Columbia and the Academic Intifada

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Columbia and the Academic Intifada

Post by pizza » Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:10 pm

Columbia and the Academic Intifada

Efraim Karsh

Since its birth in 1948, Israel has faced down numerous attempts to destroy it or undercut its right to exist. War, terrorism, economic and diplomatic ostracism, UN resolutions, media vilification, not to mention the spread of anti-Semitic libel, have all taken their toll. Recently a new, seemingly more confined but no less difficult challenge has been added: an effort to harness the perceived moral and intellectual force of professional scholars in the campaign to de-legitimize the Jewish state.

I am not just speaking of the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish campaign that erupted on Western campuses simultaneously with the launch of the Palestinian terror war in September 2000, and that intensified as Israel took steps to contain it. To this has been added classroom denigration of the state of Israel and its supporters, and even open advocacy of its destruction.

Last April’s decision by Britain’s 48,000-strong Association of University Teachers (AUT) to boycott Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities is the most obvious example of this latter phenomenon. The decision, subsequently rescinded in the face of an international outcry, had nothing to do with scholarly considerations: Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where academics enjoy complete and unrestricted freedom of expression. Nor did it reflect an honest sense of solidarity with the Palestinian universities of the West Bank and Gaza, which for the past decade have been under the control not of Israel but of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Rather, the boycott was a frank attempt to single out Israel as a pariah nation, to declare its existence illegitimate. As the Haifa academic Ilan Pappe, whose (false) claim of persecution by his university provided the pretext for the boycott, pleaded with the AUT on the eve of its resolution:

I appeal to you today to be part of a historical movement and moment that may bring an end to more than a century of colonization, occupation, and dispossession of Palestinians. . . . The message that will be directed specifically against those academic institutes which have been particularly culpable in sustaining the oppression since 1948 and the occupation since 1967 can be a start for a successful campaign for peace (as similar acts at the time had activated the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa).

In other words, Israeli scholars were to be ostracized not for any supposed repression of academic freedom but for their contribution to the creation and prosperity of the state of Israel, a racist, colonialist implant in the Middle East as worthy of extirpation as the former apartheid regime of South Africa. With this as the boycott’s goal, small wonder that one of its prime movers, Sue Blackwell of Birmingham University, posted a picture on the web of herself wrapped in the Palestinian flag and headlined “Victory for the Academic Intifada.”

Still, however despicable such efforts by open Israel-haters, most of whom claim no knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs, it pales in comparison with a far more insidious development in the field of Middle East studies itself, the training ground of future scholars, opinion-makers, and policy experts. Here the textbook example is the department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) at Columbia University in New York, whose faculty members have been plausibly accused by students of abusing their positions in order to vilify Israel, to promote anti-Zionism, and to stifle free discussion of the Arab-Israeli conflict.



In the fall of 2004, the David Project, a Boston-based advocacy group, produced a video titled Columbia Unbecoming. In it, various students recounted their personal experiences of classroom bias and intimidation. Three professors came in for particular criticism.

Hamid Dabashi, the head of MEALAC, was accused of, among other things, canceling classes to attend, and to permit his students to attend, a pro-Palestinian rally on campus that featured a call for Israel’s destruction. George Saliba, who teaches Arabic and Islamic science, allegedly told a Jewish student in a private discussion that she had no claim to the land of Israel or any right to an opinion on the Israel-Palestinian question because, unlike his brown-eyed self, “You have green eyes; you’re not a Semite.” On another occasion Saliba reprimanded a student who had questioned his habitual substitution of the term Palestine for Israel, as if to deny the existence of the Jewish state: “Oh, so that’s the ax that you have to grind? Why Israel is being called Palestine in my class? What about the plight of the Palestinians? Why isn’t that what you are talking to me about?”

Students were even more critical of Joseph Massad, a protégé of the late Edward Said. Among the more serious accusations were Massad’s likening of Jews to Nazis and his disparagement of Israel as a racist state. Reportedly, Massad taunted one student, who had served in the Israeli army, “How many Palestinians have you killed?,” and informed another that he would not “have anybody here deny Israeli atrocities.” One student recounted Massad’s telling his class, “The Palestinian is the new Jew, and the Jew is the new Nazi.”

In December, faced with growing public indignation, Columbia’s president, Lee H. Bollinger, grudgingly announced the appointment of a committee to review student complaints. The committee’s composition gave a clear signal of Bollinger’s own disposition. Three of the five members were known critics of Israel, and two of these three had signed a petition calling on Columbia to divest its holdings from companies selling arms and military hardware to Israel. (An anti-divestment petition had also attracted wide support on campus, but none of the five had signed it.) Another member had served as Massad’s dissertation adviser, and shortly before being appointed to the committee had signed a letter decrying press reports about MEALAC’s prejudice as “the latest salvo against academic freedom at Columbia.”1

In its report, released at the end of March, the committee predictably circumvented the core issue. Focusing on “significant deficiencies in the university’s grievance and advising procedures,” it ruled that Massad had acted inappropriately by responding “heatedly” to “a question that he understood to countenance Israeli conduct of which he disapproved,” while consigning to “a challenging gray zone” his taunt about the number of Palestinians a student had supposedly killed. At the same time, the panel had nothing but praise for “Massad’s dedication to, and respectful attitude toward, his students” and for his “willingness . . . to permit anyone who wished to do so to comment or raise a question during his lectures.” Indeed, so open-minded was Massad in the committee’s estimation that his “pedagogical strategy” actually “allowed a small but vociferous group”—presumably, pro-Israel students—“to disrupt lectures by their incessant questions and comments.”

Adding insult to whitewash, the committee found “no evidence of any statements made by the faculty that could reasonably be construed as anti-Semitic.” Above all, it scanted the majority of the complaints, which centered on none of these matters but rather (as the committee itself noted) on “what a number of students perceived as bias in the content of particular courses” as well as on charges that “particular professors had an inadequate grasp of the material they taught and that they purveyed inaccurate information.”

All this was too much even for the New York Times, which had been overtly sympathetic to the Columbia faculty throughout the crisis. “Most student complaints,” it now editorialized correctly, “were not really about intimidation, but about allegations of stridently pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli bias on the part of several professors.” Since the committee had failed, in the words of the Times, “to examine the quality and fairness of teaching,” the university was still left with the need “to follow up on complaints about politicized courses and a lack of scholarly rigor.”



This at least cuts to the heart of the matter. The issue is not whether professors should treat their students with due respect, as indeed they should, but whether they should be permitted, under the guise of academic freedom, to pass off personal bias and open political partisanship as scholarly fact. That the committee avoided this issue is hardly a surprise. For when it comes to honest scholarship, there can be no question of where George Saliba, Joseph Massad, and Hamid Dabashi stand.

Massad, for example, who emphatically dismissed the charges against him as part of a coordinated hate campaign by Israel and its right-wing supporters in America, recently published a series of articles in the English-language edition of the prominent Egyptian paper al-Ahram. There he repeatedly derided Zionism as a form of European imperialism and Israel as “a racist Jewish state” (or “a racist settler colony”), openly advocating its replacement “by a secular democratic bi-national state”—the PLO’s shorthand slogan since the late 1960’s for a Middle East without Israel. Turning the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on its head, Massad claimed that “Jewish colonists were part of the British colonial death squads that murdered Palestinian revolutionaries between 1936 and 1939 while Hitler unleashed Kristallnacht against German Jews.” Thus, he concluded, “the ultimate achievement of Israel” was the “transformation of the Jew into the anti-Semite, and the Palestinian into the Jew.”

Hamid Dabashi echoed Massad’s anger at the “malicious defamation of my department with no basis in truth” (as he wrote to the Spectator, Columbia’s student paper). In his own public statements and writings, however, Dabashi has if anything outdone Massad in concocting a scenario of the Middle East in which Israel not only has no legitimate place but can hardly be said to exist, except as an unnamed Dark Force.

