The outspoken lawyer Alan Dershowitz is visiting Columbia University today to make the case against Middle East studies on American campuses.
The issue is a particularly sensitive one for Columbia, whose investigation into the alleged misconduct of faculty members toward students is focused on the university's Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures.
In recent years, Mr. Dershowitz - a Harvard Law School professor best known for his notorious clients such as Michael Milken, Mike Tyson, O.J. Simpson, and Claus von Bulow - has become a passionate defender of Israel, lecturing on behalf of the country at college campuses and handing out free copies of his 2004 book "The Case for Israel."
Organizers of his visit to Columbia said he will talk to students about what he believes is the intellectual corruption of Middle East studies at Columbia and other campuses, a field he says has been taken over by an anti-American political agenda.
Senior Columbia officials, responding to complaints from students against professor in the Mealac department, said they are not focusing on the political views of the professors.
Meanwhile, a former Columbia student who served in the Israeli military, Tomy Schoenfeld, testified Friday before the faculty committee that was appointed by Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, to handle the campus investigation. Mr. Schoenfeld has accused assistant professor Joseph Massad of ordering him to say how many Palestinians he killed when the student asked Mr. Massad a question following an on-campus lecture. Mr. Massad does not deny the incident took place.
The committee has said it would complete its investigation before the scheduled spring break, which begins March 14.