Call on Columbia University to condemn and remove anti-semitic professor Hamid Dabashi
The Pro-Israel American people are gravely concerned that Columbia University continues to provide a platform to a Radical Muslim Professor Hamid Dabashi – a well-known anti-Semite – in its Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS). Dabashi has a well-documented history of demonizing Israel and Jews on social media and in his academic writings.
He has accused “Zionists” of controlling governments;
He labeled “rich” American Jews as the “Israeli Fifth Column inside the US”;
He depicted Israelis as Nazis;
He compared Israel to ISIS;
He accused Israel of genocide;
He referred to the U.S.-designated terrorist organization Hamas as “the legitimate and democratically elected representative of Palestinian people.”
All of these comments promote canards which meet the working definition of anti-Semitism that the U.S. State Department has been using for years. This definition has been adopted by the 10-campus University of California system and the state of South Carolina, among other institutions.
Imagine the outrage if Dabashi described other minority groups – like women, African-Americans or LGBT individuals – as “hyenas.” Yet in the face of Dabashi’s anti-Semitic comments, Columbia has remained regrettably silent.
As an Ivy League university, Columbia champions the exchange of ideas – rooted in mutual respect. Dabashi’s actions threaten the very academic freedom Columbia cherishes. His anti-Semitism is even more disturbing given the fact that he teaches in a department that is tasked with educating students about Israel and the Middle East in an objective manner.
The 2004 documentary “Columbia Unbecoming” has exposed the anti-Israel sentiment and academic intimidation emanating from the Dabashi’s MESAAS department. When he was chairman of the department at that time, Dabashi wrote regarding Jews, “Half a century of systematic maiming and murdering of another people 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. 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.”
We agree that Dabashi, like all of us, has a right to free speech, but he does not have the right to create a hostile environment on campus for Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel students.
Indeed, the climate at Columbia is a dangerous one for Israel and Jews because of figures like Dabashi. Students Supporting Israel (SSI) has filed a complaint with Columbia’s student governing board and university administration detailing that anti-Israel groups “have monopolized the conversation on campus relating to the Israeli-Arab conflict and have systematically maligned, harassed and silenced” pro-Israel voices. During the past year, such incidents have included repeated vandalization and removal of SSI flyers, the disruption of a speech on campus by Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon, anti-Semitic chants, and the organization of a “Gaza solidarity rally” adjacent to a Holocaust Remembrance Day vigil.
We are calling donors to stop funding Columbia until it addresses this systematic discrimination against Jewish and pro-Israel students.
Additionally, we call on all concerned individuals to write directly to University President Lee Bollinger (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) and Columbia’s Board of Trustees (firstname.lastname@example.org), to press the school to act immediately to confront Dabashi’s anti-Semitism. Please include email@example.com in the CC or BCC fields in your communication.
Your signatures will be sent to the above-mentioned administration officials and to Columbia’s major donors. If you know of any major donor you want us to include, please email us their name and contact information at firstname.lastname@example.org.