“I flew to Palestine and landed in Ben-Gurion checkpoint,” Dabashi wrote of a brief visit in February 2004 “to four Palestinian cities”: Gaza City, Ramallah, Nazareth, and Jerusalem (the last two of which are, at recent report, still in Israel). During his weeklong stay in the country that “they call ‘Israel,’” the only non-Arab civilians he noted were knots of ultra-Orthodox Jews “rushing to some unspecified destination.” Nowhere to be seen in the streets of Jerusalem, evidently, were the Jewish Israelis—men, women, and children—who constitute the vast majority of the country’s population. Instead, he found the streets inhabited by heavily armed soldiers “with very long machine guns hanging from their necks,” as befits “a military base for the rising predatory empire of the United States.”

Back at the Ben-Gurion “checkpoint” on his return flight to New York, Dabashi was struck by an airport scene resembling something out of the pages of Hannah Arendt’s reflections on the “banality of evil.” Before him was not a departure lounge but

a fully fortified barrack, with its battalion of security forces treating all the transient inmates with equal banality. It was not just colored Muslims like me that they treated like hazardous chemicals. It was everyone. “One,” as in our quintessential humanity, melted in this fearful furnace into a nullity beyond human recognition.

But his torture was not over; once on line to board the aircraft, Dabashi was forced to contemplate with horror “a young couple and their five children, all boys and all with yarmulkes on their heads,” the mother pregnant, the father “murmuring something under his breath,” the children “each eating a McDonald’s hamburger. I presume McDonald’s makes kosher hamburger. I was quite nauseous.”

Only after having finally escaped from this “massive machinery of death and destruction” to the safety of Manhattan did Dabashi permit himself a detached scholarly meditation on the origins of so “miasmatic [a] mutation of human soul into a subterranean mixture of vile and violence.” Where could it have come from? His answer:

Half a century of systematic maiming and murdering of another people has left its deep marks on the faces of these people. . . . A subsumed militarism, a systemic mendacity with an ingrained violence constitutional to the very fusion of its fabric, has penetrated the deepest corners of what these people have to call their “soul.” No people can perpetrate what these people and their parents and grandparents have perpetrated on Palestinians and remain immune to the cruelty of their own deeds.

Like Massad, Dabashi found a home for his lucubrations in al-Ahram, a paper that itself regularly features anti-Semitic articles and cartoons. His thoughts on the nature and history of Israeli society tell much about the tenor of the academic department he had the privilege of heading at one of the world’s great universities. They also prompt a question of their own: where do such ranting constructions of reality have their origin?

A lengthy historical treatise could be written in answer to that question, but the first place to look is at the career and writings of Edward Said, the patron saint of Middle Eastern studies in its current incarnation. Like Dabashi, Massad, and many others, Said, who died in 2003, made a specialty of appropriating the experience of the Jews as his own, even while belittling Jewish collective identity and savaging the Jewish state.

“I don’t find the idea of a Jewish state terribly interesting,” Said told an interviewer for the Israeli paper Ha’aretz in August 2000. “I wouldn’t want it for myself. Even if I were a Jew. I’d fight against it. And it won’t last. . . . Take my word for it. . . . It won’t even be remembered.” Making his own vision of the future explicit, he added: “[T]he Jews are a minority everywhere. A Jewish minority can survive [in Arab Palestine] the way other minorities in the Arab world survived.”

In his published work, Said discounted altogether the historic Jewish attachment to Palestine and misrepresented Israel’s creation and subsequent struggle for survival as a predatory colonialist endeavor to occupy another people’s land and to dispossess the indigenous population. Missing from his account were such inconvenient facts as the Arabs’ outspoken commitment to the destruction of the Jewish national cause, the sustained and repeated Arab efforts to achieve that end from the early 1920’s onward, and the no less sustained efforts of the Jews at peaceful coexistence. In his account, Zionism emerged instead as an offshoot of European imperialism at its most rapacious. As for the Palestinian Arabs, they were Zionism’s hapless victims, “whose main sin [was] that they happened to be there, in Israel’s way.”

Like his protégé Joseph Massad, Said invoked the Holocaust only in order to deny the reality of Jewish identity and history. “I am one of the few Arabs who have written about the Holocaust,” he boasted to Ha’aretz. “I’ve been to Buchenwald and Dachau and other death camps, and I see the connection.” But his acknowledgement of the Nazi murder of European Jews was merely a tactical ploy. As he candidly explained, “by recognizing the Holocaust for the genocidal madness that it was, we can then demand from Israelis and Jews the right to link the Holocaust to Zionist injustices toward the Palestinians.”

Said spared no effort at hammering home that linkage. In the mid-1980’s, for example, he compared the notion of Jewish statehood with Nazi Germany’s “organized [program of] discrimination or persecution.” “I do not want to press the analogy too far,” he wrote in 2002, on the second anniversary of Arafat’s terror war, “but it is true to say that Palestinians under Israeli occupation today are as powerless as Jews were in the 1940’s.”

A strange assessment on the anniversary of a Palestinian war that had already resulted in the bloody murder of some 700 Israelis and the wounding of thousands more in daily terror attacks. But then, Said was also quick to dismiss Palestinian terrorism itself as a figment of Israel’s imagination, “invented so that its own neuroses can be inscribed on the bodies of Palestinians.” Unhindered by his lack of any professional knowledge of Israeli society or politics, he indicted Israel as “a country whose soul has been captured by a mania for punishing the weak, a democracy that faithfully mirrors the psychopathic mentality of its ruler, General Sharon, whose sole idea—if that is the right word for it—is to kill, reduce, maim, drive away Palestinians until break.’”



Although he mobilized the machinery of post-modernist “discourse” to construct his portrait of Israeli reality, Said was no more original in his choice of rhetoric than his acolytes after him. The repudiation of Jewish nationalism has, in fact, been a staple of Arab propaganda ever since the early 1920’s, was institutionalized in the PLO Covenant of 1964, and received international codification in the UN’s 1975 resolution declaring Zionism “a form of racism and racial discrimination.” Almost as antique is the equation of Zionism with Nazism and colonialism. Within a year of its creation in 1964, the PLO had produced a short pamphlet, titled Zionist Colonialism in Palestine, foreshadowing Said’s “postcolonialist” arguments.

Take, for example, the pamphlet’s description of the birth of Zionism:

The frenzied “scramble for Africa” of the 1880’s stimulated the beginnings of Zionist colonization in Palestine. As European fortune-hunters, prospective settlers, and empire-builders raced for Africa, Zionist settlers and would-be state-builders rushed for Palestine.

Here is the same idea as rendered in Said’s The Question of Palestine (1980):

Zionism . . . coincided with the period of unparalleled European territorial acquisition in Africa and Asia, and it was as part of this general movement of acquisition and occupation that Zionism was launched initially by Theodor Herzl.

Or consider the pamphlet’s explanation of the main difference between Zionism and 19th-century European colonialism:

Unlike European colonization elsewhere, . . . Zionist colonization of Palestine was essentially incompatible with the continued existence of the “native population” in the coveted country.

And here is Said:

Zionism was a colonial vision unlike that of most other 19th-century European powers, for whom the natives of outlying territories were included [emphasis in original] in the redemptive mission civilisatrice.

And the Jewish state’s ultimate objectives? According to the pamphlet, “the Zionist concept of the ‘final solution’ to the ‘Arab problem’ in Palestine, and the Nazi concept of the ‘final solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’ in Germany, consisted essentially of the same basic ingredient: the elimination of the unwanted human element in question.” Said avoids such highly charged terminology, but his gist is unmistakably the same:

There is, of course, the charge made by National Socialism, as codified in the Nuremberg Laws, that Jews were foreign, and therefore expendable. . . . Then there is the almost too perfect literalization that is given the binary opposition Jew-versus-non-European in the climatic chapter of the unfolding narrative of Zionist settlement in Palestine.



