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Down With Zionist Witchhunt on Campus!

Columbia University is today ground zero in a right-wing witchhunt designed to intimidate and drive out any professor who does not toe the line of support to the state of Israel.
Defend Columbia Professor Joseph Massad!

Down With Zionist Witchhunt on Campus!

Reprinted from Young Spartacus pages of Workers Vanguard No. 837, 26 November 2004.

Columbia University is today ground zero in a right-wing witchhunt designed to intimidate and drive out any professor who does not toe the line of support to the state of Israel. The latest escalation was triggered by a squalid little film by the David Project, Columbia Unbecoming. It slanderously accuses Professor Joseph Massad, along with other professors in the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) department, of “academic intimidation� of pro-Israel Zionist students. The New York City gutter press Daily News and the New York Sun have embarked on a vicious campaign against Massad and several other professors. The Sun, along with New York City Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, has explicitly called for Massad’s firing.

With the screaming front-page headline “Poison Ivy: Climate of Hate Rocks Columbia University,� the Daily News (21 November) featured a sinister “special report.� In it, respected professors such as Massad, Hamid Dabashi, Rashid Khalidi, George Saliba and Nicholas De Genova are denounced as “Columbia’s firebrands,� the “faculty with the most strongly anti-Israel views.� The article is replete with alleged quotes from the professors described as “venom disguised as classroom instruction.�

In response to the film, the Columbia administration has launched a formal investigation into the film’s accusations and promised to “take whatever steps are necessary.� Not content with this, the Democrat-dominated New York City Council has announced they will demand an outside investigation if the university investigation “comes up dry� (New York Sun, 12 November). Down with the Zionist witchhunt! Hands off Joseph Massad and the other professors!

The attacks on Massad and other professors are nothing less than a campaign to silence and drive out those who speak against the crimes of U.S. imperialism and its allies. Well before Columbia Unbecoming, Professor Massad, a contributing writer for the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly, had long been reviled by Zionists. In 2002 a Zionist think tank, the Middle East Forum, set up the Campus Watch Web site in an attempt to blacklist pro-Palestinian academics, whom it labels “apologists to terrorism.� Professors such as Massad, Dabashi and Khalidi were listed on this site.

A regular recipient of death threats, Massad declared in his statement responding to the charges in the film: “With this campaign against me going into its fourth year, I chose under the duress of coercion and intimidation not to teach my course this year. It is my academic freedom that has been circumscribed. But not only mine.� An e-mail to Massad by a professor of medicine, Moshe Rubin, expressed the real sentiments of the forces behind this campaign: “Go back to Arab land where Jew hating is condoned. Get the hell out of America. You are a disgrace and a pathetic typical Arab liar� (Columbia Spectator, 27 October).

In the context of U.S. imperialism’s bloody colonial occupation of Iraq and the post-September 11 bipartisan “war on terror,� the forces of the far right are pushing to roll things back to the McCarthyite 1950s when Communists, leftists and even liberals were driven off the campuses while black students were excluded altogether. It was precisely the exclusion of black students that the racist anti-affirmative action “bake sale� sponsored by the Columbia College Conservative Club last semester was all about (see “Campus Right-Wingers Target Black Students,� WV No. 821, 5 March).

Indeed, the principal instigators of these assaults on campus dissent, such as Campus Watch’s Daniel Pipes, are closely linked to the Bush administration. Pipes is part of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, which has included Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his lieutenant Paul Wolfowitz. The main force behind the right wing’s bogus “academic freedom� campaign is racist ideologue David Horowitz. Horowitz carried out his own witchhunting tour of campuses in 2001, apologizing for slavery and attacking the gains of black struggle. He is involved in the highest councils of the Republican Party and is behind the grossly misnamed “Academic Bill of Rights.� Horowitz touts the myth that conservatives are persecuted in American universities. The “Academic Bill of Rights� is in reality an attempt to provide the basis for a purge of the left from campuses, with demands for “duly authorized authorities� to snoop into tenure and hiring decisions. This bill was passed by the Georgia State Senate.

Disguising their witchhunt as a campaign for “academic freedom,� this cabal of Zionist neocons, yellow journalists and government officials is in fact trampling the free speech rights of defenders of the Palestinian people, as well as any voice of dissent against racist U.S. imperialism. This includes leftists, radicals, black and minority students. Columbia Unbecoming specifically singles out the International Socialist Organization and attacks the campus left more generally.

