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Friday, February 29, 2008

Columbia continues to present one side of the story

Martin Kramer reports this week on the goings on at Columbia University, where as many of you know I got a Bachelor's degree some years ago (I'm an anniversary class this year, and will continue my tradition of not attending the reunion). The more things change, the more they stay the same. The first paragraph below was true when even when I was there, and the rest of it shows that the University is continuing the anti-Israel bias it has exhibited for many years now (Hat Tip: Solomonia whose comments are also worth checking out).
Rubinstein discovered that the only truly active friends of Israel on campus were orthodox Jewish students. For him, a self-avowed secular humanist, it came as crushing disappointment that like-minded Israelis weren't standing up. At the demonstration against Ahmadinejad, he could "count the Israelis on a hand that's missing fingers." At the faculty level, it was worse. He tells of being present in a meeting attended by two Israeli professors. One proposed the screening of the film Jenin, Jenin, a cinematic slander of Israel, and the other proposed inviting Israel-demonizing Norman Finkelstein to campus. Rubinstein doesn't name the two, but the sad thing about Columbia is that their identities aren't obvious. More than two Israeli professors there could have made these sorts of proposals.

That aside, it reminded me of some unfinished Columbia business. Avid readers of this blog will recall that Columbia president Lee Bollinger, back in 2005, tried to calm the raging waters by announcing the establishment of a chair of Israel studies. Four trustees quickly anted up $3 million. The university then appointed a search committee that included Palestinian agitprofs Rashid Khalidi and Lila Abu-Lughod. At the time, I wrote this:
The inclusion of Khalidi and Abu-Lughod on the search committee is perverse. Edward Said used to complain that the Palestinians needed "permission to narrate" their story. At Columbia, the situation is reversed: Israel can't be narrated without the permission of the great Palestinian mandarins. They must be appeased, satisfied, propitiated.

So were they? The chair has been filled by Yinon Cohen [pictured, top left. CiJ], a former Tel Aviv University sociologist who works mostly on labor markets and migration. Cohen isn't a hard-left post-Zionist, but he's far enough left to have signed a May 2002 open letter by some Israeli faculty. At the time, Israel was wrapping up Operation Defensive Shield, its response to the wave of suicide bombings inside Israel that had killed Israelis in the hundreds. The letter's signatories announced their "wish to express our appreciation and support for those of our students and lecturers who refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories... [T]he present war is not being fought for our home but for the settlements beyond the green line and for the continued oppression of another people."

I don't think Khalidi and Abu-Lughod have much to worry about.

Kramer has updated his post twice since Solomon posted his link. The updates indicate that Cohen may in fact be is a moonbat in the true Columbia mold. Make sure to check out the updates here.

Arthur Hertzberg - the Conservative Rabbi and tradition Labor Zionist who taught the history of Zionism when I was at Columbia - must be rolling over in his grave.


At 7:29 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

It is very sad. I made the same observation 30 years ago. The non-Ortho support for Israel is disappearing faster than the Javen rhino.
Just goto the yearly NYC Israeli day parade -its an ortho convention.
The left that supports Peace Now, is not largely commited to Israel or Judaism.
Commentors often criticize the American's who support the settlers, but we are truly the only ones(obviously with some exceptions) to be there to support Israel.

At 1:24 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

The last Kramer update with Cohen's signing of a statement in Spanish on the Catalan-Palestinians website is quite explicit, he signs to express solidarity and in support of liberating the Palestinians from foreign control and of self-determination, including a Palestinian state, and blames Israel for intolerable Palestinian suffering.


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