Lying propaganda is perhaps to be expected from a revolutionary organization committed to eliminating by violence a longstanding member of the United Nations. Its introduction into the college classroom is another matter. But it is here that Said’s influence has been unrivaled, and well beyond the confines of Columbia, his own institution. Catapulted to international stardom by his 1978 book Orientalism, a blistering attack on supposed Western perceptions of the Middle East and Islam, Said used his celebrity status to blur, if not to erase altogether, the dividing line between political propaganda and academic scholarship. He was quickly followed by legions of disciples, many of whom would make their careers in departments of Middle East studies by consciously patterning themselves on this “Salah al-Din [Saladin] of our reasoning with mad adversaries,” to quote Dabashi’s perfervid eulogy of his intellectual hero.

And herein lies the crucial importance of the Columbia case. Far from being an exception, its classroom teaching is emblematic of the pervasive prejudice that has afflicted the field of modern Middle Eastern studies for quite some time.2

That prejudice is fueled in equal parts by money and ideas. We have seen where some of the leading ideas come from. The money comes from oil-rich Arab countries that have created endowed chairs or research centers over which they exercise lasting control. Only last year, Harvard was forced to return a $2.5-million donation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the creation of a chair named after the UAE’s ruler, Sheik Zaid ibn Sultan, when it was revealed (again by student initiative) that an Arab think tank connected with Zaid was promulgating anti-American and anti-Semitic views. Columbia, by contrast, went out of its way to hide the UAE’s $200,000 contribution to a newly endowed chair in modern Arab studies and literature, and then insisted on retaining the money once the link had been exposed. Fittingly, the chair is named for Edward Said.

It is difficult to overstate the tenacity of the resulting infestation of Arab dogmatism in Middle East studies as a field. Over the last two decades, one would be hard-pressed to find books on the Arab-Israeli conflict issuing from Middle East-studies departments that present the Jewish state in a dispassionate, let alone a positive, light, and hardly any such items appear on course reading lists. Thus, at Columbia, the syllabus for Joseph Massad’s fall 2004 survey course on the Middle East included, in addition to readings from the canonical Edward Said and the subtler Orientalist Albert Hourani, a single work on Israel: a three-decades-old screed by the French Marxist historian of Islam, Maxime Rodinson, whose title, Israel, a Colonial-Settler State?, says it all. Scholars daring to defy the general stigmatization of Israel have been attacked and marginalized.

Above all, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the largest and most influential professional body for the study of the region, whose 2,600-plus members inhabit departments of Middle East studies throughout the world, has become a hotbed of anti-Israel invective. Past presidents of the association like Joel Beinin of Stanford and Rashid Khalidi of Columbia—the latter holds the Edward Said chair—have, in one form or another, publicly advocated the destruction of Israel as a state. Joseph Massad won MESA’s prize for the outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in the field, and the resulting book was warmly reviewed by three past MESA presidents, not to mention by Said himself.

Given these circumstances, it was only natural for a group of prominent MESA members to send a letter to Columbia’s president in support of the beleaguered MEALAC staff, or for the association’s president-elect, Juan Cole of Michigan, to rush to the aid of Massad—the victim, as Cole put it, of “a concerted campaign” by “the American Likud.” “In parlous times like the post-9/11 environment,” Cole stormed, “demagogues grow powerful and American values are endangered. Massad is the canary in the mineshaft of American democracy.”

Even if the Columbia leadership were to do the decent thing, by acknowledging the ongoing bigotry of its professors and by disciplining the offenders, such action would only address the symptoms and not the causes of the pervasive anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias in the field of modern Middle East studies. Not only is the academic intifada against the Jewish state thriving, the reigning terms of discussion it has introduced for understanding Middle Eastern reality have become perfectly normal, perfectly conventional, perfectly accepted in academic discourse. It will take more than a single student protest to undo the rot that has settled into the study of the Middle East and that is now quite comfortably at home in Western universities.

Efraim Karsh is head of Mediterranean studies at King’s College, University of London. His new book, on the history of Islamic imperialism, will be out next year from Yale.

1 The best and most dogged reporting on the Columbia affair was done by Jacob Gershman of the New York Sun.

2 For chapter and verse, see Martin Kramer, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America (2002).

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/artic ... 12001029_1

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:29 pm

Let's hope you get more responses than I did when I posted this article.
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Brendan

Post by Brendan » Sun Jul 10, 2005 5:57 pm

Thanks for the interesting article (sorry I missed it first time 'round). I only knew of George Saliba through his weird and off-target criticism of Huff's The Rise of Early Modern Science (read Huff's response http://baheyeldin.com/history/toby-huff-1.html if interested). The thick plottens!

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Post by Ralph » Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:51 pm

And as I said before, whatever is going on in that small Mid-East studies department, it has little support or opposition from within Columbia. I'm there about every week and was there every Saturday until mid-May.

Charges and countercharges have been slung and the street press (The Village Voice and the New York Press) have weighed in.

Floyd Abrams was appointed by Pres. Bollinger and many of us think he did a great job getting to the bottom of what clearly was an escalating situation. But some with an agenda won't accept his report.

I know Pizza won't agree but the Columbia campus isn't a hotbed of anti-Semitism. And demonstrations about the Palestinian issue draw some committed activists and a number of non-Columbia "visitors."
Last edited by Ralph on Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brendan

Post by Brendan » Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:39 pm

Seems Middle Eastern Studies aren't the only suspect faculty at Columbia: http://www.csicop.org/si/2005-03/miracle-study.html.

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Post by Ralph » Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:51 pm

Brendan wrote:Seems Middle Eastern Studies aren't the only suspect faculty at Columbia: http://www.csicop.org/si/2005-03/miracle-study.html.
*****

No research institute can avoid occasional brushes with fraud in scholarship. That's very different than allegations of anti-Semitism in the classroom and bigotry by faculty against students.

By the way, there is no such place as "Columbia Medical Center." There is New York-Presbyterian Hospital which used to be Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital until two years ago.
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Brendan

Post by Brendan » Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:58 pm

When Political Correctness dominates an institution academic standards suffer. As an institution they fail to uphold the standards of science and of history required, IMHO.

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Post by pizza » Mon Jul 11, 2005 3:26 am

Ralph wrote:

.

Floyd Abrams was appointed by Pres. Bollinger and many of us think he did a great job getting to the bottom of what clearly was an escalating situation. But some with an agenda won't accept his report.
Many think a whitewash was performed. You don't need an agenda to reject the report:

"In December, faced with growing public indignation, Columbia’s president, Lee H. Bollinger, grudgingly announced the appointment of a committee to review student complaints. The committee’s composition gave a clear signal of Bollinger’s own disposition. Three of the five members were known critics of Israel, and two of these three had signed a petition calling on Columbia to divest its holdings from companies selling arms and military hardware to Israel. (An anti-divestment petition had also attracted wide support on campus, but none of the five had signed it.) Another member had served as Massad’s dissertation adviser, and shortly before being appointed to the committee had signed a letter decrying press reports about MEALAC’s prejudice as “the latest salvo against academic freedom at Columbia.”1

In its report, released at the end of March, the committee predictably circumvented the core issue. Focusing on “significant deficiencies in the university’s grievance and advising procedures,” it ruled that Massad had acted inappropriately by responding “heatedly” to “a question that he understood to countenance Israeli conduct of which he disapproved,” while consigning to “a challenging gray zone” his taunt about the number of Palestinians a student had supposedly killed. At the same time, the panel had nothing but praise for “Massad’s dedication to, and respectful attitude toward, his students” and for his “willingness . . . to permit anyone who wished to do so to comment or raise a question during his lectures.” Indeed, so open-minded was Massad in the committee’s estimation that his “pedagogical strategy” actually “allowed a small but vociferous group”—presumably, pro-Israel students—“to disrupt lectures by their incessant questions and comments.”

