Middle East studies in the News
Columbia Has Come To Stand For Terrorism, Genocide [incl. Nicholas De Genova]
by Herb Denenberg
I want to introduce you to a group of faculty members at Columbia University, considered one of the great institutions of higher learning in America, and one of the elite Ivy League. I've written many columns on our colleges and universities and how they have become centers of anti-American values and hate-America faculty, along with centers of anti-military, anti-conservative, pro-communist, racist and bigoted approaches. They are often no longer in the business of teaching but now specialize in indoctrination of their own political views. But it occurred to me the message might best be communicated by going to one of our leading institutions and meeting some of the professors, their values, their teaching methods, and their ideologies.
As my source on these professors I rely principally on David Horowitz's classic on the subject, a book titled The Professors. Mr. Horowitz not only documents what goes on at our colleges and universities, but his Freedom Center has led a campaign to establish an academic bill of rights and to return colleges and universities to their rightful role as centers of open inquiry rather than centers of indoctrination. He has already had some success in his reform efforts as described in another one of his books on this subject titled Indoctrination U. For more details you might also go to one of his web sites at www.Horowitzfreedomcenter.org.
For openers, meet a Columbia University professor who is all too typical of others at Columbia and throughout higher education — a professor who thoroughly hates America and cheers for its enemies. Professor Nicholas De Genova is in the anthropology department. At an anti-Iraq War rally he told 3,000 Columbia students, "The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military."
He also called for "a million Mogadishus," the U.S. military debacle in Somalia that cost 18 Americans their lives. In other words, this great Columbia University patriot is calling for the slaughter of 18 million American soldiers.
As you might suspect, the Columbia University view of patriotism is — shall we say — strange. Professor De Genova told the anti-Iraq War rally "U.S. patriotism is inseparable from imperial warfare and white supremacy. U.S. flags are the emblem of the invading war machine in Iraq today. They are the emblem of the occupying power."
Professor De Genova hates America and, of course, hates its allies. At a Columbia teach-in he told students, "The heritage of the Holocaust belongs to the Palestinian people. The State of Israel has no claim to the heritage of the Holocaust. The heritage of the oppressed belongs to the oppressed, not the oppressor." So in one stroke, this professor claims, in effect, there was no heritage of the Holocaust for the Jews and in addition suggests that the Israelis are not oppressed even though they have been subjected to an invasion by all its Arab neighbors in 1948, even though they have been subjected to Arab wars since then, and even though they have been subjected to endless acts of terrorism and have been targeted for obliteration and extermination by continual pronouncements coming from Palestinian officials, mosques, schools, and media.
With that background, you'll be reassured to know that Professor De Genova's current research is focused on the "Homeland Security State" and the "War on Terrorism."
You'll also be reassured to know that anti-Americanism, racism, bigotry and all the other radical ideologies find a welcome home at Columbia University and don't even generate a note of criticism from the administration of that institution.
I told you the faculty has a strange view of patriotism, so let me introduce Professor Eric Foner of the history department. Right after 3,000 Americans died in the 9/11 atrocity, here's what Professor Foner had to say, "I'm not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulphed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House."
But that's just for the warm-up. Consider Professor Foner's model of patriotism. It is the Communist Party icon Paul Robeson. Dr. Foner explained his view, "I refuse to cede the definition of American patriotism to George W. Bush. I have a different definition of patriotism which comes from Paul Robeson: ‘The patriot is the person who is never satisfied with his country.'"
You'll recall Robeson won the Stalin Peace Prize (the equivalent of the Hitler Kindness Prize) and proclaimed during the Cold War that "American Negroes" would not fight to defend America in a war against the Soviet Union. You'll also recall that although patriots may want to make their country better, the essence of patriotism is love of your country, not the willingness to criticize it or be unhappy with it.
Professor Foner also participated in the anti-Iraq war and was preceded on the podium by Professor De Genova and apparently was in the spirit that proclaims the true heroes are those that try to defeat America. Professor Foner, the historian, sees in American history the reason for hostility to it.
With that attitude toward America, you can guess what kind of history textbooks he writes. The liberal intellectual historian John Diggins wrote, "Foner is both an unabashed apologist for the Soviet system and an unforgiving historian of America." Historian William Draper said that Professor Foner's history of America is written as if it were "the story of unfreedom." Mr. Draper also described Professor Foner's narrative as "a tale of hopeful efforts20that failed and of dissident voices that cried out in the wilderness." Mr. Draper says a distinctive feature of Professor Foner's history is an attempt "to rehabilitate American Communism." Mr. Draper summed up: "From [Foner's] account it would be hard to understand why so many millions of immigrants should have come to the United States for more freedom."
