"Astonishing," "astounding," "awesome," and "incredible" were some of the adjectives used by Columbia University tenured professor Joseph Massad to describe the rape and murder rampage by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel on October 7.
Massad, who has taught Modern Arab Politics at the New York institution since 1999, lavished praise on the barbaric attack in a piece published in the Electronic Intifada, which is edited by Ali Abunimah, who is infamous for promoting hateful rhetoric.
"What can motorized paragliders do in the face of one of the most formidable militaries in the world?" asks Massad in his opening line, referring to the armed paragliders who swooped on the Supernova musical festival and slaughtered hundreds of revelers. "Apparently much in the hands of an innovative Palestinian resistance," he crows in response to his question.
It's truly sickening stuff; a shameless celebration of wanton violence against primarily unarmed men, women and children by a professor at one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States.
And yet, it is not surprising.
Something is rotten in America's elite educational establishments; Ivy League schools are becoming breeding grounds for extremism and intolerance.
This has been no better exemplified than in the weeks since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, when students at nearly every Ivy League college have attended marches and protests where they have openly voiced their support for the Hamas attacks and called for the extermination of the world's only Jewish state.
Massad's support for Islamist terrorism and indiscriminate violence against Jews is disturbing. Even more disturbing, though, is the Columbia University leadership's refusal to take any action against — even to condemn – the academic.
Shortly after Massad penned the article, Columbia student Maya Platek started a petition, which has now been signed by nearly 70,000 people, calling on Columbia University to hold him accountable.
"Massad's decision to praise the abhorrent attack encourages violence and misinformation in and outside of campus, particularly putting many Jewish and Israeli students on campus at risk. Moreover, many students have expressed that they feel unsafe in the presence of a professor who supports the horrific murders of civilians," states the petition.
While the university has completely ignored the petition and the concerns voiced by Jewish students, members of the faculty have come out in support of pro-terror students, including more than 100 academics who signed a letter demanding that such students not face consequences for praising the attacks.
"In our view, the student statement aims to recontextualize the events of Oct. 7, 2023, pointing out that military operations and state violence did not begin that day, but rather it represented a military response by a people who had endured crushing and unrelenting state violence from an occupying power over many years," the academics wrote of the attack.
The academics' letter was released after a leading law firm rescinded job offers to students at Columbia University and Harvard University who signed statements in support of the attacks.
While Columbia University President Minouche Shafik joined forces with other college heads to announce a vague plan to combat antisemitism on campus, it appears to be a superficial effort considering that Shafik also praised the "persistence" of Columbia students accused of antisemitism.
Among the worst behavior witnessed on college campuses since Hamas launched its attack on Israel last month has been at Harvard University, where students belonging to the recently-formed group Graduate Students 4 Palestine (GS4P) spearheaded numerous campus protests.
The most shocking scenes of anti-Israel and antisemitic hatred occurred at a so-called "Stop the genocide in Gaza" die-in demonstration at the Harvard Business School on October 18, when a pro-Israeli student attempting to film the protest was assaulted by a mob that had surrounded and taunted him with screams of "Shame, shame, shame."
The mob of aggressive pro-Palestinian students reportedly included one of the founders of GS4P, Elon Tettey-Temalko, a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School, and Harvard Law Review editor Ibrahim Bharmal, whose name has since been scrubbed from the website page naming the board of the editors.
Antisemitism and hostility toward Israel and Israeli students are not new phenomena at Harvard — indeed it is a festering problem that has long been ignored by the university administration.
There have been numerous incidents at the elite college over the years, including the Cornel West tenure controversy, which HonestReporting has documented and is indicative of a culture of intolerance toward Israeli and Jewish students.
Just this year, Harvard refused to take action against Harvard Kennedy School Professor Marshall Ganz, who was found to have discriminated against Israeli students, subjecting them to "anti-Israel and antisemitic bias," according to a third-party investigator.
Far from rebuking the academic, Ganz was praised for his civil rights work in the Harvard Gazette, which is the university's official news website.
Classes had to be canceled at Cornell University, and 21-year-old computer science student Patrick Dai was arrested after he posted several violent threats directed at Jewish classmates on a Cornell student forum.
Dai appeared in federal court earlier this month after he logged onto the forum using the screen name "Hamas" and threatened to slit the throats of Jewish people and described them as rats and pigs. In one post he warned he was "gonna shoot up 104 west," in reference to a dining hall that mostly caters to Jewish students and is next to the Cornell Jewish Center.
While Cornell University's president made the decision to cancel classes and condemned antisemitism on campus in a statement, it is clear that the problem of anti-Jewish hate at Cornell is more entrenched and widespread than one individual student.
Russell Rickford, a history professor at the college, issued an apology after he was filmed at an October 15 pro-Palestinian rally on the Ithaca, New York, campus praising the attack that had occurred one week previously. "Hamas has challenged the monopoly of violence" and "shifted the balance of power," he told a crowd of young people. "It was exhilarating. It was energizing," Rickford added of watching the attack unfold.
After initially standing by his statements, Rickford later rowed back on his remarks and apologized "for the horrible choice of words," admitting they were "reprehensible." He is currently on a leave of absence from the university and will not teach this semester.
Cornell president Martha Pollack and board of trustees chairman Kraig Kayser condemned Rickford and explained the college is "taking this incident seriously and is currently reviewing it, consistent with our procedures." Whether that review will result in Rickford's permanent dismissal remains to be seen.
There have been accusations that Yale University ignores the problem of antisemitism on its campus — from inviting antisemitic speakers to visit campus and address students during Jewish holidays to anti-Jewish fliers being handed out on campus.
Yale also proved little had changed with regard to how it deals with antisemitism following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, including the university refusing to remove a professor who praised the Hamas attack.
Zareena Grewal, associate professor of American studies, ethnicity, race and migration, described the events of October 7 as "extraordinary," adding in another post on X (formerly Twitter) that "Israel is a murderous, genocidal settler state and Palestinians have every right to resist through armed struggle, solidarity #FreePalestine."
Despite a petition calling for her to be fired being signed by tens of thousands of people, Yale released a statement in support of Grewal's right to "freedom of expression."
Meanwhile, the Yale Daily News, which is the oldest college daily newspaper in the United States, published the most extraordinary apology after initial articles it published reporting on the Hamas attacks were later "corrected" to remove reference to terrorists raping and beheading people.
Explaining how the actions of murderous terrorists were sanitized in this way, the student newspaper's editor Anika Seth explained they were "wrong to publish the corrections" and claimed they only did so because the "specific forms of violence" had not been independently confirmed by the source cited in the article.
"It was never the News' intention to minimize the brutality of Hamas' attack against Israel. We are sorry for any unintended consequences to our readership and will ensure that such erroneous and damaging material does not make it into our content, either as opinion or as news," the apology added.