More than 50,000 people have signed a petition to dismiss a professor at Columbia University in New York who expressed happiness over Hamas' acts on Oct. 7 of terrorism and described them as "astonishing," "astounding," "awesome" and "incredible."
The professor, Joseph Massad, who teaches and writes about modern Arab politics and intellectual history, described the horrific killing of more than 1,300 Israeli residents as "the stunning victory of the Palestinian resistance" against "cruel colonizers."
He added, "Perhaps the major achievement of the resistance in the temporary takeover of these settler-colonies is the death blow to any confidence that Israeli colonists had in their military and its ability to protect them.
Massad, who is reportedly Jordanian of Palestinian descent, has been working at Columbia University since 1999 and is a tenured professor. In the past, he participated in protests against Israel and supported pro-Palestinian activities within the university.
Maya Platek, a 23-year-old at the university and formerly the president of the student body, launched the "petition for the immediate removal of Joseph Massad from Columbia's faculty, noting that he "refuses to condemn Hamas ... for its horrific actions," rather than come out against the "recognized terrorist organization."
The petition has since been taken down for reasons that have not been determined. "This petition is not accessible at the moment. It may be under review by moderators who enforce our Community Guidelines. This petition may become available again once the review process is complete. We appreciate your patience," the message says on the site upon trying to access the petition.
A counter-petition in support of Massad was also mounted by students, faculty, graduates, and supporters "We, the undersigned, express unwavering solidarity with Professor Masad, whose conscientious teaching and research on Palestine, the Middle East, and the Global South have earned our unending admiration for over two decades," the support petition stated.