Middle East studies in the News
Conservatives Criticize Columbia University's Sponsorship of Militant Palestinian Film Festival
Columbia College Conservative Club
January 22, 2003
For Immediate Release
NEW YORK, NY – January 22, 2003
From January 24 to January 27, 2003, the Columbia University Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) will be hosting an anti-Israel film festival, euphemistically entitled "Dreams of a Nation." While purportedly simply pro-Palestinian, the organizers of this festival reject the legitimate existence of Israel. The official poster for the event (which can be found at http://www.dreamsofanation.org/ ) shows the entirety of Israel, including the officially recognized 1948 areas, as Palestine. This rejectionist attitude exists in many of the films including "Haifa," "Chronicle of a disappearance," and "Blanche's Homeland," which oppose Israel's existence and call for Arab migration to "Zionist controlled territory." Other films, including "Milky Way," support the "struggle" of Israeli Arabs against the Israeli government. Finally, "Jenin, Jenin" spreads the myth, disproved by UN Reports, of the supposed Jenin Massacre. 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.
It should be inconceivable that a university department would support projects that call for the destruction of a democratic nation allied to the US. Sadly, this is simply the latest example of the endemic anti-Zionism and apology of Islamist and politically correct terrorism in MEALAC. This department, whose members spent the last decade downplaying the "myth" of Islamist Terrorism, while embracing Edward Said (an ex-member of a recognized terrorist organization), considers any requests that they repay taxpayer support with support and advice regarding America's national interest and survival in time of war as jingoistic. However, MEALAC has now shown that it will support a nationalist cause, so long as the groups it supports or apologizes for, including the PLO, attack an ally of the US and have engaged in terrorism against Americans.
The issue goes far beyond a simple request for balance. MEALAC would never support a pro-Israel film festival. Rather, the issue is of a department taking a partisan stance in international affairs and indoctrinating students in a wide-ranging but one-sided series. Functionally, Columbia (one of America's finest universities) funds a department that apologizes for terrorists and calls for the destruction of an ally of the United States.
It is time that ideological balance and diversity is brought to this monolithically Arabist and Third Worldist
Department. We call for an end of the McCarthyite attacks on academics deemed "Orientalist" or Zionist by the leftist clique that dominates Columbia MEALAC and related institutions around the country.
We call on Columbia University to hold a pro-Israel film festival to counter the partisan nature of the MEALAC event. Finally, we ask that the university rescind the Edward Said Chair in Middle Eastern History, whose benefactors the university refuses to disclose.
It is time for Columbia University to live up to its name and to uphold the ideals of a balanced, liberal education.
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