Challenging the Slander at Columbia’s Israel-Bashing Event


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The Center for Palestinian Studies (CPS) at Columbia University hosted an event on May 2, 2011 entitled “Gaza: Israel’s War and the Goldstone Report.” The panel of rabid anti-Israel academics included Norman Finkelstein, author of “This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion;” Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab studies at Columbia, co-director of CPS, and author of “The Iron Cage” (and former professor of political science at DePaul University who was denied tenure and resigned); and Peter Weiss, vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

I gathered a couple of defenders of Israel and attended the event in order to challenge the radical anti-Israel orthodoxy at Columbia. Before the event began, I handed out a printout of David Horowitz’s forceful and factual ad that ran in the New York Times last week, entitled: “The Palestinians’ Case Against Israel is Based on a Genocidal Lie.” I had the fortune to meet Danielle Reich, a Columbia undergraduate student, Hasbara fellow and campus Camera representative, who came to defend Israel as well. There were altogether 300 people, an assemblage of student activists, faculty and aging hippies with a handful of Israel supporters. Many people handed the flyer back to me after they saw the name David Horowitz Freedom Center. I engaged a few folks in debate over some of the points in the ad.

I reiterated the message in the Horowitz ad that the Palestinian claim that Israel “occupies Palestine” is an outright historical lie and that there has never been a “Palestinian” state or entity to occupy before the PLO was created in 1964 in order to obliterate the State of Israel. People asked why I am denouncing the Palestinian people. I said, “Because they are suffering,” echoing the message in the ad. But, I continued, the cause of their suffering is not Israel, but sixty years of Arab aggression. If we continue to blame and demonize Israel, we will never get to the core of the Israeli-Palestinian question, which is that Arab dictatorships have been using the Palestinian people as political pawns in their war against the State of Israel. This is the manner in which Danielle and I argued with some of the anti-Israel activists around us before the event began.

The speakers, Finkelstein and Khalidi, were venomous in their detailed demonization of Israel, and it was grueling to listen to their talks, but the audience was worse. The person I was sitting next to was mourning the death of Osama bin Laden. In fact, I think many in the audience were OBL sympathizers. I got into a vehement argument with one middle-aged lady who viciously attacked Israel, saying that Israel backed out of every deal and shortchanged the Palestinians and that I should read Dennis Ross’ book, whom she described as “one of your guys.” I said Arafat backed out of the deal which would have given the Palestinians a state and she kept hollering, “Bulls**t, Israel backed out, read Dennis Ross.”

I overheard one young woman praising Hezbollah and saying that Israel was the worst thing that happened since the Holocaust. I confronted her on her statements, asking her to repeat what she said about Israel and why she was praising a terrorist organization. She was startled to find a supporter of Israel in the midst of an otherwise compliant group of Muslims and left-wing activists and was speechless. Her friends chimed in saying, “One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter,” making the point that they, too, are admirers of Hezbollah.

Before the lecture, people were passing out nefarious literature on “Nakba” (the Palestinian anniversary of the creation of Israel, “the catastrophe”) and the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” to their activist friends and announcing upcoming events to excoriate the Jewish State. I spoke to a Palestinian Muslim sporting a 1960s beatnik goatee, who said the Palestinians have had a “culture” in the region for many past generations, after I confronted him with the fact that there was no Palestinian entity during the 400 year Ottoman reign and during the British rule after World War I. I mentioned the fact that Mark Twain said it was a desolate land with virtually no inhabitants. To everything I said, he answered, “Zionist propaganda.” He even claimed there was no Arab War with Israel in 1948. It is all Zionist propaganda. There was nothing further I could say to the deaf and dumb.

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  • Robert

    Your first paragraph makes it sound like Edward Said was there.

