Columbia University has once again made headlines. The Algemeiner declared the school one of the worst universities for Jewish students during 2017. Now, in 2018, Professor Hamid Dabashi has demonstrated that things have not gotten any better at Columbia.
Dabashi teaches Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature in the Ivy League university. He is the author of more than 20 books, discussing colonialism, cinema, and history. Recognized by many as a leading scholar on Iran, Dabashi has developed a well-established social media platform and gained access to a protuberant student audience.
Despite having a clear record of demonizing Israel and Zionism, the professor has recently come under scrutiny for a tweet, in which he wrote: "Every dirty treacherous ugly and pernicious act happening in the world just wait for a few days and the ugly name of 'Israel' will pop up as a key actor in the atrocities."
The problem here goes beyond the hateful rhetoric of a particular scholar; instead, this view has been encrusted into the institution's philosophy. Columbia's atmosphere has been marred by ugly calls for an intifada (terror attacks against Israelis), and a failure by the administration to denounce hate groups on campus.
According to The New York Post, almost 20% of the faculty at Columbia has publicly endorsed the BDS movement, and just last year, 14 anti-Israel student groups were formed. Not surprisingly, hostility toward Jews on campus has increased. Jewish students at Columbia are shamed for their support of Israel, and intimidated by a faculty that has been taken hostage by organizations using social justice as a masquerade for antisemitism.
Recent Columbia graduate Rudy Rochman described his experiences on campus as follows: "There have been many antisemitic occurrences on campus and talks against Jewish students, and the university has done nothing to protect us."
Looking at the university's anti-Israel track record, this should not come as a surprise. At Columbia, denouncing pro-Israel students as racists during "apartheid" week, denigrating Hebrew liberation week by denying the right for Jewish self-determination, and even adopting the notorious swastika symbol to delegitimize the state of Israel, are all examples of instances that threaten the "safe" environment promised to students.
Is there no accountability? Have we reached the point where a PhD or tenure grants our professors permission to discriminate against their own students?
It seems that some professors are immune to meeting the obligations and standards of education that Columbia claims to provide. It does not matter how ignorant, hateful, or subjective their lessors or tweets may be — their jobs will not be at risk.
Sadly, Columbia University is only the tip of the iceberg. San Francisco State University, Berkeley, UC Irvine, and many others continue to allow hate speech and discrimination to roam freely on their campuses — but only when targeted at Jews and Israelis.
Professors preach hate without consequence, and false narratives are making up the new curriculum for Middle East courses offered in these institutions. Take Berkeley for example. With their reinstated course "Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis," the faculty is directly brainwashing students.
One of the most prominent obstacles to peace is the Palestinian leadership's indoctrination of hate and antisemitism. It is why young adults in and children in Gaza are easily sent to Israel's borders with Molotov cocktails and fire-kites seeking confrontations with IDF soldiers. From school books to popular TV channels, ample evidence exists to shine a light unto the unfortunate brainwashing of the Palestinian population by their corrupt leadership.
Now this is happening at US universities as well.
Universities must be reminded of their commitment to foster healthy discussions, and to provide students with an objective education that will allow them to develop opinions based on objective truths. Education must not be used as propaganda, especially when it will lead to further division, violence, and injustice.
Yoni Michanie is a campus coordinator for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).