[R-G] As`ad Abukhalil's Petition for Joseph Massad and Academic Freedom
furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Mon Oct 25 20:32:22 MDT 2004
<blockquote>Sunday, October 24, 2004
To people around the world, please read and sign this petition
<http://www.petitiononline.com/jmassad/petition.html> in support of
academic freedoms. I urge you not because it deals with a close
friend of mine (Joseph Massad) but because he is being subjected to a
very nasty and sinister campaign by Zionist hoodlums. A sleazy member
of Congress from New York has even called on the president of
Columbia University to "fire" him. Joseph has written against
anti-Semitism and anti-Semites in Arabic and English, and those
hoodlums are trying to creat a caricature of Joseph that has no
relation to reality. . . .
<blockquote>Pro-Israeli groups pressure Columbia University
Calls for sacking of Palestinian professor mount in wake of underground film
By Jim Quilty
Daily Star staff
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
BEIRUT: Pro-Israeli groups in New York have stepped-up a campaign
against Columbia University's Department of Middle East and Asian
Languages and Cultures, complaining of its alleged strong
anti-Israeli bias. At the center of the controversy is Joseph Massad,
a Jordanian-born Palestinian who teaches politics and intellectual
The far-right Pro-Israeli newspaper The New York Sun broke a story on
Oct. 20 that there existed an underground film in which university
students and alumni complain that they felt their academic careers
were threatened because they expressed pro-Israeli positions.
Produced by a two-year-old Israel-advocacy group calling itself the
David Project, the film has yet to be distributed to the public. It
seems a small audience of Columbia administrators - including Barnard
College president, Judith Shapiro, and Columbia provost, Alan
Brinkley - received a private screening. The Boston-based group has
announced that it has sent a copy to Simon Klarfeld, head of the
Hillel chapter of Columbia and Barnard, who plans to screen it for
the organization's board of directors in November.
The article quoted one Columbia student, Ariel Beery, as remarking,
"it is shocking to see blatant use of racial stereotypes by
professors and intimidation tactics ... to push a distinct
ideological line ..." Beery is a frequent contributor to Daniel
Pipe's "Campus Watch," the neoconservative Web site dedicated to
"monitoring Middle East studies on campus."
Based on its interviews with someone who claims to have seen the
film, The Sun reported that Massad is one of its most-discussed
scholars. The Sun accuses Massad - a tenure-track professor and one
of the eight academics that inspired Campus Watch - is accused of
likening Israel to Nazi Germany and saying Israel has no right to
exist as a Jewish state.
It seems the film quotes Columbia alumni and Israeli air force
veteran Tom Schoenfeld recalling having attended a lecture by Massad
and trying to ask the lecturer a question. Apparently, Schoenfeld
told The Sun, he prefaced the remark by informing Massad that he was
Israeli. He said Massad asked him if he'd served in the Israeli Army.
He said Massad wouldn't allow him to ask the question until he told
him how many Palestinians he'd killed.
The plot thickened when The Sun reported on Oct. 22 that New York
State Congressman Anthony Weiner, a Democrat representing Brooklyn
and Queens, wrote a letter to Columbia president, Lee Bollinger,
calling for Massad's dismissal.
Weiner, who is toying with running for mayor, told The Sun he
supports academic freedom but said: "There has been a line ...
crossed here between the search of knowledge and the expression of
hate ... Dressing it up as intellectual freedom doesn't change it
from what it is."
In 2003, in fact, Bollinger convened a committee of Columbia
professors devoted to drawing a more distinct line between academic
expression and political activism. He told the New York Daily News
that the committee found no evidence, indeed no claims, of classroom
bias or intimidation.
Columbia is currently raising money for an endowed professorship in
Israeli studies to compensate for what Bollinger has called a lack of
contemporary Israel scholarship at the school.
The university has been under harsh criticism recently for having
accepted some $200,000 from the UAE, to help finance a chair named
for the late literature professor and Palestinian activist Edward
Said. The chair's donors also included some prominent Jewish
philanthropists - The Hauser Foundation, for instance, and Jean
* Critical Montages: <http://montages.blogspot.com/>
* Greens for Nader: <http://greensfornader.net/>
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* OSU-GESO: <http://www.osu-geso.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus:
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>
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