(up)Roar Lion (up)Roar

Not to detract from Asaf’s post on the film about professors harassing pro-Israel students at Columbia University (below), but I had planned on posting about this situation. From 1998-2001 I led Columbia’s pro-Israel political activism group and my successor is featured in the film (which I have not yet seen). I just have a few comments about Israel and Columbia.

1. Some professors at Columbia are vehemently anti-Israel. Edward Said is gone, true, but I will never forget the masses of professors (particularly from the Middle East Languages and Cultures Dept, which is featured in the film, and its chair Prof. Van de Mieroop) who rallied around Said after he was caught red-handed engaging in violence against Israel. There were other professors who condemned Said. In classes, I believe there were a range of opinions (at least in the political science department where I hung out).

2. There is a lot of good pro-Israel activism on campus at Columbia. When I was there, we brought congressmen, academics, diplomats and more to speak about Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship. When the intifada broke out (again) the passion and commitment of the Jewish community was in full display with rallies, demonstrations, educational programs and more.

3. There is also a lot of anti-Israel student activity at Columbia. In addition to arguing major policy points and writing letters to the editor, the Arab students’ group at one time even fought to change the name of a sandwich sold on campus from the “Israel wrap” to the “Middle Eastern wrap.” They blamed the campus cafe for engaging in “cultural dispossession,” but in reality they were out to eliminate any positive mention of Israel and nothing more. Sadly, they staged their fight behind closed doors and the name was changed before I could do anything– I did have a conversation with the cafe administrators afterwards who insisted they just didn’t want to upset anyone. As ridiculous as that episode was, it illustrated the lengths to which some Columbians would stretch in order to denigrate Israel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.