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Columbia University is facing pressure to discipline Professor Hamid Dabashi for referring to Zionists as “hyenas,” among other anti-Zionist comments.
On May 8, Dabashi posted on Facebook, “Every dirty treacherous ugly and pernicious happening in the world just wait for a few days and the ugly name ‘Israel’ will pop up in the atrocities.” Later on in this Facebook post he referred Iran deal critics as “Fifth Column Zionists working against the best interest of Americans and for the best interests of Israelis.”
Later that day, Dabashi issued another Facebook post that stated, “These laughing hyaenas – the Zionists the Saudis and the US neocons that are f***** with the wrong country [Iran].”
Alums for Campus Fairness, a pro-Israel watchdog, sent a letter asking Columbia President Lee Bollinger to “confront” Dabashi for these posts.
“Professor Dabashi’s statements echo the common anti-Semitic canards and meet the working definition of anti-Semitism that the State Department has been using for years,” the letter states. “The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which has been adopted by the US and 30 other member states, clearly states that ‘accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations’ is anti-Semitic.”
The letter then issued four requests to Bollinger: denounce Dabashi’s comments, make it clear that Jewish and pro-Israel students are welcome on campus, discuss how campus climate can be improved and not allow Dabashi to continue teaching at the school until he ceases his “anti-Semitic rhetoric.”
“This is not a free speech issue trying to prevent Professor Dabashi from espousing his personal opinions on his own time,” the letter states. “He does not, however, have the right to create a hostile environment on campus for Jewish, Israeli and pro-Israel students who are entitled–like every student–to a safe and welcoming learning environment.”
The signatories on the letter include representatives from StandWithUs, The Lawfare Project and Students Supporting Israel (SSI) as well as numerous Columbia faculty and staff.
One signatory, Columbia’s Chabad co-director Rabbi Yonah Blum told Algemeiner that there has been “a dramatic uptick in the amount of students who are seeking shelter from the intimidation they are feeling on campus due to increasing anti-Israel and anti-Jewish comments and incidents in the classrooms and on campus.”
According to the pro-Israel watchdog Canary Mission, Dabashi’s history includes calling Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked “Neo-Nazi scum” in 2015, claiming Israel has engaged in “ethnic cleansing” and comparing them to ISIS. Dabahsi also wrote in 2009, “The pro-Israeli Zionist lobby in the US banked and invested heavily in infiltrating, buying, and paying for all the major and minor corridors of power.”
As the Journal has previously reported, Dabashi has once referred to Zionists as “master thieves” and has referred to Hamas as “the legitimate and democratically elected representative of Palestinian people.”
Additionally, Dabashi wrote in a May 30 Facebook post, “Rosanne Barr’s anti-Black Racism and her hatred of Muslims are both deeply and squarely rooted in her Zionism.”