all over the country."«











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