Over 2,800 people have signed an Internet petition denouncing the attacks on Professor Massad. It is good that Massad’s case has garnered support. The Spartacus Youth Club is signing this petition as an elementary act of solidarity with Massad, but we warn that the wording is based on a false conception that Columbia University is an ivory tower that exists to protect academic freedom. The petition states: “We call on President Bollinger to rise to the occasion and issue a categorical statement in defense of Professor Massad and against this campaign of defamation,� and that these attacks “threaten the very ideal of a university as a place of open and vigorous intellectual exchanges.� In fact, the “ideals� of elite universities like Columbia are to train the intelligentsia necessary for the maintenance of the capitalist system. This includes the next generation of cadre for the CIA and State Department, researchers for the “military-industrial complex� and union-busting lawyers. The campus administration exists to carry out this mission.

What is urgently necessary is for students and all those in the cross hairs of the witchhunt to mobilize in united-front protest in defense of the victimized professors and against the campus thought police.

Zionist Lies and Smears

The statement of Eric Posner, a former Israeli army medic and student of Massad’s, demolishes the scurrilous charges in Columbia Unbecoming:

“I am a Jew, an Israeli, a Jerusalemite, and an American. As opposed to the interviewees in the film, ‘Unbecoming Columbia,’ [sic] I am also a MEALAC major. Last year, I was approached by Ariel Be’ery [General Studies student body president and a Zionist activist involved in the film]. He wanted to hear my opinion about MEALAC and Massad, whose class I was enrolled in at the time. When I expressed my profound appreciation for Massad’s critical approach and the multiplicity of perspectives that he offers in his classroom, Be’ery told me that he wouldn’t be calling me back for a taped interview.� [emphasis in original]

As an article in Jewish Week (29 October) based on interviews with more than two dozen other mostly Israeli and American Jewish MEALAC students stated: “Most of the complaints on campus appear to be from pro-Israel activist students not in the MEALAC program.� According to Professor Massad’s statement, only one of the students in the film even took his course.

The classic tool of the trade for the Zionists is the slander that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Massad’s statement eloquently repudiated this claim:

“Unlike the pro-Israel groups, I do not think that Israeli actions are ‘Jewish’ actions or that they reflect the will of the Jewish people worldwide! All those pro-Israeli propagandists who want to reduce the Jewish people to the State of Israel are the anti-Semites who want to eliminate the existing pluralism among Jews. The majority of Israel’s supporters in the United States are, in fact, not Jews but Christian fundamentalist anti-Semites who seek to convert Jews.... Therefore, it is not anti-Semitism that offends pro-Israel groups; what offends them is anti-Israel criticism.�

In fact the Zionists have always reserved special venom for Jewish historians who defend Palestinian rights, like Joel Beinin and Norman Finkelstein.

The current wave of attacks on Columbia professors is part of an ominous mobilization going back years, which escalated after September 11. In 1985 the campus office of globally renowned Columbia professor and prominent Palestinian activist, the late Edward Said, was firebombed. In 2000, after Said tossed a stone into Israel from across the Lebanese border, in a symbolic act of celebration of the end of the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, the campus Zionists and the right-wing press, along with the Columbia Spectator, viciously attacked him (see “Columbia Spectator Witchhunts Edward Said,� WV No. 743, 6 October 2000). Also the victim of a vicious witchhunt by the same reactionary forces was Professor Nicholas De Genova, for honorably speaking in favor of the defeat of U.S. imperialism in Iraq at a 2003 campus antiwar teach-in.

Now there is the International Studies in Higher Education Act of 2003, or House Resolution (H.R.) 3077, which was passed unanimously by the House and awaits a vote in the Senate. Several Zionist organizations are behind this piece of legislation, including the Anti-Defamation League and American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It would, if passed, among other things, lead to the establishment of a government “advisory board� including representatives of national security agencies to oversee federally funded university programs, especially Middle East studies. Professor Rashid Khalidi warned: “If implemented as its proponents intend, it would impose the pseudo-sciences of terrorology and the demonization of Islam and Muslims as integral parts of teaching and research about the Middle East� (In These Times Web site, 11 December 2003). Down with H.R. 3077!

Defend the Palestinians!

Key to defeating the witchhunt against Columbia professors and MEALAC is forthrightly taking up the defense of the Palestinian people. While the recent Zionist attacks have been spearheaded by forces of the far right, the Democrats are no less staunch supporters of Zionism and Israel than the Republicans. The Spartacus Youth Clubs have been active in protests around the country in opposition to the Zionist attacks on professors and student groups, from the banning of the Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley to attempts to shut down conferences of the Palestine Solidarity Movement (see “Defend Pro-Palestinian Protesters!� WV No. 792, 29 November 2002).

