The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, October 24, 2004

I participate in a political email list at work (which is one reason why I don't post on my blog that much). A few weeks back I pointed to slurs against Jews at anti-war rallies, and noted that the Left seemed to have a problem with anti-Semitism. Several people pooh-poohed this, saying that every political persuasion has its nutcases. (One fellow from Ireland pointed to the Ku Klux Klan, which as far as I can tell is a bogeyman rather than a real organization with power. Are there any Klansmen under seventy?)

So I have been collecting instances of left-wing anti-Semitism. Here is the most egregious example I have found:

At a history class, a professor mockingly tells a female Jewish student she cannot possibly have ancestral ties to Israel because her eyes are green.

During a lecture, a professor of Arab politics refuses to answer a question from an Israeli student and military veteran but instead asks the student, "How many Palestinians have you killed?"

At a student meeting on the topic of divestment from Israel, a Jewish student is singled out as responsible for death of Palestinian Arabs.

Those scenes are described by current and former students interviewed for an underground documentary that is causing a frisson of concern to ripple through the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University, where the incidents took place.

The film, about anti-Israel sentiment at the school, has not yet been released to the public, but it has been screened for a number of top officials of Columbia, and talk of its impact is spreading rapidly on a campus where some students have complained of anti-Israel bias among faculty members.

"The movie is shocking," one Columbia senior, Ariel Beery, said.

"It is shocking to see blatant use of racial stereotypes by professors and intimidation tactics by professors in order to push a distinct ideological line on the curriculum," Mr. Beery, who was interviewed for the film, said.


One of the scholars discussed most in the film, according to a person who has seen the film, is Joseph Massad, a non-tenured professor of modern Arab politics, who is teaching a course about Middle East nationalism this fall. Mr. Massad, a professor at Columbia's department of Middle East and Asian languages and cultures, has likened Israel to Nazi Germany and has said Israel doesn't have the right to exist as a Jewish state.

In the film, a former Columbia undergraduate, Tomy Schoenfeld, recalls attending a lecture about the Middle East conflict given by Mr. Massad in spring 2001. At the end of the lecture, Mr. Schoenfeld prefaced a question to the professor by informing Mr. Massad that he was Israeli, Mr. Schoenfeld told The New York Sun. "Before I could continue, he stopped me and said, 'Did you serve in the military?'" Mr. Schoenfeld, who served in the Israeli Air Force between 1996 and 1999, recalled. He said that he told Mr. Massad he had served in the military and that Mr. Massad asked him how many Palestinians he had killed. When Mr. Schoenfeld refused to answer, Mr. Massad said he wouldn't allow him to ask his question.


I think Columbia University is rather more important to American society than the Ku Klux Klan.



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