[Ppnews] McCarthyite/Pro-Israel Conference attacks pro Palestine profs

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 3 11:43:25 EST 2005


The attacks on progressive professors goes way beyond Ward Churchill!

Campus & Citywide Speakout:
AGAINST RACISM AND THE NEW McCARTHYISM AT COLUMBIA

Organised by: Stop McCarthyism at Columbia (SMAC)

When: Sunday, March 6th -1pm
Where: Columbia Univ., 116th & B'way, sundial located on
college walk
For more info: contact_smac at yahoo.com


Join SMAC to defend free speech. Recently, professors at
Columbia University have been the target of a politically
motivated intimidation campaign by right-wing pro-Israel
groups like Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. Now
these same groups are hosting a day-long conference at
Columbia with some of the most viciously racist, anti-Arab
propagandists as guest speakers.



These include the likes of Martin Kramer, co-founder of
Campus Watch, a website designed to blacklist academics
critical of Israeli and American policies. Also speaking is
Harvard professor, Alan Dershowitz, who is well-known for
advocating torture. Charles Jacobs, founder of the David
Project, will also be there. The Project, which targets
professors sympathetic to Palestinian human rights, is
responsible for funding Columbia Unbecoming, a filmed
collection of unsubstantiated claims against Columbia
professors.



This is the new McCarthyism. Already, Professor Rashid
Khalidi, has been fired from his position at an NYC Teacher
Training Program for criticising Israel's occupation and
racist stance towards Palestinians. This is part of a
larger national campaign to silence critics of US and
Israeli policies in the Middle East.



Free speech is not intimidation. Dissent is not
intimidation. Threatening professors for exercising their
rights, is. It's wrong to scapegoat Arabs, Muslims, and
South Asians. Join us to defend our professors and speak
out against the racist message of this conference.



Organised by Stop McCarthyism at Columbia (SMAC)
************************************************************

                               Stop McCarthyism at Columbia
(SMAC) Statement


Recently, professors at Columbia University, in particular
professors at the Middle East and Asian Languages and
Cultures Department (MEALAC), have been the target of a
politically motivated intimidation campaign. These attacks
were sparked by the limited release of Columbia Unbecoming,
a filmed collection of unsubstantiated claims against
professors sympathetic to Palestinian human rights. The
film is funded by the David Project, an initiative founded
in 2002 to silence thoughtful criticism of Zionism and
Israeli policy, and to squelch dissent. The film
systematically excludes a broad range of views and the
perspectives of many satisfied Columbia students ­Jewish
and non-Jewish alike.



Columbia University President Lee Bollinger has bowed to
external political pressure from media, outside pro-Israel
lobby groups and local elected officials. His office is now
heading an investigation of targeted professors. The New
York City Council has warned that if the University
investigation “comes up dry”, they will launch their own
investigation. As a result of the negative publicity, one
of the most targeted faculty, Professor Joseph Massad, will
not be teaching his signature course, Israeli and
Palestinian Societies and Cultures, this Spring. Other
professors sympathetic to Palestinian human rights who not
were specifically targeted by Columbia Unbecoming are
nonetheless suffering from this vicious campaign. For
instance, eminent historian and Professor Rashid Khalidi,
director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia, was
recently fired from the New York City Teacher Training
Program on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Development, a
volunteer position he has held for years.



Though the David Project claims political balance, Columbia
Unbecoming is a patchwork of incoherent, uncorroborated
accusations. The Project itself is part of a larger
campaign against critics of the US and Israel and their
roles in the Middle East. This campaign includes groups
like Campus Watch and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
as well as propagandists such as Martin Kramer and Daniel
Pipes. A major strategy of these groups and individuals is
to equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, and to
use this charge to silence critical voices. Indeed, the US
government is now considering legislation, HR 3077, that
will increase monitoring of Middle East studies programs in
order to silence critique. These acts draw from the general
rise in discrimination against Arabs, Muslims, and South
Asians within the context of US militarism. This is the new
McCarthyism. Columbia University is not immune to this
climate.



In this time of war and increased repression, we express
our concern for the broader implications and negative
precedent that these unwarranted investigations are likely
to set. For instance, tenured professor, Ward Churchill,
was recently compelled to resign from the chairmanship of
his department at the University of Colorado for his
political views.



We affirm the right of all professors and students to voice
their opinions and dissent, and condemn all forms of
discrimination including anti-Semitism, anti-Arab racism
and Islamophobia.



Therefore, we demand that,

     * Columbia University defend its faculty and
immediately drop its baseless and unjust investigation of
the professors under attack. Criticism of Israel is not
intimidation.
     * The University issue a public apology for failing to
defend the right of these professors to free and dissenting
speech
     * The University, furthermore, issue an affirmative
statement that such attacks and dishonest tactics are
simply unacceptable
     * The New York City Council immediately withdraw its
proposed investigation of the attacked professors.


The Freedom Archives
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(415) 863-9977
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