    Your wrote:
    Rashid Khalidi, author of “The Iron Cage” and former professor of political science at DePaul University who was denied tenure and resigned; Edward Said, professor of Arab studies at Columbia and co-director of CPS

    I'm sure you meant:
    Rashid Khalidi, author of The Iron Cage, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia, and Co-Director of CPS

    • WildJew

      Edward Said is dead.

      • ziontruth

        But his anti-intellectual legacy of painting anyone who mentions the truth about Islamic imperialism as "Orientalist" (now usually "racist" or "Islamophobe") lives on.

    • jacob

      Your are right…
      However, thank GOD, a mind poisoner pseudointellectual animal like EDWARD
      SAID is as dead as a door nail and it is just a shame the 72 virgins Mohammed
      bestowed on him, are not HELEN THOMAS lookalikes….

  • Anthony

    Planet of the Apes, “it’s madhouse, a madhouse I tell you!” Rubber hoses and truncates would have been more instructive to these a-holes.

  • WildJew

    Let's be honest. Norman Finkelstein is a Jewish traitor who never met a Jew-hating nazi or fascist he did not love.

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Some antisemites have no human dignity and that thing you call Norman
    Finkelstein,you can leave out the word"human".

  • Dvora

    Even more damning for the U.S. is the close association of Rashid Khalidi with Barak Obama since their University of Chicago professorships, family friends, and on the Board together of the Woods Foundation (Parented by Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers). This organization funneled grants totaling $75,000 for 2001 and 2002 to Khalidi's anti-Israel 'Arab American Action Network – AAAN. Khalidi then, and possibly now, had ties to the Palestinian LIberation Organization, a known terrorist group on the US State Department's list. Khalidi was also a spokesman and advisor to Yasser Arafat.
    Obama can hardly be claimed as an "honest broker" in conjunction with Israel-Palestinian negotiations. Furthermore his attitude to the current Middle Eastern chaos and the Iranian government nuclear policies raise many questions as to his judgment and orientation towards these vital American interests.

  • Reneeca

    Look up Rashid Khalidi on utube speaking on college campuses. He is very close to Obama and was a neighbor of his in Chicago. He is an anti-Semite to the core and Pro- Palestinian who is rabidly against Israel!It is amazing to me how the American Jews are Pro-Palestinian activists who hold no loyalty to the country of their ancestors!

  • ghostoflectricity

    Wild Jew: You're right; ES died in 2003 (leukemia). I did a double take when I saw his name here. But his malignant, false, and pernicious ideas are very much alive.

  • betsp

    Interesting that Americans of any religion, who have enjoyed freedom and liberties here, could support any Islamic state. Maybe they have a death wish and terminal guilt issues which lead them down the dark path?

  • jacob

    But GOD forbid any attack on KHALIDI ever takes place, as it will be met by an
    OBAMA's reaction more terrible than the one on his professor at the hands of
    the Cambridge, Ma police…

    No doubt the culprit will be charged and death penalty asked by HOLDER's
    Justice Department …

    By the way that ex-judge Texas Representative surely wiped the floor with him
    on the issues he ordered quashed

    So much for OBAMA's sidekicks choices….

  • jacob

    Does anybody remember the child ELIAN issue in Miami, Florida, USA ???

    It so happens that JANET RENO was Secretary of Justice and HOLDER her sidekick

    It so happens that JANET RENO ran for the Florida's governorship and I dare say,
    not even her immediate family gave her their vote…

    Nevertheless, her sidekick in that shameless deed is now our Justice Secretary by
    the grace of our ineffable President but boy oh boy, does his skirt show and how as
    this ex-judge now Texas Rep. surely gave him a run for his money on the issues he
    ordered quashed…! ! !

    • Steve Chavez

      Holder also abruptly ordered the end of any investigation by the FBI of BILL RICHARDSON and his numerous Pay to Play allegations! This was right during Obama's searching to fill Cabinet positions which Richardson was guaranteed a spot until the FBI came out with allegations against two of Richardson's cronies. Richardson was removed from any list and he went into hiding and a depression like Al Gore did after the election! Bill grew a beard and his double chin, which he had a chin job thinking Al Gore was going to pick him for VP so he had to look pretty, grew back to a triple chin!

