Middle East studies in the News
Christmas Hotel Scion: Professor Nadia Abu El-Haj of Barnard College [on Nadia Abu El-Haj, incls. MEALAC, Hamid Dabashi, Rashid Khalidi]
by Jerry Gordon
Here's an interesting tidbit about embattled Barnard College Professor Nadia Abu El-Haj.
Professor Abu El-Haj's family owns the Christmas Hotel in East Jerusalem and the family are Christians. .Muslims, Jews and Chrisians in the Middle East use Haj with the same meaning-pilgrims.
The Christmas Hotel is located at 1 Ali Ibn Abi Talib Street in Jerusalem , near the central marketplace.
From the pictures on the Palestine Hotels website looks quite charming with 38 guest rooms and common areas renovated in 1998.
But events that occur there and guests who stay there are hardly charming.
Witness this news report from January, 2006.
"… On Monday, Israeli police broke up a political gathering of Fatah supporters in Jerusalem but made no arrests, police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. "There was a political meeting at the Christmas Hotel. As such things are forbidden by law, we asked those present to leave, which they did," he said".
The Christmas Hotel has also been a watering hole for meetings of PASSIA - the PR arm of the Palestinian Authority that runs the Jerusalem Media Center as the ‘minders' of foreign journalists.
Among the guests at the Christmas Hotel was Columbia MEALAC faculty member caught up in the famed "Columbia Unbecoming" film episode of the David project circa 2002-2005: Hamid Dabashi. Here is an excerpt of Dabashi's anti-Semitic rhetoric during a visit at the hotel.
Another fellow traveling guest at the Christmas Hotel was anti-Israel journalist Helena Cobban who wrote in a similar vein about her experience as guest there.
Cobban became notorious when she falsely accused Prime Minister Sharon of plotting a massive ethnic cleansing "Forced deportation of Palestinians from the occupied territories" at the start of the Iraq war.
Among the Middle Eastern Christians who identify with the Muslims who have oppressed and abused Christians for centuries, we have the late revered Columbia literature professor and author of the ground breaking work "Orientalism" Edward Said. Said was caught in a photo op tossing rocks at IDF soldiers from the southern Lebanon side of the border in the late 1990's as a Palestinian National Council ex-patriate representative akin to another Muslim member of the Columbia Middle East Institute faculty, Rashid Khalidi. But, then there is controversial Professor Joseph Massad of the embattled MEALAC Columbia faculty who is both Christian and openly gay.
One wonders how long he would last in Gaza as both a Christian and a gay under the fundamentalist Hamas overlords.
But then there are other prominent Arab Christians and Palestinian nationalists that include the late George Habash, co-founder of the Marxist PFLP wing of the PLO and sponsor of anti-Israel terrorism.
Then, there was the late Yassir Arafat's PLO spokesperson, Hanan Ashwari, who was an ‘item' on American college campuses in the U.S. until the election of the Hamas government in January, 2006. You remember her making statements like: "suicide bombers were the poor man's F-16?"
But among Palestinian Arab clergy we have other leading nationalists and dhimms: Rev. Michael Sabbagh the Latin patriarch representative of the Vatican in Jerusalem who was caught by Israeli security forces running arms to the PLO in his official vehicle back in the 1970's. We have the infamous Bishop Naim Ateek, Anglican Canon and head of the patently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Sabeel Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem . Then there is the Lutheran Bishop of Jordan and the Holy Land Munib Younans who engages in hateful anti-Semitic images of Israelis. How about the Christian Mayor of mostly Muslim Bethlehem, Dr. Victor Batarseh, an eye surgeon with dual U.S. Palestinian citizenship who was elected in May 2005 on a Hamas ticket.
Then we have the case of the two Palestinians that I wrote of: Mazin Qumsiyeh, formerly of Al Awda and Yale Medical School –another Marxist Christian from Beit Sahour and naturalized American citizen. I once introduced Qumsiyeh to Hebrew University Professor Raphi Israel at a Yale forum by saying they both had something in common. They were both dhimmi under Muslim canon and law. Qumisyeh scoffed. His cousin Samir in Bethlehem district didn't: His Christian TV station there was virtually forced off the air. He viewed with alarm, Islamist thugs seizing Christian property and physically beating or killing them.
Most Christians in the PA territories have fled. Walid Shoebat found more than 250,000 of them in Chile living prosperously when he lectured there in 2005.
So, should we tag Professor Abu El-Haj as a Palestinian American Christian dhimmi akin to Columbia MEALAC Professor Joseph Massad and the late Edward Said?
She would probably dismiss these revelations as ‘irrelevant' just as she did my riposte to her and others at a Columbia University panel forum on Israel apartheid when I raised the matter of the almost one million Mizrahi Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands.
Doubtless we shall hear more from Professor Abu El-Haj as her Barnard College tenure kerfuffle continues.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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