Maya Platek, a junior at Columbia University, explains why she has started a petition to remove Joseph Massad, professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History, who has cheered the attacks by Hamas.
Columbia University professor Joseph Massad wrote an article Oct. 8 on The Electronic Intifada that described Hamas' attack, which massacred more than 1,400, injured more than 4,600 and raped and kidnapped hundreds of women, children and the elderly (including Holocaust survivors), as a "stunning victory," "awesome" and something worthy of "jubilation."
The casualties aren't just Israeli (though that should be enough): The United States, France, Germany, Thailand and Nepal are just five among the many countries that have claimed victims of Hamas' vicious terrorism.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, the European Union and more recognize Hamas as a terror organization.
Condemning Hamas here should not be complicated, even if you are extremely critical of Israel.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I posted the petition to remove Massad from Columbia's faculty after he celebrated the monstrous atrocities Hamas committed.
I knew people were upset by his article; I knew his remarks would upset a lot of people regardless of their stance on the conflict.
But I definitely wasn't expecting the overwhelming support I received.
Even though there was an attempt to take the petition down, thanks to everyone's backing — and everyone's determination to share their perspective — I was able to get it back online.
Quickly growing, the petition acquired more than 50,000 signatures in less than four days.
Signed by people all over the political spectrum, from different backgrounds and walks of life — from students to professors to alumni to just genuinely shocked bystanders — we could all agree: Supporting and glorifying terrorism is never acceptable.
And it seems like Columbia shouldn't be all right with this either.
Just last week, the day before I posted the petition Oct. 13, the provost's office posted a statement emphasizing, "Hate speech, discrimination, or violation of our core values will not be tolerated.
This includes . . . glorify[ing] hate and atrocities. Our rules prohibit the use of words that incite behavior that may lead to a clear and present danger of injury to people or property."
By celebrating the brutal murders and horrific actions Hamas conducted against Israeli civilians for solely being Israeli, Massad's words encourage violence against Israelis and Jews, particularly on a campus with so many.
Columbia President Minouche Shafik would later state in an Oct. 18 email to campus, "I have been disheartened that some of this abhorrent rhetoric is coming from members of our community, including members of our faculty and staff. Especially at a time of pain and anger, we must avoid language that vilifies, threatens, or stereotypes entire groups of people. It is antithetical to Columbia's values and can lead to acts of harassment or violence. When this type of speech is unlawful or violates University rules, it will not be tolerated."
Thus Massad's comments, which also vilify every Israeli, are completely unacceptable and violate Columbia's principles.
While as a student I love that Columbia is a beautiful melting pot of perspectives, speech like this is incredibly dangerous and encourages misinformation and violence, undermining the safety of many students and even members of the administration on campus.
Calling on Columbia to hold Massad responsible shouldn't be controversial.
Not supporting one of the most horrifying terror attacks — which beheaded, burned and butchered innocent civilians — shouldn't be controversial.
Standing up to this evil act Hamas committed shouldn't be controversial.