      There a new allegations against five more of his cronies and charges are being brought up by NM Attorney General, Gary King, son of the late Governor Bruce King, both Democrats! The investigation is at a turtle pace but word is is that at least one of these charged is going to spill the beans on Richardson UNLESS HOLDER STOPS THAT ONE TOO! HOLDER SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED HIMSELF AND CHARGED WITH DERELICTION OF DUTY AND TREASON!

  • Steve Chavez

    Can't say "GERONIMO!" "You're a racist" if you question Obama on anything! "You're a racist" if you dare question an illegal!" Can't call a Muslim "a Muslim!" BUT HEY, LET'S BRING ON "THOSE JEW PIGS!" Jew-hating is institutionalized at every university!

    JOSEPH MASSAD, a tenured Columbia professor, was an undergrad radical here at the University of New Mexico in the 80's and attended meetings on Central America only to learn from Gerry Bradley, the head of the NM Marxist Educators for Socialist Action and the NM Peace Council, a front of the U.S. Peace Council/Communist Party USA and the World Peace Council run by the Soviet KGB! Massad learned his radicalism directly from a KGB propagandist! Today's MSA at UNM is still led by outsiders like Massad's comrade, Norman Assad who in charge of a protest supporting Hamas two years ago!

    Obama is in El Paso today, across from Juarez, the killing capital of the world, who is seeking immigration reform. I HOPE HE GETS "MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE!" Oops, am I going to be in trouble with Montezuma's relatives?

  • BS77

    I cannot believe anyone would give a pathological liar and hate monger like N Frankenstien, ooops Finkelstein a platform to deliver his garbage.

  • OLJingoist

    part 2
    11. Is the only religion NOT founded on The Golden Rule. Morality is based on Mohammed's example. If Mohammed did it, then it's OK for all Muslims. Hence the encouragement of rape, pillage, subjugation and murder of non-believers and the institutionalised pedophilia prevalent throughout Muslim society- justified by Mohammed's activities with Ayesha, his child sex-slave.

    12. Defines all human relations by Dominance/Subjugation. Muslims have schizoid inferiority/superiority complexes. (A well-balanced Muslim is one with a chip on each shoulder). They respect strength but despise compromise as weakness. Appeasement invites more aggression. The only political system which has been strong enough to subjugate Islam is Stalinism.

    13. Establishes and legitimizes polygamy, which ensures alpha-males get extra women, leading to a shortage of women for the betas. Beta-males must either jerk off (a sin leading to hell), or form dog-packs and rape or capture kafir women as booty in a razzia, or else self-destruct in the presence of infidels so that then they can screw 72 mythical virgins in Allah's bordello in the sky. Beta-males are often encouraged by their relatives to become suicide bombers because of the belief that such murderous 'martyrs' will be able to intercede with Allah to take 70 of their relatives to paradise with them.

    14. Encourages lying and the deception of infidels (taqiyya). This may take many forms, including outright lies, feigned moderation, and condemnation of terrorist attacks to the Kaffir while rejoicing the same with fellow Muslims. Muslims often tend to regard themselves as victims of some group of Kafirs so they can harbor grudges against them and against Kafirs in general.

    Individual Muslims may appear law-abiding and reasonable, but they are part of a totalitarian movement, and must be considered potential killers who can flip in an instant (SJS -'Sudden Jihad Syndrome').

    15. Forbids befriending Kaffirs except for purposes of deceit or where conversion may be possible.

    16. Purports to have a 'holy book', the Koran, that is Allah's final word, and cannot be changed or challenged. To do so is punishable by death. Consequently, the Death Cult can never change or be reformed. The instructions to murder and rape infidels are just as valid now as the day they were written.