Adding insult to whitewash, the committee found “no evidence of any statements made by the faculty that could reasonably be construed as anti-Semitic.” Above all, it scanted the majority of the complaints, which centered on none of these matters but rather (as the committee itself noted) on “what a number of students perceived as bias in the content of particular courses” as well as on charges that “particular professors had an inadequate grasp of the material they taught and that they purveyed inaccurate information.”

All this was too much even for the New York Times, which had been overtly sympathetic to the Columbia faculty throughout the crisis. “Most student complaints,” it now editorialized correctly, “were not really about intimidation, but about allegations of stridently pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli bias on the part of several professors.” Since the committee had failed, in the words of the Times, “to examine the quality and fairness of teaching,” the university was still left with the need “to follow up on complaints about politicized courses and a lack of scholarly rigor."

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Post by Ralph » Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:10 am

Pizza,

You usually give the source for articles you post here. Where did this come from?

And the fact that there are those critical of the Abrams report by itself doesn't prove anything.
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Post by pizza » Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:39 am

Ralph wrote:Pizza,

You usually give the source for articles you post here. Where did this come from?

And the fact that there are those critical of the Abrams report by itself doesn't prove anything.
It comes from the lead article posted in this thread. I thought you read it since you commented on it.

By itself? It shows how the so-called investigative committee was stacked in favor of those being investigated. If you're only result-oriented and don't care about the quality of due process (shades of Schiavo!) that's OK but most reasonable people require the hen house to be guarded by someone other than the fox.

Ted

Post by Ted » Mon Jul 11, 2005 7:04 am

Pizza
While Ralph insists he has no affiliation with Judaism as a religion; he is always quick to raise the red flag when Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head.
I have never seen him equivocate, deny or dismiss Anti-Semitic allegations nor do I think he is insofar as Columbia is concerned.

Woody Allen can find anti-Semitic innuendos in “Did You Eat?”
(“Did Jew Eat” )

You and I have already played word association.

:roll:

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Post by Ralph » Mon Jul 11, 2005 7:10 am

pizza wrote:
Ralph wrote:Pizza,

You usually give the source for articles you post here. Where did this come from?

And the fact that there are those critical of the Abrams report by itself doesn't prove anything.
It comes from the lead article posted in this thread. I thought you read it since you commented on it.

By itself? It shows how the so-called investigative committee was stacked in favor of those being investigated. If you're only result-oriented and don't care about the quality of due process (shades of Schiavo!) that's OK but most reasonable people require the hen house to be guarded by someone other than the fox.
*****

Floyd Abrams is not "the fox" and neither you nor I have enjoyed a career even remotely at his level of passionately protecting civil rights and constitutional freedoms.

That there is need for reform of the Columbia U. Mideast Studies Department seems fairly clear and Abrams's report may be a wake-up call. To accept the claims that an out and out anti-Semitic faculty conspiracy is there is to support those who substitute passion and rhetoric for facts.

In my confusion I forgot the article I inquired about was already posted with the source-sorry. These threads get long.
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Post by Ralph » Mon Jul 11, 2005 7:11 am

Ted wrote:Pizza
While Ralph insists he has no affiliation with Judaism as a religion; he is always quick to raise the red flag when Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head.
I have never seen him equivocate, deny or dismiss Anti-Semitic allegations nor do I think he is insofar as Columbia is concerned.

Woody Allen can find anti-Semitic innuendos in “Did You Eat?”
(“Did Jew Eat” )

You and I have already played word association.

:roll:
*****

Some of my best friends are Jewish. :wink:
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Ted

Post by Ted » Mon Jul 11, 2005 7:37 am

Some of my best friends are Jewish.
Go jump in a vat of Schmaltz :wink:

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Post by pizza » Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:23 am

Ralph wrote:
pizza wrote:
Ralph wrote:Pizza,

You usually give the source for articles you post here. Where did this come from?

And the fact that there are those critical of the Abrams report by itself doesn't prove anything.
It comes from the lead article posted in this thread. I thought you read it since you commented on it.

By itself? It shows how the so-called investigative committee was stacked in favor of those being investigated. If you're only result-oriented and don't care about the quality of due process (shades of Schiavo!) that's OK but most reasonable people require the hen house to be guarded by someone other than the fox.
*****

Floyd Abrams is not "the fox" and neither you nor I have enjoyed a career even remotely at his level of passionately protecting civil rights and constitutional freedoms.

That there is need for reform of the Columbia U. Mideast Studies Department seems fairly clear and Abrams's report may be a wake-up call. To accept the claims that an out and out anti-Semitic faculty conspiracy is there is to support those who substitute passion and rhetoric for facts.

In my confusion I forgot the article I inquired about was already posted with the source-sorry. These threads get long.
Your defense of Abrams is itself passionate rhetoric but doesn't answer the charge of what obviously appears to be a stacked investigative committee. I won't repeat what's already been posted twice. It's there and the composition of the committee remains unrefuted. What facts do you have with which to challenge it? Is that your idea of a fair and balanced group of investigators who are likely to deal with these issues fairly or will any pro forma review of the charges against Columbia be sufficient?

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Post by Ralph » Mon Jul 11, 2005 12:58 pm

I don't think the committee was stacked but we'll never agree on that.
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Post by pizza » Mon Jul 11, 2005 3:42 pm

Ralph wrote:I don't think the committee was stacked but we'll never agree on that.
Sure. That three of the five were politically sympathetic to the investigatees and one was a close scholarly associate of one of them must have been the luck of the draw. :roll:

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Post by Ralph » Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:08 pm

Who would you have appointed? After yourself? :)
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Post by pizza » Tue Jul 12, 2005 12:37 am

Ralph wrote:Who would you have appointed? After yourself? :)
I wouldn't be interested in serving but I would appoint anyone except Aunt Polly, Tom Sawyer and Ben Rogers; and how about you? 8)

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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:43 am

pizza wrote:
Ralph wrote:Who would you have appointed? After yourself? :)
I wouldn't be interested in serving but I would appoint anyone except Aunt Polly, Tom Sawyer and Ben Rogers; and how about you? 8)
*****

I would have selected Floyd Abrams. After him Al Sharpton, Bill Clinton, Al Goldstein and me.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:59 am

Brendan wrote:When Political Correctness dominates an institution academic standards suffer. As an institution they fail to uphold the standards of science and of history required, IMHO.
Forget it, Brendan. Ralph wants to send Ted (nee Teddy) there. No reasoning with him on whether Columbia did the right thing or was even capable of doing the right thing. What I want to know is, how did all these radicals end up as department luminaries.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:05 am

Ted wrote:Pizza
While Ralph insists he has no affiliation with Judaism as a religion; he is always quick to raise the red flag when Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head.
I have never seen him equivocate, deny or dismiss Anti-Semitic allegations nor do I think he is insofar as Columbia is concerned.
He's got this blind spot when it comes to Dittersdorf and anti-Semitism on American campuses, esp. ivy league campuses and except the Christian right is involved. If it's Muslim anti-Semitism on campuses, it don't exist. If it's Christian right anti-Semitism, it's a problem.
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:37 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ted wrote:Pizza
While Ralph insists he has no affiliation with Judaism as a religion; he is always quick to raise the red flag when Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head.
I have never seen him equivocate, deny or dismiss Anti-Semitic allegations nor do I think he is insofar as Columbia is concerned.
He's got this blind spot when it comes to Dittersdorf and anti-Semitism on American campuses, esp. ivy league campuses and except the Christian right is involved. If it's Muslim anti-Semitism on campuses, it don't exist. If it's Christian right anti-Semitism, it's a problem.
*****

ALL anti-Semitism is a problem, whatever its source. The Civil Rights Committee of the Anti-Defamation League valued my commitment (time and expertise) to fighting prejudice of all kinds including anti-Semitism for many years. I haven't just worked with the ACLU.

