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Thursday, October 21 2004

Film on anti-Israel bias on campus

From NY Sun -- Columbia Abuzz Over Underground Film:

At a history class, a professor mockingly tells a female Jewish student she cannot possibly have ancestral ties to Israel because her eyes are green.

During a lecture, a professor of Arab politics refuses to answer a question from an Israeli student and military veteran but instead asks the student, "How many Palestinians have you killed?"

At a student meeting on the topic of divestment from Israel, a Jewish student is singled out as responsible for death of Palestinian Arabs.

Those scenes are described by current and former students interviewed for an underground documentary that is causing a frisson of concern to ripple through the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University, where the incidents took place.

The film, about anti-Israel sentiment at the school, has not yet been released to the public, but it has been screened for a number of top officials of Columbia, and talk of its impact is spreading rapidly on a campus where some students have complained of anti-Israel bias among faculty members.

"The movie is shocking," one Columbia senior, Ariel Beery, said.

"It is shocking to see blatant use of racial stereotypes by professors and intimidation tactics by professors in order to push a distinct ideological line on the curriculum," Mr. Beery, who was interviewed for the film, said.

The film is the creation of the David Project, a 2-year-old group based in Boston that advocates for Israel and is led by the founder of the American Anti-Slavery Group, Charles Jacobs. The David Project, which is refusing to make the film public, has screened it for Barnard College's president, Judith Shapiro, and Columbia's provost, Alan Brinkley, according to sources.

Neither Ms. Shapiro nor Mr. Brinkley would return calls seeking comment about the film, though at a meeting in Washington this week with women active in Jewish charitable work the Barnard president is said to have spoken of how emotionally affected she was by the film.

With versions at 11 minutes and 25 minutes in playing time, the film consists of interviews with several students who contend that they have felt threatened academically for expressing a pro-Israel point of view in classrooms.

One of the scholars discussed most in the film, according to a person who has seen the film, is Joseph Massad, a non-tenured professor of modern Arab politics, who is teaching a course about Middle East nationalism this fall. Mr. Massad, a professor at Columbia's department of Middle East and Asian languages and cultures, has likened Israel to Nazi Germany and has said Israel doesn't have the right to exist as a Jewish state.

In the film, a former Columbia undergraduate, Tomy Schoenfeld, recalls attending a lecture about the Middle East conflict given by Mr. Massad in spring 2001. At the end of the lecture, Mr. Schoenfeld prefaced a question to the professor by informing Mr. Massad that he was Israeli, Mr. Schoenfeld told The New York Sun. "Before I could continue, he stopped me and said, 'Did you serve in the military?'" Mr. Schoenfeld, who served in the Israeli Air Force between 1996 and 1999, recalled. He said that he told Mr. Massad he had served in the military and that Mr. Massad asked him how many Palestinians he had killed. When Mr. Schoenfeld refused to answer, Mr. Massad said he wouldn't allow him to ask his question.

Mr. Massad did not return phone calls for comment yesterday. Mr. Schoenfeld told the Sun that his encounter with Mr. Massad was not representative of his dealings with Columbia professors and that the Middle East-Asian department is "usually balanced."

Mr. Beery, the senior at the school, told the Sun that anti-Israel bias is prevalent in the department and said the documentary film demonstrates how many students at Columbia have been affected by it.

"You would be surprised," Mr. Beery said, "to find the number of students who were willing to stand up and be counted as members of the student body who oppose the intimidation of students in the classroom, especially on topics related to the Middle East."

In 2003, Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, convened a committee of six Columbia professors to investigate the possibility of the school's declaring stricter boundaries between academic expression and political activism. But the credibility of the investigation came into doubt among those following the issue seriously when Mr. Bollinger told the New York Daily News that the committee found no claims or evidence of bias or intimidation in the classroom.

Mr. Beery said the committee did not look hard enough for bias and said Jewish students at Columbia have no avenue for pressing complaints about anti-Israel prejudice among faculty members.

"Because Jews are seen as this overrepresented ethnic group and not prone to protests, they sweep it under the rug," he said.

Columbia is looking to raise money for an endowed professorship in Israeli studies to make up for what Mr. Bollinger has said is lack of contemporary Israel scholarship at the school.

That effort comes at a time when the university is under a cloud for having accepted money from the United Arab Emirates, one of the worst human rights violators in the Middle East and a country hostile to Jews and Israel, to help finance a chair named for the late professor Edward Said, who was a writer and anti-Israel Palestinian activist. Harvard University returned money from the UAE after complaints were raised about the propriety of taking money from that source.

The situation of Jewish students on anti-Israel campuses like Columbia is an issue that is coming into focus only slowly among a Jewish communal leadership whose attention has been elsewhere. The isolation of Jews on campuses has been recognized for decades.

One of the most famous letters ever written by a Jewish figure was penned in 1918 by the Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky and sent to a South African university student. Jabotinsky had heard that in the face of campus anti-Semitism the student was contemplating suicide. Jabotinsky advised him that it would be cowardly for the student to take his own life and that, instead, he should take heart from the Zionist stirrings, which were then just beginning.

