Middle East studies in the News
All You Need to Know About Joseph Massad of Columbia:
by David Bernstein
Joseph Massad of Columbia, one of the Middle East Studies professors embroiled in a controversy over alleged anti-Semitism, has been promoted to associate professor, though not yet tenured. As I've suggested before, the allegations of anti-Semitism, which are, in part, an attempt by some members of the Jewish community to play the minority-victim card [update: which, admittedly, is how one gets attention from university officials these days; and, of course, such allegations should be treated with the same seriousness as allegations of discriminatory behavior from other groups], are a distraction from the real issue of academic credibility facing Massad and other politicized Middle East Studies professors, at Columbia and elsewhere.
If one needed any fresh evidence of this, one need only consult Massad's recent review of Spielberg's Munich. "Lunatic" would not be too harsh a description of the review. For example,many of us are familiar with the ship "Exodus," made famous by the movie of that name. The ship was one of many ships carrying Holocaust survivors trying to get from Europe to Palestine after World War II, only to be captured by the British and diverted to Cyprus, where the refugees were placed in internment camps. [The actual passengers on The Exodus were sent to internment camps in Germany, but in the movie they may have been sent to Cyprus, were most "illegal" Jewish immigrants were sent]. Here is a handy website detailing the history of the ship and its passengers.
Here is how Massad describes the movie's plot: "Exodus tells the story of the Zionist hijacking of a ship from Cyprus to Palestine by a Zionist Haganah commander." This is analogous to saying that Schindler's List was a movie about Jews taking a working vacation in Poland.
We're all familiar with Holocaust denial; no respectable university would hire a Holocaust denier for its faculty. So why would any elite university like Columbia retain, much less promote, someone who similarly intentionally falsifies Jewish history (indeed, in this case, the history of Holocaust survivors) for political ends? You might think, well maybe Massad just made an error, but I've also noted in the posts linked above other such "errors", which seem to create a consistent pattern. Moreover, Massad has taught a course "Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Societies"; if he is completely ignorant of Israeli (and pre-State Zionist) history, then the course was a fraud; if he is not completely ignorant, than he must know that what he wrote about the Exodus is false.
Martin Kramer writes that "[i]f Edward Said hadn't been pulling all the strings on Morningside Heights, Massad probably would have ended up teaching in a community college." Actually, I can't imagine any self-respecting community college would give him a job.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.
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