I'd be interested if other attorneys on this board listed their past and present pro bono activities (and representing the Christian Right is just as honorable for a lawyer as working on so-called liberal issues). I'd especially like to know what Corlyss has done since she's again taken an uncalled for potshot at me. I truly adore our Corlyss but when she crosses the line I call her on it.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:58 am

Ralph Wrote:
I truly adore our Corlyss but when she crosses the line I call her on it.
There isn’t a line in creation that our sweet little lady from Utah hasn’t crossed.
If I were you I’d have a dedicated hot wire installed, quit teaching and start working full time for Verizon
:wink:

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Post by pizza » Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:12 am

Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ted wrote:Pizza
While Ralph insists he has no affiliation with Judaism as a religion; he is always quick to raise the red flag when Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head.
I have never seen him equivocate, deny or dismiss Anti-Semitic allegations nor do I think he is insofar as Columbia is concerned.
He's got this blind spot when it comes to Dittersdorf and anti-Semitism on American campuses, esp. ivy league campuses and except the Christian right is involved. If it's Muslim anti-Semitism on campuses, it don't exist. If it's Christian right anti-Semitism, it's a problem.
*****

ALL anti-Semitism is a problem, whatever its source. The Civil Rights Committee of the Anti-Defamation League valued my commitment (time and expertise) to fighting prejudice of all kinds including anti-Semitism for many years. I haven't just worked with the ACLU.

I'd be interested if other attorneys on this board listed their past and present pro bono activities (and representing the Christian Right is just as honorable for a lawyer as working on so-called liberal issues). I'd especially like to know what Corlyss has done since she's again taken an uncalled for potshot at me. I truly adore our Corlyss but when she crosses the line I call her on it.
Your pro bono activities are irrelevant to the point and it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism per se. There is an obvious bias in the make-up of the committee that investigated the complaint against Columbia that doesn't require a great deal of expertise to recognize. The fact that you dismiss it out of hand in my opinion shows a blind spot in your assessment of what a fair measure of due process requires in such a case. If I had to guess why, and it's merely a guess, I would say it may be a result of your connections within academia, and perhaps an unwarranted presumption that other academics are as fair as you consider yourself to be. That simply ain't so. They play just as dirty as anyone else and more often get away with it because they know they can use the perceived moral and intellectual status that professional scholars usually enjoy to their advantage.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:53 am

Ralph wrote: I'd especially like to know what Corlyss has done since she's again taken an uncalled for potshot at me.
Mostly waiting for the plumber to come tell me why the swamp cooler is spewing water all over the place and causing my ceiling to fall in.

Potshots? Potshots? Why, those were just harmless little love taps, Ralph. As Annie "My Idol" Oakley put is so pungently, "O, you can't get a man with a gun!" :P
I truly adore our Corlyss but when she crosses the line I call her on it.
I'm not taking a yellow card on this one.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:54 am

Ted wrote:Ralph Wrote:
I truly adore our Corlyss but when she crosses the line I call her on it.
There isn’t a line in creation that our sweet little lady from Utah hasn’t crossed.
If I were you I’d have a dedicated hot wire installed, quit teaching and start working full time for Verizon
:wink:
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: 8) :P

I just calls 'em like I sees 'em.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:11 am

pizza wrote:it may be a result of your connections within academia, and perhaps an unwarranted presumption that other academics are as fair as you consider yourself to be. That simply ain't so. They play just as dirty as anyone else and more often get away with it because they know they can use the perceived moral and intellectual status that professional scholars usually enjoy to their advantage.
So many of them are activists first and academics second that it ain't funny. I'd edit Shakespeare to read "First thing, we kill all the activists."
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Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:14 am

I just calls 'em like I sees 'em.
You go gilr!

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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:23 pm

pizza wrote:
Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ted wrote:Pizza
While Ralph insists he has no affiliation with Judaism as a religion; he is always quick to raise the red flag when Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head.
I have never seen him equivocate, deny or dismiss Anti-Semitic allegations nor do I think he is insofar as Columbia is concerned.
He's got this blind spot when it comes to Dittersdorf and anti-Semitism on American campuses, esp. ivy league campuses and except the Christian right is involved. If it's Muslim anti-Semitism on campuses, it don't exist. If it's Christian right anti-Semitism, it's a problem.
*****

ALL anti-Semitism is a problem, whatever its source. The Civil Rights Committee of the Anti-Defamation League valued my commitment (time and expertise) to fighting prejudice of all kinds including anti-Semitism for many years. I haven't just worked with the ACLU.

I'd be interested if other attorneys on this board listed their past and present pro bono activities (and representing the Christian Right is just as honorable for a lawyer as working on so-called liberal issues). I'd especially like to know what Corlyss has done since she's again taken an uncalled for potshot at me. I truly adore our Corlyss but when she crosses the line I call her on it.
Your pro bono activities are irrelevant to the point and it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism per se. There is an obvious bias in the make-up of the committee that investigated the complaint against Columbia that doesn't require a great deal of expertise to recognize. The fact that you dismiss it out of hand in my opinion shows a blind spot in your assessment of what a fair measure of due process requires in such a case. If I had to guess why, and it's merely a guess, I would say it may be a result of your connections within academia, and perhaps an unwarranted presumption that other academics are as fair as you consider yourself to be. That simply ain't so. They play just as dirty as anyone else and more often get away with it because they know they can use the perceived moral and intellectual status that professional scholars usually enjoy to their advantage.
*****

Sorry Pizza but your response is off the mark. I've been in academia since '75 and I have no illusions about SOME colleagues nor do I have any about practicing lawyers or judges-I've seen the best and experienced the worst (as I suspect you have too).

Perhaps you have some resentment against academics-I don't know. My faculty is largely comprised of teacher/scholars with real and often ongoing practice experience and most of them are really nice people too. Having never attended or taught in an elite school I have little insight as to how people comport themselves there.

I choose to address the public on issues I care about through various media. My "moral and intellectual status" doesn't go without challenge and I often debate those of polar opposite views. Whether I'm more persuasive than many colleagues goes to skill, not an abdication of the duty to think for themselves by listeners and readers based on my glorious rank.

What is interesting is that every article suggesting a real problem with anti-Semitism at Columbia is taken very seriously here by some but my comments based on being THERE often are not even referred to. Some people may "need" a whiff of anti-Semitism for their purposes in the same way some Islamic professors need to irrationally defend the indefensible as part of their agenda.

The Mideast Studies Dept. is a roiling subject in some non-mainstream media and it hardly impacts on Columbia's campus where Jewish students and faculty go about ther usual rounds without involvement or fear. Jews a re safe at Columbia with, by the weay, has a very active Hillel organization. This is a far bigger matter off-campus than on.

As to my pro bono activities, my mention was relevant to Corlyss's ad hominem comment that only certain forms of anti-Semitism attract my interest. It's the kind of Careless-Corlyss comment that rankles me from time to time.
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:28 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Brendan wrote:When Political Correctness dominates an institution academic standards suffer. As an institution they fail to uphold the standards of science and of history required, IMHO.
Forget it, Brendan. Ralph wants to send Ted (nee Teddy) there. No reasoning with him on whether Columbia did the right thing or was even capable of doing the right thing. What I want to know is, how did all these radicals end up as department luminaries.
*****

I would be very happy if Ted was accepted at Columbia or MIT or Harvard or U. Penn or any other of the top tier schools he plans on applying to. The decision is first the school's and secondly his.

Given what he wants to study Columbia is a natural fit. They currently accept one out of every thirteen applicants. Think he'll get in? I don't.

