Middle East studies in the News
Untenable: Bullying Columbia Professor Does not Deserve Lifetime Employment [on Joseph Massad]
There is a deeply disturbing report that Columbia University has granted tenure to a teacher who used his classroom as a platform for propagating offensive teachings about Jews - and bullied his students to boot.
Joseph Massad should have no place on the faculty of a world-class institution of higher learning, let alone a university located in New York. He showed himself to lack the quality of mind and temperament necessary to serve among the Columbia professoriate.
Massad is a Jordanian-born Palestinian who teaches in the department of Middle East and Asian languages and cultures. That he does not belong in Morningside Heights became clear in 2005, when a university investigation concluded he "exceeded commonly accepted bounds" of teaching.
How? By threatening to banish a student who had asked a question that challenged Massad's Israel-is-evil point of view. "If you're going to deny the atrocities being committed against Palestinians, then you can get out of my classroom," he said.
On another occasion, Massad demanded that a student, a former Israeli soldier, tell him how many Palestinians he had killed.
Said to be a scholar of contemporary Arab politics and culture, Massad crosses into lunacy regarding Jews. In one article, he proclaimed that Jews are infected by a mass psychosis that drives them to persecute Palestinians, put Israel's record on a par with Nazi mass murders and said Palestinians are the "real Jews" while Jews are the real anti-Semites.
Although Massad had grossly violated a student's academic freedom, Columbia chose to consider his fitness in its process for granting tenure, or lifetime appointment. Generally, professors leave if they don't get tenure.
In October, there was hope Columbia would dump Massad after Provost Alan Brinkley moved to block his tenure. But now, a crackpot California professor writes on a blog that the university gave Massad its blessings.
In a message addressed "to all the Zionist hoodlums out there," As'ad AbuKhalil wrote that "dear Joseph Massad deservedly received his tenure." This happened, he went on, despite "dirty tricks" and "sinister propaganda" by said Zionist hoodlums.
Columbia would not confirm or deny AbuKhalil's report. If it is correct, President Lee Bollinger and board of trustees Chairman William Campbell have let the university down and owe an apology to New York, most especially its Jewish community.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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