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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 06, 2003

Bir Zeit-on-Hudson.

Martin Kramer in this piece shows us what is taking place at what has been considered a major university.
Two weekends ago, Columbia University hosted a Palestinian film festival. I have nothing against such festivals, which have been held over the past year in Seattle and Chicago. Some of the films are worthy examples of the art. But of course, Columbia's faculty can be counted upon to give a legitimate exercise the flavor of a hate-fest. This time, it was the turn of Joseph Massad, an assistant professor in the department that sponsored the festival. According to the Columbia Daily Spectator, Massad, speaking on a festival panel, praised the films as "weapons" and "likened Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's cultural views to those of Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels."

All this is standard procedure for Massad, who throws out Nazi analogies with reckless abandon. (When the Campus Watch website named him, presumably for doing just that sort of thing, he called it "a Gestapo file.") This week, Massad has cropped up on the pages of Al-Ahram Weekly, and he has outdone himself. The article is a rant against the anti-Israel left in Europe (e.g., Derrida, Bourdieu), for not being anti-Israel enough. Alas, too many of the left's culture heroes only demand an end to Israeli occupation. They fail to see that Israel itself, in any borders, is a racist entity. The Jews, not being a nation by (Massad's) definition, cannot have nationalism. They have only racism, implemented through colonialism. In this one op-ed, Massad manages to repeat the words "racist" and "racism" twenty-two times. Talk about Goebbels.

So here are the highlights. Israel is "a racist Jewish state," the "offspring" of "the foundational racism of Zionism." The "European Jew is a colonizer who has used racist colonial violence for the last century against the Palestinian people." Israel was founded "by armed colonial settlers." "Zionist Jewish colonialism" was a "commitment to European white supremacy in Jewish guise." "Jewish colonists were part of the British colonial death squads that murdered Palestinian revolutionaries between 1936 and 1939." There has been an "ideological and practical collusion between Zionism and anti-Semitism since the inception of the movement." Zionism "has always been predicated on anti-Semitism and on an alliance between Zionists and anti-Semitic imperialists." Zionism itself had an "anti-Semitic project of destroying Jewish cultures and languages in the diaspora."

Heard enough? Too bad. "Israeli colonialism and racism operate with the same force, albeit with different means, inside the Jewish state as they do in the territories Israel occupies." Israel's racism manifests itself in "the racist curricula of Israeli Jewish schools, the racist Israeli Jewish media representations of Palestinians, the racist declarations of Israeli Jewish leaders on the right and on the left, and the Jewish supremacist rights and privileges guiding Zionism and Israeli state laws and policies." "The ultimate achievement of Israel," concludes Massad, is "the transformation of the Jew into the anti-Semite, and the Palestinian into the Jew." [more]