Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ramallah on the Hudson: Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies - by A. J. Caschetta

...If Columbia University abides by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism (as adopted by both the State Department and Department of Education), it will have to re-examine both the work and influence of the Center for Palestine Studies, where the professors for the liberation of “Palestine” are trying to turn the Upper West Side into the Upper West Bank.

A. J. Caschetta..
The Tower..
19 November '18..

The Trump administration may have closed the PLO’s Mission in Washington, D.C., but its Morningside Heights Mission is open for business. I refer to Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies (CPS), an Ivy League clearinghouse for PLO propaganda and the demonization of Israel. Call it the PLO’s American academic wing.

When the CPS opened more than eight years ago, founding co-director Rashid Khalidi promised that it would avoid doing “anything that’s directly related to any political activism.” This is laughable. What Khalidi meant is that the CSP would not participate in anti-Israel activism, but this is a lie. The faculty members who comprise the center’s experts are rivaled only by the faculty of Birzeit University for their anti-Israel advocacy.

It might, in fact, take a Center for Palestine Studies to examine thoroughly the history of Palestinian organizations devoted to political violence. But instead, Columbia has assembled the anti-Israel all-stars of academia, such as Joseph Massad, who has called for “the continuing resistance of Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories to all the civil and military institutions that uphold Jewish supremacy.” Another member of CPS is Hamid Dabashi, who wrote that Israel is a “key actor” in “every dirty treacherous ugly and pernicious act happening in the world.”

In addition to being a professor at Columbia’s Middle East Institute and co-director of the CPS, Khalidi also happens to be a former member of the PLO, as Martin Kramer has shown. Not since Columbia hired former Weather Underground member Kathy Boudin at its School of Social Work has it given a platform to “reformed” terrorists. At least Boudin expressed remorse, even if it was insincere. Not so Khalidi, a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS ) advocate whose views have remained consistent since his PLO days, though they are now masked in the academic patois of post-colonialism.

Brinkley Messick, the CPS’s other founding co-director, hyped it as the first academic center devoted to the study of Palestinian Arabs. “Very simply,” he gushed, “there’s never been a dedicated space … for this kind of research.”

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