    Since Islam cannot be modernised, the Muslims are attempting to Islamise modernity. This requires spreading Islam in the West and simultaneously preventing any criticism of the cult by intimidation and PC legislation to curtail freedom of expression.

    17. Regards treaties and agreements with Kaffirs as meaningless, and are made to be broken (Hudna). The word of a Muslim to a Kafir counts for nothing in the eyes of Allah. Allah is The Father Of Lies.

    18. Divides the world between Dar-al-Islam (the Islamic Realm) and Dar-al-Harb (the domain of war, the Kufr lands). Muslims living in Dar-al-Harb must work to disrupt their host nations until these can be brought into Dar-al-Islam.

    19. Encourages Muslims to parasitise their host nations. In fact, Muslims have no obligation to their host nations. Welfare fraud, identity theft, forgery etc. are endemic in Western Muslim populations, and serious crime against Kaffirs is regarded as normal and justified. Extortion rackets against Kafirs are mandated by the Koran ('jizya' is the Arabic term for 'protection money' payable by Jews and Christians to Muslims).

    20. Is a complete system, including a culture, which Muslims regard as superior to other cultures (despite all evidence to the contrary). Jihadist attacks on their host nations aren't just against its religion and economy, but are aimed at its very cultural identity.

    Muslims are therefore required to destroy the symbols of 'Jahiliya' (sometimes spelled 'Jahiliyya') – non-Muslim culture. In the East this has included destruction of Hindu temples and Christian churches and replacement with mosques, and destruction of Buddhist artwork, temples, and universities and replacement with heaps of rubble. This process of cultural replacement is now beginning in the West.

    Excuse parts being out of order ADMIN wants to approve ofpart 1 but allowed part 2 Go Figure

    • OLJingoist

      "20 Things You Should Know About Islam"
      by 'Religion of Pieces'

      ISLAM…

      1. Is a mind-control and information-control cult founded by a murderer, torturer, brigand, rapist and pedophile called Mohammed. The mind-control and information-control aspects require that all criticism be silenced.

      2. Is Mohammed's personality cult. Has no foundations other than Mo's murderous rantings (Koran and Hadith). The Koran consists of two conflicting parts – Meccan and Medinan (peaceful and violent respectively). The Medinan stuff supersedes ('abrogates') the Meccan stuff. Muslims act Medinan, but quote Meccan verses to the gullible infidels.

      3. Claims to worship the same God as Christians and Jews, but in fact worships Allah – a demonic channeling through Mohammed's psychopathic ego. The Death Cult mixes garbled versions of Christian and Jewish scriptures with pagan practices such as moon and meteorite-worship, and cut-throat blood sacrifice of animals and non-believers.

      4. Has no rational, philosophical nor theological basis, and the whole belief-system is contradicted by science, philosophy, common sense, human decency, and internal inconsistency.

      5. Cannot withstand rational criticism. Islam can only spread and maintain itself by ignorance, illiteracy, war, terrorism, and intimidation. Islam has bloody borders and cannot co-exist peacefully with other belief systems. Winston Churchill said that Islam in a man is as dangerous as hydrophobia (rabies) in a dog.

      6. Has a superstitious dread of images of pigs, crosses, Buddhas, Saint George (and his flag), teddy bears, and of course Motoons.

      7. Regards Islamic women as semihuman. Wife-beating, incest and child abuse (including mufa’khathat or 'thighing' – the ritual abuse of infants) are encouraged.

      8. Regards all unbelievers (Kaffirs, Kuffar, Kufrs, Kafirs) as ritually unclean subhumans to be killed, subjugated, enslaved, exploited, or parasitised. Kafirs are described by the Arabic word 'najis' – literally 'filth'. That's why Muslim hatred of Kafirs is intrinsic to their 'religion'. A Kafir doesn't need to DO anything to offend a Muslim; his very existence is enough of an affront.

