Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Columbia University's Anti-Jewish "Conspiracy" Theorist 

From: Campus Watch
Subject: Columbia's Anti-Jewish Conspiracy Theorist
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005

by Alyssa A. Lappen
(Alyssa Lappen wrote this piece for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, which is designed to critique and improve Middle East Studies at North American colleges and universities.)
FrontPage Magazine
April 25, 2005


"There is a new blacklist across the country which is having a chilling effect on campuses everywhere," exclaimed Monique Dols, a student of Columbia University professor Joseph Massad at a April 13 "public service" session at New York City's Cooper Union. Sponsored by the appropriately named group ‘Censoring Thought' the event was a perfect example of how simply paying attention to the abuses of academia has been turned upside down into "censorship."

Flanked by Massad and radical pundit Tariq Ali, Campus Anti-War Network "activist" Dols offered living proof of indoctrination at Columbia. Launching a tirade against the racist "new McCarthyism today," orchestrated by "Washington and Tel Aviv" and directed against Middle Eastern professors, according to Dols, these two omnipotent governments are "afraid" of "a real debate that allows people to make up their own mind when confronted with occupation and dispossession. And today they want to reach in to regulate the terms of the debate in the university." Dols is also a willing participant in Massad's dark fantasies of conspiracy and persecution: Massad is the target of a "systematic attack at Columbia university," she declares, in which "spy rings" infiltrate his classroom—the same spies who hope to decommission Middle East studies everywhere.

When he speaks, Massad unveils more details of the sinister conspiracy. According to him, "right-wing forces" with Zionist "ideological positions" have hijacked "political power and political discourse in this country." Meanwhile, true "scholarship is de-legitimized as ideology" by these "witch hunters." Massad rues that "students with political agendas" began "bringing unannounced, unregistered guests with them to class"; worse, one student soon began circulating a petition to get him fired "on the recommendation of people from outside the university." These upstart students were joined by "two major traditional propagandists, Daniel Pipes and Martin Kramer, who after failing in U.S. academia, excelled as thought policemen." This comment produced much knowing laughter from the appreciative audience.

According to Massad, Columbia's Middle East studies classes are threatened by a vast right-wing campaign cleverly "engineered to cancel out" freedom of thought. Moreover, at the center of recent attacks on those who disagree with U.S. and Israeli foreign policies lies not a concern for truth or classroom decorum and balance, but academic freedom—"and specifically scholarship on Palestine." These witch hunters, Massad says, want us to "live the life of servitude to the state power, as technocrats and as ideologues."

Academic freedom for Massad is being able to freedom to teach without challenge that "Established scholarship enumerates all [Israel's] racist flaws and institutional racist practices" which he says render the Jewish state "a racist state by law." But any disagreement, Massad says, can be safely discarded as Zionist ideology, part of the conspiracy "propped up by the likes of Campus-Watch, the David Project, and the ADL [Anti-Defamation League]," who "make it...their business to attack scholarly criticisms of Israeli policy." Failing to discard studies by "Israel's apologists" amounts to "shutting down the educational process in favor of religious theories of creationism." Evidently America can learn from Palestinian society's principled anti-racism and passion for historical truth.

Tariq Ali then spoke and took the conspiracy mania fully over the edge. He sees "what is taking place on the campuses as part of the larger and wider project which was initiated by the Sharon government, soon before they went into Jenin [in March 2002] in the big attempt to crush the intifada." The decision to persecute the poor academics "was made in Israel," then "circulated" to Israeli embassies, which somehow made it happen worldwide. The Elders of Zion must be working overtime.

Dols, Massad and Ali object to Zionism, and want no criticism of their position voiced anywhere, especially not in college classrooms. They reject the very idea of balance and actual debate, and claim they are within their rights to deny it, since "scholarship" proves their case. A right-wing conspiracy, Ali argues, wants "to impose the same balance so called on campuses as they have imposed on the media."

In short, according to Dols-Massad-Ali, there is free speech for some but not others, and criticism is censorship.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Columbia University’s Middle East Institute Sends Invitations for Event Honoring Notorious Anti-Semite Amiri Baraka 

From: "Campus Watch" CampusNews@campus-watch.org
Tue, 19 Apr 2005

Philadelphia, April 19, 2005 - Columbia University’s Middle East Institute recently sent out invitations for an event honoring Amiri Baraka, Campus Watch has learned.

Sponsored by several groups (the Radius of Arab American Writers, the National Union of Writers, NY, and Alwan for the Arts), the April 14, 2005 event featured tributes to Baraka. Its proceeds will go to support a conference of Arab American writers at Hunter College.

Baraka, born LeRoi Jones, is known for his writings on jazz, but more for his Marxism and anti-Semitism. As the poet laureate of New Jersey Baraka created a firestorm with his poem “Somebody Blew Up America,” a diatribe accusing Israelis of having been warned of the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. When Baraka rebuffed calls for his resignation, New Jersey lawmakers responded by abolishing the position of poet laureate.

Baraka’s anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism reach far back into the 1960s, as does his violent animosity to whites, American society, and the West as a whole.

Why did the Columbia Middle East Institute lend its support to such an individual? And why did it send out the invitation (via e-mail) on the very day of the event? Coming hard on the heels of the recent controversy over harassment and intimidation of Jewish students, the Middle East Institute might have seen fit to consider more closely who it was promoting.

Helping honor Baraka again calls into question the judgment of Rashid Khalidi, the institute’s director, who himself has a long, well-documented record of hostility toward Israel. These attitudes contributed to the recent decision by the New York City Board of Education to remove him from a teacher training program.

This latest development confirms the depth of the problems in Middle East studies at Columbia University (on which see Campus Watch’s extensive collection of research and news item at http://www.campus-watch.org/survey.php/id/16 ). It also reconfirms why stakeholders in the university need carefully to scrutinize it carefully.

(Campus Watch, founded in 2002 by the Middle East Forum, is designed to critique Middle East Studies at North American colleges and universities with an eye toward improving them. For more information on Campus Watch, please visit www.CampusWatch.org)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Petitions in Russia to ban Judaism and Jewish groups 

50,000 public figures ask Russia to ban Jewish groups

By Haaretz Service
Sun., April 03, 2005 Adar2 23, 5765

Some 50,000 well known public figures and church officials in Russia have signed a petition asking the country's state prosecution to ban Jewish groups, Army Radio reported Sunday.

The petition uses quotations from an abridged guide to Jewish law, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, to support its contention that Judaism is "an extremist and racist ethnicity that hates non-Jews," the radio station reported.

The signatories - including former army generals, artists and an unnamed former international chess champion - argue that this definition of Judaism makes the activity of Jewish groups illegal, according to the radio.

A similar petition was signed by 20 Russian lawmakers about two months ago, the radio said.

Foreign Ministry official Nimrod Barkan warned Sunday that Russians were effectively getting the message that anti-Semitism would be tolerated.

"There's the expansion of the number of anti-Semitic incidents, including violent incidents [in Russia]; the enforcement institutions avoid taking effective steps," said Barkan, who heads the Diaspora and religion department in the ministry.

"This sends a message, also to those sitting on the fence," he told Army Radio, "that it's comfortable and secure to be anti-Semitic in Russia."

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