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Sunday, May 09, 2004

"The Jewish State is a racist state that does not have a right to exist."

- - Joseph Massad,
Assistant Professor
Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures
Columbia University
NY Sun: "The Jews are not a nation. The Jewish state is a racist state that does not have a right to exist." One might expect these comments to have been uttered by a neo-Nazi or a militant Islamic leader. Sadly, these words were uttered by an instructor of Middle East studies at one of America's most prestigious universities in the course of delivering a lecture at Oxford University.

In title, Joseph A. Massad is an assistant professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. In practice, he is one of the most vitriolic voices in academia.

A self-described "Palestinian Jordanian," Mr. Massad teaches courses on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Islam, and modern intellectual thought. As assistant editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, he writes frequently on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Zionism, and Palestinian nationalism. But since his appointment to Columbia in 1999, Mr. Massad has swiftly established himself as one of the university's most controversial faculty members.

The Columbia Conservative Alumni Association, for example, lists him among "Columbia's Worst Faculty." He finds the West to blame for virtually every ill he perceives in the Arab/Muslim world.

My father-in-law, a classics professor at Queens College, CUNY, achieved his Ph.D. at Columbia. I can only be glad, for his sake, that he is not alive to witness the debacle at Columbia.