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October 11, 2023 10:12 am

Columbia University Professor Cheers Hamas Barbarity

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avatar by A.J. Caschetta


Low Memorial Library at Columbia University. Photo: Alex Proimos.

Writing in his favorite online “resistance” propaganda outlet, The Electronic Intifada, Columbia University professor Joseph Massad seemed excited about what he calls “the Palestinian war of liberation.” He was astounded by the “shocking success” of “the Palestinian resistance.” The videos on social media that horrify normal people seem to have him whipped into a triumphalist frenzy.

Massad has the seemingly impressive title of “Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies,” but don’t let it fool you. He is a ghoulish individual who is elated at the “astounding,” “striking,” “awesome,” and “innovative” “victories of the resistance.”

He uses the term “resistance” 16 times in his 1,800-word word paean to inhumanity.

What happened in Israel on Saturday should have broken through the familiar left-right divide. There should be no Democratic vs. Republican, progressive vs. conservative view when it comes to executing, raping, and beheading civilians.

Liberal New York governor Kathy Hochul has referred to Hamas’ “violent terrorist attacks and civilian kidnappings” as “horrific actions.” Even House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) understands the necessity of doing “everything necessary to support Israel’s effort to defeat the Hamas terrorists and their barbarity.” But not Joseph Massad.

Then again, Joseph Massad is not your average left-wing academic. I know many of them, and they do not seem rapturous over the execution of civilians. Massad is something different.

His article celebrates “the death blow to any confidence that Israeli colonists had in their military and its ability to protect them.”

It celebrates Hamas’ “incursions,” carried out “in retaliation for the ongoing Israeli pogroms in the West Bank” and “the ongoing siege of Gaza itself.”

Anyone with a modicum of historical knowledge understands that what the Palestinians in Gaza (not all were Hamas “fighters”) carried out in southern Israel on Saturday were pogroms. Hundreds were executed. Babies were beheaded. Women were raped and carried away. Entire families were slaughtered.

Massad would have his readers believe that the debauchery of Hamas executioners and rapists is being celebrated throughout the Arab world. He describes with glee “the millions of jubilant Arabs who spent the day watching the news.”

Especially poignant in his mind were images showing “the capture of some of Israel’s colonial soldiers and officers in their underwear while sleeping.” In Massad’s mind, this is belated retaliation for “images of humiliated Egyptian prisoners of war during the 1967 war, not to mention those of Palestinian POWs in their underwear held by Israeli soldiers.”

Of course Massad is outraged that Israel is fighting back. He cites “2,300 Palestinians … injured in the Israeli attacks,” and has the audacity of faulting Israel for “the bombing of Gaza … without any warning.”

He’s also angry that “the international enemies of the Palestinian people [have] rushed to declare support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism and to condemn the Palestinian resistance.”

In addition to “Arab governments allied with Israel,” Massad blames “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose alliance with the West against Russia is pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war” and “UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, not known for his love of the Palestinian people.”

Finally, no Joseph Massad piece would be complete without an obligatory comparison of Israel to the Nazis. His complaint that “Western and Arab governments and liberals often condemn the Palestinian resistance for accepting military and financial aid from the Iranian government” concludes with this assertion, worthy of quoting at length:

“This would be like demanding that the Europeans resisting Nazi occupation during World War II refuse military and financial help from the white supremacist and apartheid United States, not to mention the racist colonizing regimes of France and Britain.

Yet unlike those countries, Iran has neither been responsible for the murder of millions around the world nor for colonizing or occupying the lands of others.”

Joseph Massad’s belief that Israel is like Nazi Germany shows that he is a repugnant human. His inability to recognize Iran’s empire stretching from Lebanon to Yemen shows that he is a poor historian.

So let Joseph Massad celebrate his Pyrrhic victory. His faith that “the indigenous Palestinian resistance has only just begun” and his confidence that his side will win, are premature.

And let decent people everywhere know that Joseph Massad of Columbia University apparently celebrates massacre, execution, rape, and infanticide.

Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) Senior Fellow A.J. Caschetta is a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a fellow at Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum where he is also a Ginsberg-Milstein fellow. A different version of this article was previously published by IPT.

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