The letter, which is reproduced in facsimile form in the "Encyclopedia Judaica," says: "I think, in a very conservative estimate, that the next ten years will see the Jewish state of Palestine ... a reality; probably less than ten." He said it would be "foolish to forego all of this" because of anti-Semites at the university.

Jewish students interviewed by this reporter at Columbia suggest that they perceive their situation in a different light than the student to whom Jabotinsky wrote. The Columbia students do not charge that they are facing anti-Semitism on campus. They attach an importance to what they see as a distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments.

"They teach everything in the context of one special, small struggle, when there are 23 countries out there where minorities are being oppressed, where women are bound to their homes, where homosexuals are being put in jail. They're ignoring the rest of the Middle East in favor of a small dimension of it," Mr. Beery said.



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The danger is not completely absent from some Israeli campuses dominated by the extreme left.

The Jerusalem Post would up to now have been the most most vigorous of the Israeli newspapers in revealing such abuses and denouncing them.

Now it is being made more "centrist" will this continue to be the case? Is there a danger of its losing its distinctive character and of carrying more and more articles of a "post-Zionist" nature, complete with the distortions and outright falsifications found in the left-wing Israeli press - especially Haaretz, with Amira Hass, Gideon Levy (that roving detractor of Israel), etc, and opinion pieces by the likes of Shulamit Aloni, which compare Israel to apartheid South Africa or even compare its actions in the territories to the crimes of the Nazis (a "silent genocide", according to Shulamit Aloni)

Is the article printed today in the Jerusalem Post a portent?

If you want to help to avoid this, lobby Saul singer and/or David Horovitz and urge them to guard against this. Urge them also change their minds about discontinuing the most useful Eye on the Media.

Their e-mail addresses are and

Their homes, our sons



Copyright 1995-2004 The Jerusalem Post -

This is apparently not limited to Columbia. I live near Rutgers university, where the anti-Israel Solidarity International tried but failed to have a conference last year. Recently I've seen graffitti on and near campus. A few samples: "Pro-Israel is Anti-American" "How many Americans must die for Israel," and this one, which is very revealing about the anonymous author's true feelings, "Destroy Jewish domination to achieve world peace"

I'm certain these kind of statemens grew out of the atmosphere on campus. My only question is, was the person who wrote this graffitti a student or a prof?

For MR. That last one provides the missing link between the first ones and anti-semitism. Thank God they're so stupid.

I don't know why this idiot has twice posted an article by Larry Derfner who is the Jerusalem Posts' version of Gideon Levy. The guy is an utter asshole as opposed to a 'leftist' as he calls himself.

"You read about an IDF platoon leader emptying his gun into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, about border policemen dumping buckets of urine on the heads of Palestinians they grabbed at a checkpoint – about all the endless humiliations that IDF soldiers have been putting Palestinians through all these years, and you wonder"

Yes we do wonder. We wonder why Israelis like this bastard spew filth such as the above around the world when there are plenty others to do it. I'd like to tell Mr Derfner that yes, we have READ a lot of rubbish including from imbeciles such as himself but that doesn't make it true. Why for example would this man include the episode about the girl yet fail to mention the outcome of the military investigation. Does he want to report on the truth or just post tripe that supports his political views?

When we have Israelis in our own media spewing such filth, is it any wonder that so few Jews on Campuses worldwide feel unable to stand up and be counted?

"Actually I wouldn't exactly call it pain. I'd call it more disgust, dread, nausea. Shame. Spending 18 years teaching your children right from wrong, then sending them to fend for themselves in a moral hell"

Defending Jewish civillians Mr. If this man were a footballer I'd be singing "Are you Goebbels in disguise?"

"In short: a Jewish apartheid country."

Is this the Jerusalem Post or Columbia University?

"For someone with my beliefs to raise sons to live in that – it's a betrayal of them and myself. Wherever I end up, if Israel doesn't get out of the territories, I very much hope my sons will leave this country when they come of age."

Do everyone a favour Goebells, I know where I'd like you to end up but please, first leave before you produce two more disgraceful 'contientous objectors', 'Refusniks' or whatever term you wish to use. Two more names to add to the Arabs' propoganda blackboard.

Again, I don't know why this vile piece was posted under this subject but you can perhaps now more easily understand what university students have to put up with.

Duke University held the Palestinian Solidarity Movement Conference this weekend. The conference was relatively peaceful but it was followed in the school's newspaper by one of the vilest pieces of anti-Semitic tripe I have ever read.

The Jews

Almost as bad is the poor response of the University's President: Duke Is A Place For Everyone

Unfortunately, these are just two examples of several anti-Israel articles which, in my opinion, border on anti-Semitism. The most disturbing aspect is the way everything regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is address to the Jews, not to Israelis.