The views of the Columbia faculty are bad enough but what is worse is that many of them think it is their job to indoctrinate students with the ideology of the faculty. For example, meet Professor Gil Anidjar of the comparative literature department. He believes that a professor is not supposed to lead his students in a dispassionate search for truth. Instead, the professor is supposed to recruit students to his political causes. He believes that his merging of activism and pedagogy is evidence of his "support for academic freedom." In the course of a speech making that point, he did say, "I fear I am beginning to sound like a raving lunatic." He's finally right on one point.
Anidjar is most active in campus anti-Israel activity. During Columbia's "National Day of Action Against Israeli Apartheid," Professor Anidjar led a campus conference to deny Columbia from any dealing with Israel. At another anti-Israel gathering at Columbia, Anidjar said that anti-Israel stance "is — or it should be — the struggle of all students and all teachers, of all adjuncts and lecturers, or untenured as well as — believe me — tenured faculty."
Racism and bigotry of Hitler-like proportions is fine and dandy for Columbia faculty. Meet Professor Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Islamic studies and Asian languages and culture. He condemns all Israelis — men, women, and children — as cold-blooded and physically repulsive oppressors … [A] half century of systematic maiming and murdering of another people [that] has left its deep marks on the faces of these people, the way they talk, the way they walk, the way they handle objects, the way they greet each other, the way they look at the world."
Professor Dabashi claims that Israeli Jews have a congenital predisposition toward brutality: "There is an endemic prevarication to this machinery, a vulgarity of character that is bone-deep and structural to the skeletal vertebrae of its culture." This is not borderline racism. It's as gross and obvious as racism can get.
Despite this Hitler-like racism, there's not a purr of protest from Columbia. Horowitz writes, in an entry on Dabashi, "Yet there has been no Columbia University administrative response to Dabashi's publication of such views about Jews. This is a striking double standard for a university administration that otherwise is ready to act quickly and harshly against any violation of ‘sensitivity towards others.'"
Professor Dabashi is not content to demonize Israelis. He denounces even supporters of Israel's right to exist as "warmongers" and "Gestapo apparatchiks." He goes on to call the Jewish state a nest of "thuggery" and a "ghastly state of racism and apartheid" which "must be dismantled."
When critics say Professor Dabashi is engaging in anti-Semitism he claims he is only critiquing the Israeli government. He never misses a chance to criticize Israel even as he never misses a chance to get his facts wrong. At one of the endless anti-Israel rallies on the Columbia campus, he likened Israel's presence in Jenin to the Nazi conduct of the Holocaust. As the world now knows, there was no massacre in Jenin, there was no Holocaust in Jenin, and there was only a careful self-defensive measure by Israel that produced few civilian casualties. As is so often the case, however, the standard fabrications of the Palestinians about casualties and massacres were accepted at face value, without being checked.
His hatred of Israel has no bounds, and neither does his hatred of America. The Iranian-born professor claims that the American regime is actually more oppressive than the dictatorial Middle Eastern regimes the U.S. opposes. He claims the USA Patriot Act and related legislation create political conditions worse than those found in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He said, "In [Iran] there is a democratically elected government. If you ask me, [President] Khatami has more clear legitimacy than Bush does."
The Columbia professors are not content to undermine our efforts to fight our enemies abroad. They also want to stir up unrest and even revolt at home. Meet Professor Manning Marable of the history and political science department. He is a lifelong Marxist and member of the Communist Party faction that Professors Angela Davis, Bettina Aptheker and Harry Targ belong to. Professor Marable advocates "black resistance" as the only antidote to the "inherent racism" of American society. As we've just seen, our inherently racist society just elected a black president.
Professor Marable has denounced the master narrative that says America is a pluralistic society. He claims America is "organized around structural racism" and "the ongoing racial stigmatization and systematic exploitation of a significant segment of the population." And now get Professor Marable's solution. It's the "subversion of the master narrative itself, which must involve to a great extent the deconstruction of the legitimacy of white racial identity, and the uncovering and examination of massive crimes against humanity that have been routinely sanctioned and carried out by corporate and state power."
This deconstruction of white racial identity and mobilization of black resistance is not left to the professors alone. Columbia has established a Center for Black Contemporary History to seek the "advancement of political projects that actively challenge structural racism and the consequences and effects of discrimination."
