columbia university

Activists are fighting back against Columbia University’s anti-Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda and intimidation of Jewish and pro-Israel students. 

By: United with Israel Staff

Columbia University’s Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS), has for years been criticized for its anti-Israel sentiment and academic intimidation of Jewish and pro-Israel students.

MESAAS’ professors have openly supported the anti-Israel BDS (Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions) campaign, endorsed anti-Israel petitions and resolution, denied Israel’s right to exist and called for the destruction of the Jewish state. They have even expressed blunt anti-Semitic views.

The faculty members include Hamid Dabashi, who was investigated following accusations of anti-Semitism and who equated Israeli policies with those of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group and Nazi Germany. He has also expressed support for violent anti-Israel protests and demonized Israel on social media.

Dabashi blamed Israel for “every dirty treacherous ugly and pernicious act happening in the world” and called Israel and the US “hyenas.”

Another faculty member, Rashid Khalidi, acted as the spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) when it was listed as a designated foreign terrorist organization. He claimed that the Hezbollah and Hamas terror groups are not a “direct threat to the United States.”

He also warned in a radio interview in January 2017 that supporters of Israel would “infest” the US government after President Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

Timothy Mitchell signed the “Columbia University Apartheid Divest: Faculty Petition,” authored by Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD).

Gil Anidjar argued that “the last Semites and the only Semites” are Arabs, and claimed that “the Arabs have become the race that is still attached to its religion, whereas the Jews have in fact become Western Christians and therefore are no longer marked, neither by race nor by religion”.

He further referred to Israel as a “colonial enterprise” and a “colonial settler state.”

Gil Hochberg described the establishment of Israel as “coordinated Zionist attacks on Palestinian villages aimed at Judaizing strategic parts of the country,and she accused Israel of genocide.

Activists have protested this unacceptable phenomenon. Not only do Columbia University officials stand by them, but they continue to hire professors with well-documented histories of demonizing Israel and the Jewish people.

These professors freely spread their hateful propaganda without leaving any room for balanced opinions or proper debate.

By doing so, Columbia has essentially conveyed a clear and disheartening message that any student who takes a class on the Middle East at MESAAS is guaranteed to be bombarded with one-sided anti-Semitic, anti-Israel propaganda.

Stopantisemitism.org, active against campus anti-Semitism, has launched a petition calling on Columbia University to “condemn anti-Semitism, to remove professors who bluntly promote anti-Israel propaganda, and to hire professors who will provide their students with balanced and objective views of the Middle East and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and will teach them to respect other cultures and religions, such as Judaism.”

They also demanded that Columbia publicly disclose the annual amounts that the university in general, and MESAAS in particular, receive from foreign foundations or from American foundations funded by foreign foundations.

Notorious for its Anti-Jewish Atmosphere

Columbia University is notorious for its anti-Jewish atmosphere,and experienced the highest overall anti-Semitic activity in 2016 among more than 100 US schools studied.

According to the second annual report on the subject by the AMCHA Initiative, a California-based non-profit that investigates, documents and combats anti-Semitism, Columbia also had the largest increase in such episodes, with 29 more incidents in 2016 than in the previous year.

In total, the campuses surveyed in the report experienced a 40-percent spike in anti-Semitic behavior, with 433 incidents recorded in 2016.

A Columbia spokesperson dismissed the facts while stating that “Jewish life and learning is flourishing at Columbia as it has been for decades. This report falsely suggests otherwise by citing allegations of anti-Semitism such as an op-ed in Columbia College’s student newspaper critical of the Israeli government’s policies. Columbia remains committed to freedom of speech, respectful of all members of our diverse community, and vigilant in condemning anti-Semitism.”

However, “Jewish students are bearing the brunt of vast and profound campus intolerance,” lead researcher and AMCHA founder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin said. “Jews are being targeted at heightened levels.”