I wrote a critique of one of his previous articles in 2007 where he argued that Israel was inherently racist. Yet an analysis of that article showed that he never really defined what racism was – effectively, his argument was an argument by repetition. In that article, he used the word “racist” or “racism” over thirty times. It was nothing more than proof by assertion, with many straw-man arguments to buttress his nonexistent proof.Now, he has a new article in Al Ahram, where he talks about Israel’s “colonialism.” In this case he must have shattered a record of overuse of a word, employing it over sixty times in the course of the article. Even more absurdly, he bases the article on this phrase: Colonialism is peace; anti-colonialism is war, as being Israel’s policy – using variants of that phrase some seven times.
Again, it is a gigantic straw-man argument, because he again assumes that Israel is by definition colonialist and he never bothers to define exactly how. Just as he did with the racism charge, he states it as a fact first and his “proof” is just by repeating it ad nauseum.
Israel is not a colonialist state using any reasonable definition of colonialism. As I have written previously, Israel is by definition anti-colonialist:
Arabs feel that Zionism has the same effect as colonialism, therefore they conclude that the two are functionally identical.
However, Zionism is more like anti-colonialism: it is a national liberation movement, with the nation being the Jewish nation. Zionism’s ‘s intent is not to rule over others nor to subjugate others. The vast majority of early Zionists wanted to re-build the Jewish national home in the same place that the original home was, the biblical Land of Israel. Judaism had maintained a strong emotional tie with ancient Israel; daily prayers long for a return to Zion;Jews annually mourn for the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem; and not only Jews had maintained a continuous presence in their original homeland, but Jews had returned there in much smaller numbers throughout the ages.
Definitionally, they two aren’t even close. The Zionists didn’t want to offer allegiance to the British Empire, they wanted to be independent of it. The colonialist requirement for a “metropole”, or mother country, doesn’t exist in Zionism.
The Arab motivation to apply the colonialist label to Zionism purposefully ignores the definitions or goals of the Jewish national liberation movement and instead tries to fuzz the definition so that the metropole is the entire Western world. Israel indeed has the hallmarks of a modern, Western nation and more closely identifies with the West and the ideals of democracy and liberalism than with the Arab world. And in more recent decades, when the word “colonialism” has turned into a dirty word, the Arabs have been keen on using it as a weapon against Israel among the nations that have the most colonial guilt.
Massad and those like him know all of this, of course – but they love misusing the words “colonialism” and “racism” to score points with the West. It is a libel that gains currency by dint of repetition, not by the merits of the argument.
And no one knows more about repetition than Joseph Massad.
The October launch of Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies (CPS), the first institution at an American university specifically dedicated to the study of Palestinian Arabs, received surprisingly little notice.
here are signs that politics have already infiltrated the CPS. Take, for example, the fact that Joseph Massad (the professor accused of bullying students in 2004) is associated with the center. Massad’s body of work is a postmodern mash-up of high-minded critical theory and base innuendo. His book Desiring Arabs theorizes that homosexuality is a western construct that imperial powers imposed upon the Middle East and that a “gay international” cabal (consisting of groups like Amnesty International and the Human Rights Campaign) uses the rhetoric of minority rights to unfairly vilify Muslim regimes.
Columbia University seems to have become infested with parasites. It is almost every other post is about the place’s flaws. obviously the campus is very ill. I wouldn’t send my child there. I believe they even were getting donations from Iran through the Alawi Foundation recently.
So how did Columbia go so rapidly from “two Palestinians teaching in a faculty of 8,000 people!” to “a unique concentration of distinguished scholars on Palestine and the Palestinians”? Don’t be shocked, but Edward Said was out to deceive in that 2003 interview. Obviously there were more than two Palestinians back then. But I didn’t invent the nickname Bir Zeit-on-Hudson because of their number. It was meant to evoke precisely the atmosphere of intimidation—anti-Israel intimidation—that would later come to light in the “Columbia Unbecoming” affair.
Now that Columbia boasts of being home to “a unique concentration of distinguished scholars on Palestine” (who “will have a national and global reach”), Bir Zeit-on-Hudson hardly sounds far-fetched. By that, I don’t mean a “terrorist hideout”—those were Said’s words, not mine—but a redoubt of militant Palestinian nationalism in the guise of scholarship. And I mean militant: the affiliates of the new center aren’t only engaged in the positive affirmation of Palestinian identity, but are activists in the campaign to negate Israel. This is obviously the case in regard to Joseph Massad and Nadia Abu al-Haj—their field isn’t Palestine studies, it’s anti-Israel studies—but it’s increasingly true of the new center’s co-director, Rashid Khalidi, Columbia’s Edward Said Professor, an enthusiastic spokesman for the PLO in its terrorist phase and a severe critic of the same leadership in its present phase.
For now, Khalidi is cleverly doing what Said did with his “two Palestinians” shtick. “We have absolutely no money,” Khalidi said at the launch (attended by an overflow crowd). “What our little modest center will be able to do may be some narrow, specific things,” he reassured a journalist from the Jewish Forward. I’m not buying it, and I think that the moniker Bir Zeit-on-Hudson is too modest to convey the scope of the ambition behind this project. So I’m working on an alternative. For a preview, click on the thumbnail or here.
Make sure to follow that last link – especially if you went to Columbia or Barnard. It will give you a new perspective on the campus. Heh. Khalidi has learned the practice of taqqiyah well.
Rashid Ismail Khalidi (Arabic: رشيد خالدي), born 1948, a Palestinian-American historian of the Middle East, is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, and director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.