      9. Possesses an ethical system that applies only to Muslims. Allah encourages rape, pillage, extortion and enslavement of non-Muslims. Morality does not extend beyond the global gang (ummah). Muslim ethics are the ethics of the Mafia.

      10. Has followers who are motivated by hatred, greed and lust. There is no love, mercy or compassion. Allah is vindictive, unpredictable, capricious and devious – "Allah leads astray whom he pleases".

  • AliceL

    Said was a fraud who was raised in Egypt and spent much of his life there. Finkelstein is a Holocaust denier and a fan of Hezbollah. He and the Hezzies suit each other. Question: why does anybody donate money to Columbia? I know graduate who refuse to donate because of the anti-semitism and Israel bashing that routinely go on there. Much praise to Phil Orenstein for exposing the frauds who pose as "academics".

  • ajnn

    Mr. Orenstein must be commended for his courage and perseverance.

    Well done. We need a million more like you.

  • Alfonz Shmedlap

    Tu., 05/10/11 common era

    Now, now, it's not nice to oppose diversity , multiculturalism, moral equivalance, and radical egalitarianism. Everyone is equal. Everyone, that is, except vocal Zionist Jews.

    But have no fear, the ADL will likely sponser an interfaith candlelight vigil. That'll show the Moslem Brotherhood and Chairman Obama!

  • ShelZahav

    There is no such thing as a "Palestinian People". This "people" was also created in the 1960s and does not exist in history.

    • ziontruth

      It was and remains nothing but a propaganda device.

      The Arab settlers in Palestine could become a nation in somewhere between 50 years and a century if they took to sprouting a culture of their own, something culturally positive that would mark them as unique, differentiate them from the other Arabs in the Levant or in the Arab world as a whole. In reality, even a thousand years wouldn't make them a nation, because they devote all their efforts to destructive and negative activities. Their only local culture is the culture of suicide-murder, and even that's not unique to them, but is generally Islamic.

  • Fred

    You are very brave confronting these enemies of America and Israel. They will not listen to the truth. The FBI should be investigating them.

  • Fred

    If I am not wrong wasn’t Obama a friend or didn’t he attend a dinner sometime back before he was elected with this Edward Said?

  • someone

    Trying to undrestand Palestine, and Palestinian, without realization of Islam/Islamic Jihad, is like to trying to learn Calculus, without knowing Aljebra
    How is that possible to learn the middle east, withoud knowing Islam?
    What happened to Zoroastianism in iran, Coptics in Egypt, Budhism in Afghanistan, Assyrian Culture in Iraq, Byzantine and Christian Empire in Syria…waht happened to their languages, writings, cultures, …well, well well, I mean it. Nobody undrestand waht is happening /happened in middle east, unless realizes what is all about Islam.

  • Phil_Orenstein

    Please note the following correction in the first paragraph. It should read as follows: "The panel of rabid anti-Israel academics included Norman Finkelstein, author of “This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion,” former Professor of Political Science at DePaul University who was denied tenure and resigned, Rashid Khalidi, author of “The Iron Cage,” Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia, and Co-Director of CPS, and Peter Weiss, Vice President, Center for Constitutional Rights."

  • char

    I watched some video footage of Finklestein, the child of traumatized Holocaust survivors, and the man is obviously psychotic. Perhaps one day the video footage of O & Khalidi that was purposefully hidden by the LA Times will come to light, who knows. O is a product of and a purveyor of this poison that has invaded our universities.

  • Eliyahu

    Good journalism! A lively on the spot report.

  • Raymond in DC

    Nowyou know why once great Columbia University is now called by some Bir Zeit on the Hudson. (Bir Zeit is a Palestinian university. )

  • Larry

    Rashid Khalidi and Norman Finkelstein are to anti-semitic jackasses. Only in the world of our far left academia are these two morons allowed a platform to spread their hatred of anything relating to the Jewish State. Finkelstein would be pan-handling on the street if he wasn't being well paid to be a spokesman for the Muslim community and speak out against Israel.