Who are "all these radicals?" There is only one department involved in the current issue and it has fewer faculty than are currently online here.
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:29 pm

Ted wrote:Ralph Wrote:
I truly adore our Corlyss but when she crosses the line I call her on it.
There isn’t a line in creation that our sweet little lady from Utah hasn’t crossed.
If I were you I’d have a dedicated hot wire installed, quit teaching and start working full time for Verizon
:wink:
*****

I love my job. And I've had problems with VERIZON too.
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:13 pm

The Columbia Spectator is one of the finest student-run papers in the U.S. and it puts very many regular papers to shame. The paper's independence has never been seriously questioned. This article provides some perspective on the Middle East studies issue.

*****

This story was printed from The Columbia Spectator.
Site URL: http://www.columbiaspectator.com.
Committee Report Criticizes Grievance Procedures, Finds No Anti-Semitism

By James Romoser
Spectator Senior Staff Writer
March 31, 2005

In a strong indictment of Columbia’s grievance procedures and advising channels, the ad hoc faculty committee investigating students’ claims that they were intimidated by some Middle East studies professors described a pattern of mishandled complaints and widespread confusion over how to address students’ concerns about what goes on in the classroom.

The committee’s report, obtained by Spectator last night and expected to be made public today, also identified one instance in which assistant professor Joseph Massad “exceeded commonly accepted bounds” when he made an angry outburst to a student defending Israel’s military conduct.

The report addressed two other specific claims of intimidation, neither of which it found to constitute abuse.

The committee also said it “found no evidence of any statements made by the faculty that could reasonably be construed as anti-Semitic,” and it said no students had received lower grades for holding dissenting viewpoints.

But throughout the 24-page document, a picture emerges of the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department as rife with tension and incivility, especially in an increasingly politicized climate after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Numerous students, the report says, felt unable to defend their views in class because they feared attacks from other students or the media. Some graduate student teaching assistants were similarly hesitant to express their views because of pressure from outside organizations critical of the department. This semester, a lecture class taught by Massad frequently suffered hostile interruptions by a group of unregistered students auditing the class.

And in February 2002, the report said, Massad “had good reason to believe” that another faculty member was using students in his class as spies to monitor his statements “as part of a campaign against him.”

The committee, which was composed of five members of the faculty of Arts and Sciences led by history professor Ira Katznelson and advised by First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, was appointed by University President Lee Bollinger last December after the release of the film Columbia Unbecoming, a documentary produced by the pro-Israel group The David Project. In the film, students and recent alumni say they faced intimidation and abuse from some MEALAC professors, including Professors George Saliba, Hamid Dabashi, and Massad. Provost Alan Brinkley recommended the formation of the committee in December because of what he called “the inadequacy of our grievance procedures” to address the complaints.

The committee sharply criticized those grievance procedures in its report, saying they were unclear, inconsistent, and inaccessible to both students and faculty. Beginning in fall 2001 and continuing up to the present controversy, the committee said, administrators and faculty members who knew of students’ complaints about MEALAC classes or professors neglected to address them decisively or refer them to the proper existing channels.

“Columbia and Barnard students therefore found themselves in a thicket of confusing procedures, few of which seemed likely to produce the desired outcome: an opportunity to attend to concerns about faculty and courses,” the report said.

The ultimate result, according to the committee, was that outside organizations were able to seize onto students’ grievances and control the debate.

The committee made five recommendations, all of which centered on the clarification and improvement of procedures for handling future student complaints. Among the suggestions was the establishment of “a common, central university site to which students, faculty and administrators could turn to express concerns, though not necessarily grievances, about the quality of their experience at Columbia.”

The committee, which interviewed 62 students, alumni, faculty members, and administrators and considered over 60 written submissions, was charged with investigating only specific complaints about the conduct of professors. It did not address perceived bias on the part of professors, even though bias was the focus of the majority of complaints it received. The committee said it was most concerned with three instances, all of which were described in Columbia Unbecoming and have been widely retold since then.

The first involved an episode in spring 2002 in which Massad allegedly screamed at a student in his class, Deena Shanker, who was defending Israel, “If you’re going to deny the atrocities being committed against Palestinians, then you can get out of my classroom!” Two other students corroborated the exchange; Massad has denied that it ever took place. But the committee said it found Shanker’s account “credible,” and, quoting the University’s Faculty Handbook, said Massad violated the responsibility of all professors “to show respect for the rights of others to hold opinions differing from their own.”

The second incident concerned an alleged exchange between Massad and another student that took place in late 2001 or early 2002 at a lecture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict sponsored by a student group. The student, Tomy Schoenfeld, who served in the Israeli Army, claims Massad responded to a question he asked by saying, “Well, if you served in the military, then why don’t you tell us how many Palestinians have you killed?” Massad said he did not remember the event. The committee found that the episode “falls into a challenging grey zone, neither in the classroom, where the reported behavior would not be acceptable, nor in an off-campus political event, where it might fit within a not unfamiliar range of give and take regarding charged issues.”

The third instance of alleged intimidation involved a conversation in fall 2001 between Saliba and one of his students, Lindsay Shrier, who says Saliba told her she had “no claim to the land of Israel” because she has green eyes. The committee found that Saliba, in making the remark, probably intended to advance a serious argument rather than to intimidate Shrier.

Reached late last night, Saliba said he had not yet seen the report. Massad did not return a phone message left at his home last night, but he told The New York Times that he had read the report, disagrees with its findings, and denies the allegations against him.

The report made no mention of any other specific allegations of abuse. Bari Weiss, CC ’07 and a co-founder of Columbians for Academic Freedom, a group supporting the student complaints, said she was “insulted” that so few complaints were addressed.

“We know of dozens of incidences that are absolutely appalling that are not in this report,” Weiss said.

In an interview, Bollinger said he supported the committee’s findings and said a new set of grievance procedures, as well as specific plans about how the committee’s recommendations will be enacted, would be announced in the next week or two.

“It is a very serious problem that we have not had adequate grievance procedures for students,” Bollinger said. “Obviously this goes back a long way, but it also continues on, and we have to fix them.”
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Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:19 pm

Nicely Done Ralph
a picture emerges of the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department as rife with tension and incivility, especially in an increasingly politicized climate after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
This is hardly a scenario that should come as a shocking disclosure
Numerous students, the report says, felt unable to defend their views in class because they feared attacks from other students or the media.
Insert forum members for students
:roll:

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:39 pm

Ted wrote:
I just calls 'em like I sees 'em.
You go gilr!
"You know," she said quitely behind her hand so as not to disturb Pizza and Ralph as they replay one of their favorite rows, "I am always reluctant to intrude. They seem to be having so much fun, I'm afraid I'll spoil it."
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Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:44 pm

I am always reluctant to intrude. They seem to be having so much fun, I'm afraid I'll spoil it."
Pizza dosn't spoil

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:47 pm

Being of Irish heritage, my only question concerning a public Barney: "Is this a personal fight or can anyone join in?"

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:55 pm

Brendan wrote:Being of Irish heritage, my only question concerning a public Barney: "Is this a personal fight or can anyone join in?"
:lol: :lol: :lol: It's up to what? 3 pages now. Try it and see if they notice.
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 13, 2005 3:32 am

Brendan wrote:Being of Irish heritage, my only question concerning a public Barney: "Is this a personal fight or can anyone join in?"
*****

I hate Barney, that purple imbecilic creature.
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Post by pizza » Wed Jul 13, 2005 7:17 am

New Challenge to Columbia and to Chomsky, Finkelstein, and Cockburn
By Alan M. Dershowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 13, 2005

Remember Professor Rashid Khalidi? He is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University and director of its Middle East Institute. He is a big part of Columbia’s anti-Israel problem, having infamously said, among other hateful utterances, that “the tragedy of September 11 was a godsend” to “American Likudniks and their Israeli counterparts” because it “enabled them to draft the United States to help fight Israel’s enemies.”[1] Now a serious charge of plagiarism has been leveled against Khalidi. This gives rise to a challenge not only to Columbia, but also to his triumvirate of anti-Israel supporters who commonly use the nuclear charge of “plagiarism” against their ideological enemies.

