To the board of trustees of Columbia University we recommend reading a book titled "Desiring Arabs," written by a faculty member who aspires to a tenured, lifetime appointment.
The volume should also be of interest to gay and lesbian activists because author Joseph Massad accuses them of being anti-Arab conspirators.
Massad is associate professor of Arab culture and politics. His abhorrent views about Jews are well known. Now, his book reveals a man whose professed scholarly expertise amounts to crackpot racialist paranoia.
In a central thesis, Massad targets a movement he calls the "Gay International," made up of "white male European or American gay scholars" and advocates. He accuses this Gay International of, in effect, creating homosexuality in the Arab world.
He writes: "It is the very discourse of the Gay International, which both produces homosexuals, as well as gays and lesbians, where they do not exist, and represses same-sex desires that refuse to be assimilated into its sexual epistemology."
Echoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's infamous claim on a visit to Columbia that Iran has no homosexuals, Massad attacks the Gay International for assuming that "homosexuals, gays and lesbians are a universal category that exists everywhere in the world."
Massad also asserts that the "white Western women's movement" had similarly tried to force gender equality onto "non-Western countries."
Columbia stands for respect regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation. Believing that the military's don't-ask-don't-tell policy discriminates against gays, the school bars ROTC from campus.
It is preposterous then that the university would consider tenure for a man who espouses that homosexuality may not be a global human phenomenon and argues based on race. Massad's scholarship is lunacy.
That he is personally unfit for tenure at Columbia has been clear. He has likened Jews to Nazis and written that they suffer from a kind of psychosis that makes Jews persecute Palestinians. His idea of academic freedom is throwing a student out of class for questioning his picture of Israel as the great Satan of the Middle East.
When last we wrote about Massad, it appeared Columbia President Lee Bollinger and the trustees had granted tenure. But that may not be so.
While the university refuses comment, it may not be too late for the board, composed of leaders like Chairman William Campbell, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and real estate magnate Philip Milstein, to do the right thing: Deny Massad tenure.