The SYC intransigently defends the Palestinian people against Zionist state terror. At the same time, we defend the right of the Hebrew-speaking population as well to self-determination. Against all variants of nationalism, we counterpose a program of proletarian revolutionary internationalism. As we wrote in “Zionist Butchers Strike Gaza� (WV No. 834, 15 October): “The Palestinian nationalists have tried nearly everything to beat back the Israeli garrison state: from fighting to negotiating to appealing to the UN and Western imperialists, to now pathetically begging to simply be allowed to exist—and it has all been and will all be futile. So long as the national axis is emphasized, the situation will always be bleak and hopeless. But if the class axis is emphasized, there is at least a realistic chance at an equitable resolution.�

The road to the social and national liberation of the Palestinian people lies through common class struggle by the Hebrew-speaking and Arab workers against both the Israeli and Arab ruling classes, who likewise are oppressors of the Palestinians. Only within a socialist federation of the Near East can the right to national self-determination for both the Palestinian and Hebrew-speaking peoples be equitably realized. The struggle to defend the Palestinian people must be linked to a fight against the U.S. imperialist occupation of Iraq. For a socialist federation of the Near East! Down with the U.S. colonial occupation of Iraq! All Israeli troops and settlers out of the Occupied Territories! Down with the Zionist witchhunt on campus!

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Death Threats in Berkeley

Death Threats in Berkeley
"Close Your Organization or Die"

Left on our office voicemail at 2 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2003:

"Hi. I heard your speech today in UC Berkeley; the debate. I'm telling you this right now. On Monday, at 2 PM, you better not be in your office. Because me and my buddies, who were trained in the Israeli Army, will come and kill every single one of you son-of -a-bitches for what you are doing to destroy Israel. So watch out. This is not a joke. On Monday you better watch out. Don't come to work.

And close your organization or you're going to die."

Dear Israel and your frenzied defenders,

No. We're not going to die.

I know you're used to killing people who are in your way. Old people, young people, leaders, followers, mothers, fathers, teachers, doctors, factory workers, farmers.

It hasn't seemed difficult for you. Human beings are immensely vulnerable. When people have no armor, no defending army, no power, all it takes is a few bullets. Skulls are easily penetrable by tempered steel. Rib cages are shattered with ease.

All it requires, really, is sufficient ruthlessness.

From the beginning of your nation you've made it clear that you possess this in abundance. In 1948 you ethnically cleansed the once-multicultural land on which you chose to impose your uni-cultural nation, of hundreds of thousands of human beings who did not fit your national vision of purity.

You call this your nation's "War of Independence."

Please explain this to me. Independence from whom?

From the farmers whose ancestors had tilled that land for centuries?

From the fishermen whose ancestors had fished in the Sea of Galilee and been turned, it is said, into fishers of men?

From the maintainers and harvesters of olive groves planted a millennium ago, orchards now daily uprooted by your cruelly efficient military bulldozers?

Independence from humanity? From morality? >From normality? From everyone else in the world?

And then you killed some more.

You called farmers trying to return to their farms "infiltrators" and killed them. You called the nations who had reluctantly but ineluctably sheltered them "harborers of terrorists" and killed their citizens. You invaded neighbor after neighbor after neighbor. Not a single one escaped your ferocity. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon.

And you assassinated. How you've assassinated. Your assassins have roved the world with great success - except when you've killed the wrong person here and there. You kill a waiter, mistaking him for a "terrorist," and you don't apologize.

You crush 23-year-old Rachel Corrie "unintentionally," twice, and you don't apologize. You shoot 21-year-old Tom Hurndahl in the back of the head, and you don't apologize. You shoot 26-year-old Brian Avery in the face "by accident," and you don't apologize. You kill Palestinian grandmothers, nine-year-olds, infants, and you don't apologize.

Approximately 85 percent of the people you kill in Palestine are "collateral damage," and you don't apologize.

Have you no manners?

In this country you kill some more. You killed Alex Odeh and Iris Kones, and at least five other Americans.

But that's not all.

You've killed careers. You've killed businesses. You've killed hope. You've weeded out sprigs of integrity from our Congress, journalists of principle from our press.

But no more. Your reign of terror has ended.

