Columbia University's controversial Middle East Studies program gained a new critic yesterday: famed attorney Alan Dershowitz.
"People who deride Israel as a racist, apartheid, Nazi - you name it - state ... you hear that on Columbia's campus from academics, from people who have serious claims to academic integrity," Dershowitz said during a speech at the campus.
"Those are not just rhetorical statements, they are barriers to peace. They encourage the terrorists," he said.
His speech promptly drew angry protests from a handful of pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
"What's at stake here is really about the range of debate that's considered acceptable on campus," said Columbia student Monique Dols, 24.
Some faculty at the Ivy League school have been accused of anti-Israeli and anti-American rhetoric, and harassing students who express contrary viewpoints - as reported by the Daily News in a front-page story last November.
Columbia University President Lee Bollinger announced the formation of an internal committee to probe the accusations.
"Columbia takes seriously its mission to provide students and faculty with the strongest possible opportunities and safeguards to discuss openly and explore fully the most controversial issues of the day," said Columbia spokeswoman Susan Brown.