Middle East studies in the News
Massad's Class in Jewish Abrogation
by Martin Solomon
Columbia wanted him, and now they've got him...permanently. Judging from the syllabus for Joseph Massad's class, this sounds like something one might find in any indigenous Middle Eastern institution of higher learner outside of Israel... Here's the blog post from prospective student Daniel Hertz: CMW Class Watch: Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Societies. It's apparently the blog post referred to in this article: Intimidation 101 -
With a skillfully crafted curriculum and required reading list filled to the brim with anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiment, Massad had no intention of teaching history--he planned on rewriting it...
As an engineering student at Columbia, the issue of bias in the classroom has been, for the most part, nonexistent--unfortunately, this is, in my experience, not the case for a significant number of classes in the department of Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS, formerly MEALAC). Despite the constant reminders of professors' one-sided agendas, I have always tried to take as many of these classes as possible. This semester, my curiosity for the subject led me to check out the class titled "Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Society," taught by the renowned Joseph Massad. Although I entered the class with a hopeful outlook, it only took a handful of lectures for Massad to prove so many of his detractors right--he not only made his biases obvious but also embarrassed me in the process...
...Several weeks into the semester, Spectator interviewed me about Campus Media Watch, a Middle East watchdog group I founded at Columbia. After reading the article, I noticed I was incorrectly described as the sole contributor to one of the group's innocuous blog posts regarding Massad. The following day, I attended class for what I thought would be a regular lesson. After a few minutes of friendly banter with Massad, I sat down as he brought order to the class. With the full attention of his students, Massad singled me out and asked several questions about my attendance. Although I tried to clarify that I was still unsure about registration, my explanation was useless --Massad told me to leave his class immediately, explaining that I was in violation of school policy. Confused and embarrassed for being singled out in front of nearly 60 of my peers, I left the class with an uneasy feeling. Over the next few days, many of my former classmates approached me and described Massad's disturbing reaction to the incident. Although I was not present at the time, I was told that Massad had gone on a "paranoid rant," denouncing me as a "Jewish spy" for the same organization that "had tried to get him in trouble before."...[More.]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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