To Lisa! Incredible! The article you linked to is unbelievable. Sub-standard logic with clear anti-semitic overtones. The author would have been very welcome in Berlin at Hitler's time. There he could have complained about the "shocking overrepresentation" of Jews in culture and in the sciences. Einstein wasn't the only one..

Perhaps he should chair a committee forcing out such Jews and not many of them in, ensuring they're not 'over-represented'.

I went to a British university. I can assure the readers that the ratio of Indians on campus far exceeded their proportion outside but had someone tried penning an article claiming that Indians are "shockingly overrepresented" in this University and others, then that article would never have been printed and if by some oversight it would have seen the light of day, then that author would never get to write again!

This is a little off topic, but no less important.

An Israel blog, Israel Midnight Cafe, has uncovered some very disturbing information about the funding of the United Nations, speficially UNRWA, really is worth a read.

I seriously believe this could be a smoking gun.

To SR,
as for the writers sons, well we don't know them. For all we know they DO have their head on straight. And maybe when they turn 18 they'll go combat, who knows? Anyway it's been known to happen and they shouldn't bear responsibility for their fathers foolsihness.

The UN cannot define terrorism and now universities and their presidents cannot define higher learning. Someone should remind them that if one leans too far left or right you fall over!

Get me the film!

'Over representation of Jews in universities' 'fight Jewish domination' 'Israel is nazi germany' 'you cant have ancestors in Israel because your eyes are green...'

If thats not antisemtisim and racism than what is...?

Cornell University is another example. My prof wanted to move an exam to be on Passover, and asked if anyone had a problem with it. I said I did, becaue I was planing on going home for the holiday. The response: "You people invent holidays all the time to get out of school!" The classes response was to laugh with the prof. And in the future, my grades were purposely lowered-- and when I was able to prove that I correctly answered the question, she would say that I was just fighting for points and refuse to listen.

This goes on everywhere. The liberal professors believe that Israel is in the wrong, as do most liberals, and take it out on their Jewish students, even in their grades. This is why I cringe when someone says being anti-Israel isn't the same as being anti-semitic. It's a lie. I didn't mention Israel, and yet an anti-Israel professor treated me differently because I am Jewish. Anti-Israel and anti-semitic are one and the same!

So Columbia wants to create a chair of israeli studies for "balance". Who wants to bet that, if created, it would be occupied by a post-Zionist (i.e. Anti-Zionist "Israel is the bad guy")professor.

To Na, its sad and believable and to Yechiel, I was just thinking the exact same thing!

Recently, a certain Church delegation visited the P.A where they met with none other than Arafat. But, they explained, they also went and met with an Israeli member of parliament in Israel. His name? Azmi Bashara. An Arab leader of an ultra-nationalist Arab party, who recently criticized Arab stations for daring to show and interview Israeli officials. He said that Arab viewers should be protected from hearing the Israeli position and, instead, only have the Israeli position filtered and 'explained' to them by Arab experts.

We can imagine what kind of man will lead the "Israeli" studies...

This is unbelievable. It reminds me when I was in a bioethics class in university. The professor asked us if anyone believed in God, then proceeded to ridicule me for asserting that I did. Subsequently, my grades were lower than they probably should have been because of this man. He spent most of the semester railing against God and how prostitution and polygamy should be legalized.
If I were more of a diva (like I am now), I would have made it my goal in life to get that idiot fired.
It does not surprise me that a place of "higher learning" is so prejudicial and asinine. So many of them are.

The PSM wanted to use their right to free speech but banned the recording of any discussion on their little get together. Here's why -

- a gentle reminder to those who would have us believe that PSM/ISM are "peace activists" or that they are trying to assist in the two state dream. In reality they are a bunch of immoral fascists dedicated to the destruction of a peaceful outcome in this part of the world.

- they are particularly hypocritical when they talk about divestment which is never suggested against the Sudanese who brutalise and butcher their black minority or the Ugandans where children become sex slaves

- particularly galling is Duke's Phillip Kurian who does his antisemitic thing and acts as handmaiden to the Arab terrorists. A true Uncle Tom if there ever was one!

No, particularly galling is that Philip Kurian is the recipient of Duke's most prestigious scholarship, an award for journalism AND, recently, one of the United State government's most prestigious scholarships for grad school, the Truman Scholarship.

It occurs to me throughout all of this appaling thread that the language used by the enemies of Israel is so extreme that it makes it untenable.

One would have thought that educated people, (these anti-semitic professors are educated aren't they) would be the most able to select appropriately from their lexicons of language to describe their abhorrence of Israeli actions (given that such is justified which I for one doubt).

Howard Jacobson wrote a good article on this topic in Tne Independent about 2 years ago. His view which I mightily endorse is that the lazy thinking of our attackers gives rise to simple name calling which is neither a credit to the speaker nor the subject.

For our part part let us use the rapier and leave the bludgeon to our opponents. The brute force and ignorance approach typified by these professors is ultimately self defeating. It is also the pot calling the kettle black.

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