April 4, 2019
Hamid Dabashi, an Iranian studies professor at Columbia University, compared Israel to ISIS in a March 30 Facebook post.
Dabashi began his Facebook post by asking what the difference between the two was, and then answered his own question by stating that “no decent human being on planet earth recognized their [ISIS’] armed robbery or their ‘caliphate.’” Dabashi then wrote that Israel “conquered parts of Syria and declared it part of their Zionist settler colony,” an apparent reference to Israel’s control of the Golan Heights.
“The only difference: ISIS does not have a platoon of clean shaven and well coiffured columnists at the New York Times propagating the cause of the terrorist outfit as the Zionists columnists do on a regular basis,” Dabashi wrote.
Columbia’s Students Supporting Israel (SSI) chapter shared a screenshot of Dabashi’s post on their Facebook page.
“A professor at our university argues that Israel and ISIS are the same,” the SSI chapter wrote. “This is completely unacceptable. Please email the department and the president’s office, asking them to condemn this dangerous statement.”
Rena Nasar, StandWithUs’ Tri-State campus director and managing director of Campus Affairs, said in a statement to the Journal, “This professor has a long history of vicious racism against Jews and Israelis, so this comment comes as no surprise. We call on the Columbia administration to strongly condemn his hateful rhetoric.”
The university did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.
Dabashi wrote in a March 17 Al Jazeera op-ed that Zionists are “the beneficiaries of anti-Semitism.” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote in a April 3 letter to Al Jazeera, “He [Dabashi] claims to be opposed to anti-Semitism, but only acknowledges anti-Semitism from the right. And he demonizes Israel under the guise of legitimate criticism of the Jewish state.”
Greenblatt added that Dabashi’s claim that he’s “only condemning Zionism, not Jews or Judaism” is a “nuanced form” of anti-Semitism.
“In all such cases, Jews are demonized, either as secret holders of poisonous power, or, in Dabashi’s case, in the form of condemning the allegedly racist, illegitimate movement of Jewish national liberation, Zionism,” Greenblatt wrote.
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