Board members at Columbia University are facing calls from thousands of people to remove a tenured professor from his position after he praised Hamas brutal terror assault on Israel last week as an 'awesome stunning victory.'
Joseph Massad, a history and politics lecturer, made the stunning remarks in an article published on a website named Electronic Intifada on Sunday, one day after the unprecedented attack began.
In the same article, Massad referred to Israel as 'cruel colonizers' and called Hamas' barbaric actions 'astonishing,' 'astounding,' 'awesome' and 'incredible.' Since 1997, Hamas has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department.
'The sight of the Palestinian resistance fighters storming Israeli checkpoints separating Gaza from Israel was astounding... 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 added.
In response, a Change.org. petition was swiftly set up by Maya Platek, 23, a junior at the school in which she accuses Massad of showing support for a 'recognized terrorist organization.' At the time of writing, more than 30,000 people have signed the petition since it was started on Friday.
Since the October 7 attack, student groups in prominent colleges across the country, including Harvard and Northwestern, have come forward with statements harshly criticizing Israel while seldom making mention of Hamas' brutality.
'The colonists' flight from these settlements may prove to be a permanent exodus. They may have finally realized that living on land stolen from another people will never make them safe,' Massad wrote in another section of the shocking piece.
'What can motorized paragliders do in the face of one of the most formidable militaries in the world? Apparently much in the hands of an innovative Palestinian resistance,' he went on.
'Apparently much in the hands of an innovative Palestinian resistance... Indeed as stunning videos show, these paragliders have become the air force of the Palestinian resistance.'
Massad, who is a native of Jordan and of Palestinian descent, has been on staff at Columbia since 1999 and received his Ph.D from the school in 1998. In 2009, his tenureship was protested by Columbia's pro-Israel group LionPAC.
Since the Hamas attacks began, Columbia has become a flashpoint area in the US.
On Thursday, a Brooklyn teenager was arrested after she allegedly struck an Israeli Columbia University student with a stick on Wednesday night, police have confirmed.
Maxwell Friedman, 19, was charged with one count of assault following an altercation with a 24-year-old School of General Studies student in front of Butler Library.
On arrival, they were told that the victim - identified only by the initials I.A. - was engaged in a dispute that had become physical.
The victim accused Friedman, of Bushwick, of striking I.A. in the hand with a wooden stick. She was taken into custody.
The victim refused medical attention, the spokesperson said. The incident is not being investigated as a hate crime.
While on Tuesday, the Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine said that Hamas' actions were a 'counter-offensive against their settler-colonial oppressor' in a public statement.
'The weight of responsibility for the war and casualties undeniably lies with the Israeli extremist government and other Western governments,' the statement, which was also signed by a group named Jewish Voice for Peace, read.
'As long as you perpetuate this narrative, fighting will continue to break out until justice is achieved. Because nothing else is working,' the coalition's statement read.
'As Columbia students, our classes regularly discuss the inevitability of resistance as part of the struggle for decolonization. We study under renowned scholars who denounce the fact that the media requires oppressed peoples to be 'perfect victims' in order to deserve sympathy.'
'Yet not only does our institution neglect to align its actions with its ostensible values, but it actively normalizes Israeli apartheid and subjugation of Palestinians,' the group went on.
The group reiterated previous statements in which they demanded that Columbia University divest from Israel.
In April 2023, it was reported that Columbia's plans to build a campus in Tel Aviv was being met with stern opposition from staff and students alike.
'We call upon our administration as a whole to start verbally acknowledging Palestinian existence and humanity,' the statement continued.