Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad, a controversial speaker who in the past has written and spoken about alleged Zionist-Nazi collaboration and the "Anglo-American gay agenda," delivered a speech at Cornell claiming Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state, and recognizing it as such is equivalent to recognizing Israel as a "racist state."
In fact, this claim is a step back from Massad's previously quoted contention in a 2002 speech at Oxford University that Israel has no right whatsoever to exist: "The Jews are not a nation… The Jewish state is a racist state that does not have a right to exist."
Massad concluded his speech by remarking: "It is the end of the Zionist colonial adventure, especially the removal of all the racist, legal, and institutional structures that Israel has erected, that is the precondition for lasting… justice and peace for all the inhabitants of Palestine and Israel."
Massad, a professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History, spoke on Wednesday evening to a crowd of about 35 for an event entitled "Palestinians and the Dilemmas of Solidarity: Is the Two-State Solution Viable?" Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) sponsored the event.
Though the speech started out as assessment of the merits and demerits of various forms of solidarity among and with Palestinians, Massad soon turned to the topic of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), an economic and political strategy that seeks to dismantle the state of Israel and one which is particularly popular on college campuses, including Cornell. Despite the fact that no major university has adopted any measure of BDS, Massad praised its "success," but he also criticized what he called the "co-opting of BDS" by Europeans when they try, according to Massad, to make BDS's goal the establishment of a two-state solution.
"BDS is about boycotting all Israeli academic and cultural institutions, and expanded into even economic products, [not] until Israel goes back to the negotiating table, but rather until Israel ceases to be a racist state," Massad said.
In response to an audience member's question about the optics surrounding BDS, Massad suggested that U.S. students use words like "racism" and European students use "colonialism" and "occupation" when referring to Israel and BDS. The former, Massad said, is more emotionally powerful in this country whereas a word like "occupation" is more powerful in Europe because it "reminds" them of Nazi occupation.
Massad's past writings and lectures demonstrate his fondness for the Israel-Nazi Germany analogy. Along with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which he praised in his Cornell speech, Massad argues Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s in order to promote Jewish immigration to Palestine.
In a 2013 piece titled "The Last of the Semites" published by Al Jazeera, Massad wrote:
"… It is this shared goal of expelling Jews from Europe as a separate unassimilable race that created the affinity between Nazis and Zionists all along.
While the majority of Jews continued to resist the anti-Semitic basis of Zionism and its alliances with anti-Semites, the Nazi genocide not only killed 90 percent of European Jews, but in the process also killed the majority of Jewish enemies of Zionism who died precisely because they refused to heed the Zionist call of abandoning their countries and homes."
West Germany's alliance with Zionism and Israel after WWII, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks, which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s."
In 2008, Massad published a book titled Desiring Arabs in which he expounded upon his numerous contentions about homosexuality in the Arab world first outlined in a 2002 article titled "Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World." In his article and book, Massad argues that homosexuality does not exist in the Arab world, or at least the homosexuality the "Anglo-American gay agenda" promotes, as he said at a 2010 speech delivered at UCLA. In that same speech, he also remarked, "Queer is about resistance to Islam" and "Queer is an example of cultural imperialism."
Here are some more interesting quotes from Professor Massad:
"All those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists."
"What is it about the nature of Zionism, its racism, and its colonial policies that continues to escape the understanding of many European intellectuals on the left?"
"For the Gay International, transforming sexual practices into identities through the universalizing of gayness and gaining 'rights' for those who identify (or more precisely, are identified by the Gay International) with it becomes the mark of an ascending civilization, just as repressing those rights and restricting the circulation of gayness is a mark of backwardness and barbarism."
"[I]t is the very discourse of the Gay International which produces homosexuals, as well as gays and lesbians, where they do not exist."