For more than 20 years the terrible triumvirate of Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, and Alexander Cockburn have been falsely accusing pro-Israel writers of plagiarism and related academic offenses.[2] I have been the most recent target of the selective vitriol. They have accused me of plagiarism for quoting Mark Twain and other well-known figures­whose quotes appear in my book within quotation marks and properly cited to their original source. Their absurd accusation is that I should have cited these quotes not to their original source but rather to the secondary source in which ­they erroneously claim ­I first came across them. No one but anti-Israel zealots takes these biased charges seriously, as evidenced by the fact that not only was I cleared of all such charges by Harvard (after I brought them to the attention of the dean and president), but recently the dean awarded me a prize for “exceptional scholarship” for my current book Rights from Wrongs.

Now, a serious charge of real plagiarism has been leveled at one of the triumvirate’s favorite anti-Israel professors­ Rashid Khalidi. According to Solomonia, a website,[3] the offending article is an online essay entitled, “Jerusalem, A Concise History,” by Rashid Khalidi. Khalidi’s essay was copied from a nearly identical essay by K.J. Asali without attribution or quotation marks. For example, here is what Khalidi purported to author:

“The oldest recorded name of the city, ‘Urusalem’ is Amoritic. ‘Shalem’ or ‘Salem’ is the name of a Canaanite-Amorite god; ‘uru’, means ‘founded by.’ The names of the two oldest rulers of the city, Saz Anu and Yaqir Ammo, were identified by the American archaeologist W.F. Albright as Amoritic. The Amorites had the same language as the Canaanites and were of the same Semitic stock. Many historians believe that they were an offshoot of the Canaanites, who came originally from the Arabian Peninsula. The Bible concurs that the Amorites are the original people of the land of Canaan.

“Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem.
Thy birth and thy origin are of the land
of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite,
and thy mother a Hittite.
(Ezekiel, 16:1)

“In the second millenium BC, Jerusalem was inhabited by the Jebusites, a Canaanite tribe, and the culture of the city was Canaanite. The Jebusites built a fortress, ‘Zion’, in Jerusalem. Zion is a Canaanite word meaning ‘hill’ or ‘height.’”[4]

Here is the original by Asali from which Khalidi obviously copied without attribution:

“Indeed, the oldest name of the city ‘Urusalem’ is Amoritic. ‘Salem’ or ‘Shalem’ was the name of a Canaanite-Amorite god, while ‘uru’ simply meant ‘founded by.’ The names of the two oldest rulers of the city, Saz Anu and Yaqir Ammo, were identified by the American archaeologist W. F. Albright as Amoritic. The Amorites, according to the Bible, are the original people of the land of Canaan. They had the same language as the Canaanites and were of the same Semitic stock. Many historians believe that the Amorites are an offshoot of the Canaanites who came originally from the Arabian Peninsula. In this regard it is apt to quote the Bible (Ezekiel:1 6):

Thus say the Lord God to Jerusalem. Your Origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites, your father was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite.

“In the second millennium, Jerusalem was inhabited by the Jebusites. In the Bible the Jebusites are considered to be Canaanites. It was the Jebusites who first built the fortress Zion in the town. Zion is a Canaanite word which means ‘hill’ or ‘height.’”[5]

There are numerous additional instances of verbatim copying in the Khalidi essay.

When Khalidi was caught, he immediately took his name off the article and substituted the following attribution: “Compiled by ACJ [American Committee on Jerusalem, of which Khalidi was president] from a variety of sources.” But for the nearly four years before he was caught, Khalidi claimed authorship of the plagiarized essay.[6] No one can seriously deny that the Khalidi essay is copied from the Asali essay. Khalidi apparently defends the plagiarism as being “mistakenly attributed to me by the defunct website of a defunct organization,”[7] but he does not explain how such a mistake could have endured for so many years until it was caught and exposed by a journalist. Nor does he explain how he can deflect responsibility from himself by blaming an organization of which he was president!

Although this charge against an anti-Israel academic is far more serious than any leveled by the triumvirate against pro-Israel writers, I predict that Finkelstein will not examine it, Chomsky will not complain about it, and Cockburn will not publicize it. Nor will they demand sanctions against their ideological soul-mate, as they have against me and other pro-Israel writers. The same double standard that is directed against Israel by these selective condemners is also directed against pro-Israel academics.

So here is my challenge to the triumvirate: apply the same standards to Khalidi that you have to pro-Israel writers. Apply the same scrutiny to his anti-Israel writings that you routinely apply to pro-Israel writers. Demand the same sanctions against Khalidi that you have against pro-Israel writers. Or admit that you are guilty of hypocrisy and a double standard. I await your response, but I am not holding my breath.

And here is my challenge to Columbia: investigate the charges against Khalidi and make a determination based on the objective standards of proper citation and attribution. Then announce your findings to the public.

Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard. His latest book is The Case For Peace (Wiley Aug 2005).

Notes:

[1] Rashid Khalidi, “Attack Iraq? The real reasons and the likely consequences of the next war,” In These Times, January 27, 2003, accessible at http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/a ... tack_iraq/.
[2] See Alan Dershowitz, “The Hazards of Making The Case for Israel,” JBooks.com, May 2005, accessible at http://www.jbooks.com/interviews/index/ ... howitz.htm.
[3] See Solomonia, June 8, 2005, accessible at http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archives/006010.shtml.
[4] “Jerusalem, A Concise History,” accessible in its current form at http://www.acj.org/resources/khalidi/c_history.htm.
[5] K.J. Asali, “Jerusalem In History: Notes on the Origins of the City and Its Tradition of Tolerance,” Arab Studies Quarterly, vol. 16, no. 4, Fall 1994, accessible at http://www.al-bushra.org/jerusalem1/jerhist.htm. (Endnotes omitted.)
[6] The article with the Khalidi byline can be accessed at http://web.archive.org/web/200102272111 ... istory.htm , courtesy of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine ( http://www.archive.org/web/web.php).
[7] Elizabeth O’Neill, “The Complaint Against Rashid Khalidi,” History News Network, June 17, 2005, accessible at http://hnn.us/articles/12508.html.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 13, 2005 11:24 am

Ralph wrote:I hate Barney, that purple imbecilic creature.
You shouldn't. He's one of two things that keeps PBS/CPB from getting the axe they so richly deserve.
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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:34 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:I hate Barney, that purple imbecilic creature.
You shouldn't. He's one of two things that keeps PBS/CPB from getting the axe they so richly deserve.
*****

So dahlin', what's the other?
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Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:54 pm

Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:I hate Barney, that purple imbecilic creature.
You shouldn't. He's one of two things that keeps PBS/CPB from getting the axe they so richly deserve.
*****

So dahlin', what's the other?
Why, Sesame Street, of course. Barney and SS are the twin babysitting programs that have wormed deeply into the fabric of America. No law-maker dare vote against them to get to the likes of Bill Moyers, or even to liberate the enormously profitable CTW from the public trough.
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Post by pizza » Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:46 am

Edward Said's Georgetown Toady
By Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 15, 2005

Georgetown University may be one of the few places on earth where someone can build an entire academic career based upon sucking up to the late Edward Said's corpse. Edward Said had been a Professor of English Literature at Columbia University, but is better known for his open support for terrorism, his denunciations of the PLO for not practicing violence ENOUGH, for his endorsements of violence against Jews and even his participation in rock throwing at Jews, and for his misrepresentation of himself as someone who knows something about "Orientalism" or Middle East scholarship. In reality, Said had no credentials at all as a Middle East scholar, a slight matter that never prevented him from defaming the acknowledged leading experts in that field. Said was an Egyptian who liked to pretend to be a Palestinian, and much of his career was devoted to spreading autobiographical disinformation.

Shilling for Said has become a fashionable career on many college campuses in the US. The misnamed Middle East Studies Association is essentially a lobby group for Said's notions. "Peace Studies" professors on US campuses often indoctrinate hapless students in Said's "ideas". Nevertheless, Andrew N. Rubin seems to be unique.

