Friday, October 29, 2004


more Joseph Massad

Here are three more articles on the situation of Joseph Massad at Columbia University.

From Ha'aretz:
A Boston-based pro-Israel organization named The David Project recently produced a documentary in which Jewish students allege they were discriminated against by Massad and other Columbia professors. The film was screened on Wednesday in Jerusalem for participants of the Global Anti-Semitism Forum, headed by Minister Natan Sharansky. Columbia administrators had seen the film several days earlier.
From the New York Times:
The producers have shown it to several New York journalists this week....

One professor in the Middle East and Asian languages and cultures department mentioned in the documentary, Joseph A. Massad, said yesterday that he had not seen it but had read press descriptions of it.
It is quite troubling to me that the film has been shown to Columbia administrators, New York journalists, participants of the Global Anti-Semitism Forum in Jerusalem, but yet Joseph Massad has not seen it. If the film were available to the public, that would be one thing, but it isn't. And if the film is going to be show to a select few, here's who that few should be: Columbia administrators and Joseph Massad.

There is also an interesting article about the situation in the Jewish Week that throws a bit of a new light on the situation (as compared with the NY Sun, NYTimes, and Ha'aretz pieces).
But in interviews with four of the seven students who appear in the film, and more than two dozen others — mostly Israeli or American Jewish students who attended MEALAC classes over the last five years — a much different picture emerges than the one seemingly portrayed on screen.

The students most familiar with the MEALAC department, while noting that some professors are highly critical of Israel and its policies, defended the teachers as well within the bounds of academic give-and-take.

Most of the complaints on campus appear to be from pro-Israel activist students not in the MEALAC program, raising questions of where anti-Israel bias — which clearly unsettles some students — ends and intimidation begins, and who can best assess the situation.
It continues with quotes from students of Massad and a few quotes from Massad himself. Also this:
Since news of the film was made public, Massad has received several pieces of hate mail, some of which he forwarded to The Jewish Week, including one from a fellow Columbia professor saying, “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.”
Now I seem to think that if anybody is going to get fired from Columbia for their racist views, the author of this kind of racist bullshit should be gone (but maybe that's just me). To sign a petition in support of Joseph Massad's freedom to be subject to the same guidelines and procedures as the rest of Columbia University (and not those imposed by the media or politicians), there is a petition here. On a more humorous note, it seems a spammer has taken to signing the petition, including once with the name "Litter B. Birmingham." I know my Aunt Deb would appreciate that.

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