Middle East studies in the News
Seven Columbia Professors Who Support Israel Divestment Rated 'Top of the Worst' in New Student Guide [incl. Rashid Khalidi, Joseph Massad, Hamid Dabashi]
by Shiri Moshe
Seven professors who endorsed boycotts against Israel have been identified as "the top of the worst" at Columbia University in New York City, according to a guide shared with students on Thursday.
Thousands of copies of the "Columbia 101" newspaper — which includes a list "of the worst and best professors on campus" — were distributed near the university's main entrances and some halls, a student who requested to remain anonymous told The Algemeiner.
It is currently unclear who wrote and distributed the document, which is also available online.
Seven of the "Bottom 10 Professors" identified by the guide — Rashid Khalidi, Joseph Massad, Hamid Dabashi, Audra Simpson, Gil Anidjar, Katherine Franke, and Josh Whitford — were signatories of a 2016 letter endorsing a campaign by Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), calling on the university to cut ties with companies that "supply, perpetuate, and profit from a system that has subjugated the Palestinian people."
(Over 600 Columbia students, faculty, and alumni responded at the time with a petition condemning CUAD, a position underscored in a subsequent lettersigned by more than 200 Columbia faculty and administrators.)
Notably, the original pro-divestment letter was also signed by Robert Gooding-Williams, Farah Griffin and Mahmood Mamdani, all of whom were named among the top ten professors at the university by "Columbia 101."
The guide — which claims to base its ratings on "student feedback from previous years" — did not mention the professors' support for divestment when explaining their inclusion in either list. Simpson, the anonymous writers noted, was known as "a lovely person," albeit a "dull and hard" professor. Massad was "blunt regarding his opinion on global affairs," they added, and has "made derogatory remarks regarding homosexuality."
Another section of the guide — the "Bottom 3 Student Groups on Campus" — called Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) a "marginally Jewish" organization that "promoted ethically questionable speakers."
JVP helped launch CUAD's campaign last year, along with Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine.
In April, Columbia's student council overwhelmingly rejected CUAD's petition to add an item in support of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to a campus-wide referendum.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
Campus Watch contact e-mail: email@example.com