Rubin has quite literally built virtually his entire academic career upon shilling for Edward Said. Rubin's vita is crawling with Said-cheerleading. Like Said, Rubin teaches English literature, and – again like Said – Rubin has no credentials at all that could qualify him as an expert on Middle East history and politics. Said could at least read Arabic, while Rubin is little more than an anti-Israel Jewish Marxist. The closest Rubin ever gets to anything Arabic is when his Bash-Israel and Bash-America articles get published in the Holocaust-Denying anti-Jewish Egyptian daily, al-Ahram.

Rubin is an untenured assistant professor of English at Georgetown University. He also holds a M.A. in Critical Theory (which is academic Newspeak for Marxism) from the University of Sussex. He holds a PhD from Columbia's English Department, still haunted by Edward Said's ghost. Rubin's greatest "academic" achievement seems to be that he co-edited with one Moustafa Bayoumi (an English prof at Brooklyn College, and another Said toady), the "Edward Said Reader". Most of Rubin's vita consists of sycophantic articles about Said, including "Techniques of Trouble: Edward Said and the Dialectics of Cultural Philology," “Intellectual Giant - Edward Said: Criticism and Theory," in the PLO-controlled Journal of Palestine Studies and “Edward W. Said (1935-2003)” in Arab Studies Quarterly (Fall 2004). Rubin also likes to sing Said's praises while on the lecture circuit.

Now Edward Said may have known a thing or two about English literature back when he was still lecturing students at Columbia, but it was only in his own mind and in those of people like Rubin that Said was any sort of Middle East historian or expert. While singing Said's praises as his main form of academic "research", Rubin also feels no hesitation to bash true acknowledged experts and world-class writers on the Middle East, and especially Fouad Ajami. Like Said, Rubin the English professor dislikes Ajami because Ajami is an Arab who is partly pro-Israel and decidedly anti-terror.

Rubin is active in a number of groups and journals devoted to demonizing Israel and bashing America, and he is director of at least one. Rubin single-handedly runs the International Coalition of Academics Against Occupation. This is an anti-American propaganda outfit devoted to spreading the ludicrous invention by Rubin that the United States went a deliberate campaign of assassinating Iraqi intellectuals. This fraudulent claim by Rubin has by now been reprinted by numerous media outfits around the world. Rubin's "evidence" that the Americans (in some places he says it was really Israeli Mossad agents) were running around Iraq murdering intellectuals is apparently that some Iraqi Ba'athist followers of Saddam, the sorts of people who lop off heads of captives, told Rubin this was so. Rubin has been working at collecting a list of signatories to his petition against these imaginary assassinations. His list includes Noam Chomsky, Joseph Mossad, and people of similar orientation.

Over the past year, Rubin has published his fairy tales about these imaginary assassinations under titles such as "The Slaughter of Iraq's Intellectuals" - among other places - in the British New Statesman. There Rubin writes:

" Since the occupation began, some 200 leading Iraqi academics, most of them in the humanities and social sciences, have been killed. Is the CIA responsible?... Control, intimidation, and even murder of Iraqi intellectuals, professors, lecturers and teachers has become more or less systematic since the US-led invasion of Iraq began in March 2003.... Some allege it is Mossad, the Israeli secret service, which obviously has an interest in a weak and possibly theocratic Iraq - the better to declare Arabs undemocratically minded terrorists. ("It's not personal; it's business," one professor in Baghdad says of Mossad's possible motives.)"

Evidently what stimulated Rubin's powers of imagination in fabricating these "assassinations" was the American-initiated campaign of de-Ba'athisation in Iraq, whereby Ba'ath loyalists were dismissed from many positions of authority and power after Saddam was toppled, including some in the universities. "Yet the US repression of academics was less about protecting academic freedom than a kind of American McCarthyism abroad," opines Rubin.

Rubin then goes on to defend the curriculum of totalitarian Baathist propaganda that was proliferated by these "universities" back when Saddam was in control, no doubt very similar to what iscurrently being taught in the Georgetown University Department of English. Rubin's take is this: "Yet despite the tyranny exercised over Iraqi society by Saddam Hussein, the university classroom was (some professors often claim) a relatively autonomous space for learning and instruction, where professors, lecturers and students could be openly critical. They could even criticise the government." Sure, and we bet Rubin was told this was so by at least one Ba'athist primary source! We sure hope the tenure committee at Georgetown University is listening!

When not toadying for Edward Said and the Iraqi Ba'athists, Rubin also toadies for Yassir Arafat, and authored a sycophantic piece praising the arch-terrorist when Arafat graciously croaked. Rubin's writings are featured on the PLO's web pages and Rubin publishes in the Journal of Palestine Studies. The Middle East Quarterly describes the Journal of Palestine Studies as a "PLO propaganda organ disguised as an academic journal; for example, it routinely refers to the creation of Israel as an-Nakba (‘catastrophe' in Arabic)." Orbis, Fall 1988, p. 637, describes the Institute of Palestine Studies, publisher of the Journal of Palestine Studies, as "an arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization."

Rubin also turns out anti-Israel and anti-American articles for Egypt's al-Ahram. In one such piece, he bashes Israel for daring to build a security fence designed to prevent Arab mass murderers from murdering Jewish civilians. He lists assorted pseudo-statistics about how many Palestinians have been inconvenienced by the wall, but with never a single mention of the reason why Israel was building the wall in the first place: the long history of atrocities conducted against Israeli civilians by the PLO and its affiliates. That piece is reprinted in Counterpunch this week, since Alexander C*o*c*k*burn can never resist the impulse to publish self-hating, bash-Israel leftist Jewish toadies for terrorism.

In the same piece, Rubin comes up with a "peace plan". After repeating Said's statements about how autonomy for Palestinians would amount to "Bantustans" (and after a hundred years of atrocities, who says the Palestinians even have a moral right to a Bantustan?), Rubin adds: ""Nations could impose a 'Human Rights Tax' on companies contracted to supply goods (bulldozers for example) and services to the Israeli government's efforts to build and reinforce the wall. It may serve as a kind of prelude to what appears to be a growing and globally orchestrated movement to divest from Israel so long as it continues its illegal occupation and refuses to remove the wall in its existing form." How about a human rights tax on any companies doing business with Georgetown University Department of English, which we all know is situated on occupied Indian land?

Rubin was one of the American academics to rally to support Columbia's jihadnik professor Joseph Massad when the latter was under investigation for his open anti-Semitism and classroom misbehavior. Rubin published an open letter on a PLO-run web site denouncing Congressman Weiner when the latter criticized Massad and supported the need to investigate him. Rubin writes there:

"I have known Professor Joseph Massad for ten years personally and have read many of his incisive books, essays, and articles that have widely expanded our knowledge of the historical sources and effects of Zionism in this world, and I find your charges of anti-Semitism against him dishonest, defamatory, and even barbaric in its conflation of the criticism of various forms and practices of various Zionist ideologies with the hatred of and the discrimination against Jews.... You will, I assure you, find nothing anti-Jewish about his work, rather a strong-minded and razor-sharp analysis and criticism of the emergence and practice of different forms of Zionist ideologies and Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; its attempt to militarily, politically and physically destroy a population of human beings living since 1948 as refugees and exiles – and under military occupation for over 35 years."

Split infinitives are hardly Rubin's biggest sin.

So little time, so many objects of Rubin's pro-jihad toadying! In that same letter, Rubin declares, "Like you, I am an American-Jew and condemn anti-semitism wherever I see it." The only problem is that the only place where Rubin is capable of seeing it is in Israel's efforts to defend its civilians against the Islamofascist terrorists that Rubin supports and serves.

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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:59 pm

Good. Let's put the spotlight on Georgetown and leave poor Columbia alone for a while.
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