It gets better. The Columbia Center and Professor Marable have teamed up with the NAACP and the Mississippi Black Legislative Caucus to mobilize college-age students to repeal "repressive voter laws" which allegedly diminish the Democratic vote. The repressive laws that the group targeted for repeal are the ones that deny convicted felons the right to vote. In other words, the great power of Columbia University is fully mobilized to give felons the right to vote. Felons, terrorists, racists, and bigots, remember Columbia University is for you.
Professor Marable has also concluded the American criminal justice system is irredeemably racist because American society is "defined by rigid racial hierarchies." The "academic" sources for this theory of criminal justice are "black scholars, artists, and public intellectuals" including convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
The master key to all these problems is converting the white middle class in particular and whites in general to recognize that white privilege perpetuates inequality for millions of Americans. So what Professor Marable calls for is the indoctrination students "of privileged background" of the "meaning and reality of hunger and poverty" to "create and nourish" in them "a commitment to a society committed to social justice … and foster impatience with all forms of human inequality, whether based on gender, sexual orientation, or race … and empower those without power."
At Columbia, as you might sense by now, all rules of humanity, of decency, of civilization, of morality and of religion mean nothing in the quest for the sick ideology of the faculty and the university. Just to round out the picture, let me introduce Professor Joseph Massad of the department of Arab politics and intellectual history. He calls for the destruction of Israel, so genocide goes. Needless to say, Professor Massad enthusiastically endorses terrorism and the slaughter of civilians. The Palestinian terrorists don't distinguish between civilians and military targets. Neither does Professor Massad. He stresses that the "resistance of Palestinians" has to extend to "civil institutions" (meaning women, children, hospitals, schools and everyone and everything else). He salutes Palestinian terrorists who plot genocide and slaughter of civilians as "anti-colonial resisters."
So if you want a good course on Israel and Israeli politics, you might not want Professor Massad as your teacher. But that's exactly what you'd get at Columbia. In his entry on this professor in the book The Professors, David Horowitz writes,
"An observer uninitiated in the rituals of the modern university might suppose that Professor Massad's savage enmity towards Israel, his expressed rejection of its right to exist as a nation, his support for violence against Israeli civilians and his many egregious errors in scholarship — to say nothing of his biased view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict —would be sufficient to disqualify him from teaching about the Jewish state. Not at Columbia. After all, Professor Massad teaches in a program to which one of the senior members, Professor Hamid Dabashi, has publicly written the physical bodies of Israeli Jews are in their very structure evil."
And if you can handle another shock or two here are some more:
• Columbia is still considered one of the great universities of America.
• Columbia is getting worse, not better. Mr. Horowitz's book was published in 2006, but since then Columbia sunk a notch lower in the educational cesspool by honoring and inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver a speech to the university community. But, as we've seen, Columbia is already firmly on the side of terrorism, genocide, the slaughter of civilians and everything Mr. Ahmadinejad stands for.
• Columbia has nine entries in Mr. Horowitz's book on the professors, and many of them not only are respected at Columbia but also are leaders of their professional associations.
• Columbia may be on of the worst examples of what's happening at our colleges and universities, but it's only exceptional in the severity of the problem there. What you've seen at Columbia can be found at many colleges and universities.
• Our own area is no exception. Check Mr. Horowitz's book and you'll find professors from the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, Temple, Villanova, Arcadia and Rutgers.
• The ideology taught and indoctrinated at Columbia and elsewhere is not only dangerous in itself, but it poses what might be an even more serious threat. Our colleges and universities are becoming institutions that indoctrinate rather than teach and they are producing students that will be ill-equipped to be good citizens in a democracy.
What can you do to fight this trend? First, get informed. You might start by reading two of Mr. Horowitz's books on the subject, The Professors and Indoctrination U. Then get involved with groups working toward educational reform such as Mr. Horowitz's Freedom Center (www.horowitzfreedomcenter.org). When enrolling someone in a college or university, go into some of the issues raised in this column. I'd say you'd have to be crazy to send anyone to Columbia. Graduates and others who contribute to Columbia should cut off their contributions immediately, and graduates who pay membership dues to the Columbia Alumni Association, should stop doing so. When these schools get government funds, call this problem to the attention of your elected representatives. When you've got major institutions that seem to embrace those that hate America and embrace bigotry, racism, terrorism and genocide, you've got a serious problem that requires your attention and action.
You might wonder what the 34th president of the United States, Dwight David Eisenhower, once also president of Columbia University, would say if he would visit the University now, and see that it stands for the opposite of what he always stood for and what the U.S. stands for. Yes, Columbia has gone from Eisenhower to racists, bigots, and supporters of terrorism and genocide.
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at email@example.com.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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