Saturday, July 29, 2006

Aiding the Enemy? American University Professors Back Hezbollah and Hamas in Signed Petition

Friday's edition of FrontPageMagazine ran a troubling story on a petition drive circulating across U.S. colleges and universities calling on professors to denounce "Israel's aggression against Lebanon and Gaza." According to the piece, roughly 1000 professors have signed the document (and having looked at the signature list, I recognize two respected political scienctists among them). The petition vehemently attacks Israeli policies, "including a 'brutal bombing and invasion of Gaza,' and 'acts of Israeli state terrorism' in Lebanon."

The petition does not, however, condemn Hamas or Hezbollah for their terrorist activities, treaty violations, or unprovoked aggression. For more double standards, check out this longer quote from the article:

Never mind that Israel has withdrawn from both Gaza and Lebanon, and that the current offensive was prompted by the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, first by Palestinian terrorists and then their Lebanese counterparts. Never mind, too, that the “expansionist policies” in the region have been pursued by Arab powers who launched four major wars against Israel since 1948; by Islamist jihadists who have never reconciled themselves to a Jewish presence in the Middle East; and by rogue states like Iran and Syria, who rely on terrorist surrogates to succeed where the earlier efforts failed. These details are aggressively ignored for, as a review of the petition’s signatories makes clear, the rewriting of history to serve the interests of Israel’s enemies commands no small following in the increasingly radicalized academic world.

In fact, some professors have gone far beyond the petition in declaring their support for the terrorists’ war on the Jewish state. Chief among them is Rabab Abdulhadi, the Palestinian-born director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. To appreciate the depth of Abdulhadi’s disdain for Israel, one need only consider that she dismisses as a “myth” the easily demonstrable fact of “Arab armies invading Israel in 1948.” Adapting a theme from the Hamas charter, which lays claim “to the land of Palestine,” Abdulhadi has charged that Israeli settlers are “living on stolen Palestinian land, sucking out the water which is very much needed from Palestinians and making lives.” Not only that but, according to Abdulhadi, “what Israel is doing in the occupied territories, in some instances, looks like what Nazi Germany did.” Abdulhadi consequently sees the Palestinian Authority’s admonitions against terrorism--infrequent and never unequivocal--as evidence that the PA is “exercising maximum reserve.”

Yet Abdulhadi is moderation personified next to another name that appears on the petition. Dr. El Guindi, an Egyptian-born professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California, has alleged that “Israel is engaged in practices muted by the media: massacres and genocides, trafficking of human organs, genetic experimentations, inhumane torture.” Hamas’s most zealous propagandists could not improve on the inflammatory rhetoric. And much like them, El Guindi has never offered any evidence for the charges, relying on innuendo and conspiracy theories to make her case. Failing that, she considers terrorism the answer to the Palestinians’ woes. In contrast to the petition, which at least condemns the killing of civilians in Israel even if it absolves the actual murderers, El Guindi has embraced anti-Israel terrorism as an acceptable form of “resistance.” Of Palestinian terrorism, she has written that “[i]t is a universal and legitimate right,” one appropriate to “colonized people.”

Similar sentiments frequently issue from Middle Eastern Studies departments. In keeping with tradition, the most notorious of these departments, Columbia’s department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC), boasts no fewer than four representatives in the recent petition. Most prominent among them is Hamid Dabashi, the Columbia professor of Islamic studies who despises not only Israel, which he views a “ghastly state of racism and apartheid,” but also Israeli Jews, to whom Dabashi ascribes a “vulgarity of character that is bone-deep.” His crude bigotry notwithstanding, Dabashi has his followers at Columbia, among them the Iranian-born Golbarg Bashi, a visiting scholar and a protégé of Dabashi specializing in “anti-colonial theory” and “black and Third World feminisms,” whose name likewise appears on the petition. Other MEALAC faculty who endorsed the petition are Suhail Shadoud, a Syrian professor of Arabic language, and Jeffrey Sacks a lecturer in Arabic who in recent years emerged as a leading advocate of divestment from Israel at Columbia. MEALAC’s reputation as a hotbed of political extremism is plainly well deserved....

Behind the obscene double standard set forth in the petition, wherein Israel is attacked for defending its right to exist and terrorists escape all blame, is a conviction, all too common among the academic Left, that Israel’s very existence is both regrettable and undesirable. Thus Judith Butler, another Jewish academic who signed the petition, has declared against Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, writing that “political sovereignty based on religious status is misguided, undemocratic, and discriminatory, in principle and in practice.” (That this is precisely the end sought by Hamas, Hezbollah and their terrorist brethren is a contradiction conveniently ignored by Butler.) Another signatory, Marguerite Rosenthal, a professor of Social work at Salem State College, is an activist with a radical group calling itself Jewish Women for Justice in Israel Palestine, which blames Israel for the 60-year war waged against it. Sighing over the “desperate suicide attacks by Palestinians,” the group claims that “[f]ifty years of conflict have increasingly compromised the ideals that contributed to Israel's founding.” In the eyes of Rosenthal and countless others who committed their signatures to the petition, Israel alone can do wrong.
Read the full story and check the petition yourself. I feel sickness and disgust when I come across developments like this. Indeed, anti-Americanism and the leftist takeover of much of academe are a couple of the main reasons why I started this blog. Political sympathy for the enemies of Israel among activist professors of the American left jeopardizes not just the sovereignty of the Jewish state, but American national security as well.


Anonymous said...

And just how many professors are there in total, compared to these 1000?

Donald Douglas said...


You'd have to Google it, but there's been a couple of recent surveys indicating upwards of 80 percent or so of university faculty as registered Democrats, many of them in the far left wing. There are books on the radicalization of academe as well: Roger Kimball's "Tenured Radicals" (1998) and David Horowitz, "The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America" (2006). Check around university campuses and see the prevalence of all things multicultural and anti-Bush, and you'll see for yourself.

Gunny John said...

A truly sad state of affairs. Although college students are legally "adults," they're still more than young enough to be impressionable. These far left professors are shaping future leaders in their exremist molds. Frightening.

Donald Douglas said...

Hi Jarhead:

Yes, it's pretty bad. I get students coming to my office hours routinely to complain about their radical leftist professors.

Thanks for the visit.