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Pro-Palestinian Columbia professor not punished, despite president’s claim to Congress

‘I remain the chair of the Academic Review Committee’

A Columbia University professor who praised the “Palestinian resistance” remains in good standing with the university and is not currently under investigation.

Professor Joseph Massad challenged President Minouche’s Shafik’s testimony last Wednesday to Congress. Shafik told a House committee Massad had been removed from the Academic Review Committee and is facing an investigation.

“I remain the chair of the Academic Review Committee, a one-year position, for the next few weeks, which is the normal end of my chairmanship,” Massad (pictured) told The Electric Intifada. “Indeed, I just had a meeting with the committee staff yesterday [16 April] and informed them that I will miss the next and final meeting on 8 May, due to my travel schedule.”

“No one has contacted me at all from the university with regards to my current chairmanship. I will also remain a member of the Academic Review Committee next year, which is a three-year appointment,” he said.

President Shafik told Congress last week Massad had been “spoken to” in relation to an Oct. 8, 2023 op-ed that favorably discussed the terrorist attack the day before when pro-Palestinian paragliders attacked civilians in Israel.

“What can motorized paragliders do in the face of one of the most formidable militaries in the world,” Massad wrote for Electric Infitada.

“Apparently much in the hands of an innovative Palestinian resistance, which early on Saturday morning launched a surprise attack on Israel by air, land and sea,” he wrote. “Indeed as stunning videos show, these paragliders have become the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”

New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik asked soon after: “He was spoken to. Who spoke with him?”

“He was spoken to by his head of department,” Shafik said.

“What was he told,” Stefanik asked.

“I was not in those conversations,” Shafik responded. 

“What was he told,” Stefanik asked again.

“…That that language was unacceptable,” Shafik said. 

But Massad remembers it very differently.  He stated, in The Electronic Intifada:

President Shafik misconstrued what happened when she stated that I was ‘spoken to,’ by my chair and my dean, implying that I was reprimanded. In fact, my chair, Professor Gil Hochberg, who incidentally is Jewish and Israeli, informed me that in light of the pro-Israel campaign targeting me and distorting my article, she had told the executive vice president of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Amy Hungerford, that she had read my article and found it descriptive and did not contain praise for the 7 October attack. She even added that her 14-year-old son had read it and deemed it merely descriptive to illustrate the point that if her young son was a careful reader, adults too should not read carelessly….”

“Neither the executive vice president nor my chair reprimanded me about my article nor accused me of praising the attack,” he said. “However, during our walk, Hungerford asked me if I had expected the response that the article received, and I told her that I had not.”

Conflict between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian activists continued last week, as Shafik authorized the New York Police Department to clear a campus encampment. Students arrested included Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, as previously reported by The College Fix.

MORE: Columbia U. president condemns calls for ‘genocide of Jews’ during Congressional hearing

 IMAGE: Break Through News/YouTube

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