There are too many of us. You've called "anti-Semitism" once too often. You've pressured one too many newspapers, one too many universities, one too many mayors. You've made one too many anonymous phone calls, emailed one too many crude messages. Threatened one too many organizations.

It is over. You will continue to win your battles, for awhile. But the war has turned.

We have awakened to the brutality of your injustice, and our numbers are growing. We are of every ethnicity and nationality, including your own citizenry, and we are joining together to uphold the holiness of our common humanity.

We are working to create a world of equality, of brotherhood and sisterhood, of compassion and respect, of laughter and love.

You are few, we are many.

You can't kill us all.

Please join us.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing full and accurate information about Israel and Palestine. The organization was founded following her trip to the Palestinian territories as a freelance journalist in the winter of 2001.

How Dare the Jews Shoot Back!

How Dare the Jews Shoot Back!

How Dare the Jews Shoot Back!

How Dare the Jews Shoot Back!

Yes, but the Sparts are really brain dead witches, aren't they?

Smash Trot manure!

Yes, but the Sparts are really brain dead witches, aren't they?

Smash Trot manure!

Re: Down With Zionist Witchhunt on Campus!

Let the women talk! Let the women act!

by Daphna Golan, former director of
Bat Shalom

In 1989, a meeting was held in Brussels between prominent Israeli and Palestinian women peace activists. The meeting initiated an ongoing dialogue that in 1994 resulted in the establishment of The Jerusalem Link. It is comprised of two women’s organizations, Bat Shalom on the Israeli side, and the Jerusalem Center for Women on the Palestinian side. The two organizations share a set of political principles which serve as the foundation for a cooperative model of coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. The following passages are taken from Bat Shalom’s peace petition.
If the women of Palestine and Israel can live in peace, then why can’t the world live in peace? What is holding us back? Perhaps not enough women are talking and acting. I hope this will provide a space for more women to become part of the discussion.

Let the women talk! Let the women act! We know that two peoples CAN live in this land. We know that our children deserve a life of dignity and peace. We do not want our children to be killed, nor do we want them to be killers! We must stop this madness! We must stop the use of brute force!

Let the women talk! Let the women act! Let Palestinian and Israeli women lead the way!
It was Israeli women who changed public opinion about the terrible and pointless war in Lebanon. It was Palestinian women who were courageous enough to engage in joint peace initiatives with Israelis.

We the women can find an end to this cycle of violence as well.

Let the women talk! Let the women act! The men tell us not to be afraid. They all tell us to be strong. We ARE afraid, and we want them to be afraid too. We don’t want to be “strong.�

We don’t want the men to think they’re strong enough to make the other nation disappear or go down in defeat and disgrace. We want each and every person to have the right to live in peace and dignity.
We want to share the resources of this land, its water, its vines, and its holy places. Jerusalem can be shared. This whole area can be shared between two independent and equal nations.

Israel should not rule the lives of the Palestinians. Neither Palestine nor Israel should believe that peace can be won through violence and force.

Let the women talk! Let the women act! Palestinian and Israeli women have been talking for years about their future here. Tens of thousands of women from around the world have been supporting our vision of making peace. These have been quiet efforts thus far.
Now is the time to raise our voices and insist on being heard!

Let the women talk! Let the women act! Let the women make sense where men did not! We are launching an international initiative to stop the violence immediately.

We are insisting that all negotiating teams include at least 50% women in the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, in the UN teams, and among representatives of all the governments involved in attempts to resolve this conflict.

The women will talk. They will not shoot. There are too many men with too many egos involved in burning this land.

Let the women talk! Let the women act! We can bring peace!
Let the international community form a group of women from all around the world to become the Women’s Peace Corps. This will be an international mediating body of women who will listen, facilitate and help us save ourselves.

Let the women talk! Let the women act! Bring the women in!

The men have not done a good job here! They talk of a security based on might. We know that security means being good neighbors. Without forgetting the wrongs of the past, nor the unequal distribution of power, we will focus on how to LIVE here in peace.
We do not want the next generation of children to wear uniforms and go to war. We want them to know self-determination and dignity without the need to fight for them.

Let the women talk! Let the women act! We feel the pain and we are outraged! We are afraid! Let the women talk before it is too late!

To learn more about recent activities of Bat Shalom and the Jerusalem Link, visit
Email: batshalo (at)
Bat Shalom P.O. Box 8083 Jerusalem 91080 Israel.
Ph: 972-2-563-1477; Fax: 972-2-561-7983


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