October 20, 2004

Anti-Semitism at Columbia: the movie

Something's rotten in Morningside Heights, and Columbia's leaders are now getting a eyeful through a privately-distributed documentary film. Read about it here.

Posted by David on October 20, 2004 10:06 PM


The Columbia students do not charge that they are facing anti-Semitism on campus. They attach an importance to what they see as a distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments.

Posted by: John Hardy on October 22, 2004 12:10 AM

Read the whole article, and decide for yourself.

Is the passage above consistent with other passages in the same article? Example:

"It is shocking to see blatant use of racial stereotypes by professors and intimidation tactics by professors in order to push a distinct ideological line on the curriculum," Mr. Beery, who was interviewed for the film, said.
(Emphasis added).

Posted by: David on October 24, 2004 11:16 PM

It certainly sounds bad but I'll reiterate that anti-Israeli attitudes (no matter how unjust etc.) are not necessarily the same thing as anti-semitism. Given what a powder keg of an issue it is that we are talking about it seems wiser not to oversimplify.

Posted by: John Hardy on October 25, 2004 11:26 AM

the pot thickens.... I think this anti-Massad piece by the New York Sun pretty clearly outlines their working definition of "anti-semitism". It means being critical of Israel and supporting resistance on the West Bank.

Posted by: John Hardy on October 25, 2004 8:36 PM

So what does the documentary depict? I thought at first it shows academics at Columbia in the act of harrassing Jewish students, then "Columbia's leaders" must act - assuming the incidents concerned have been depicted in their entirety.

Indeed, if any teachers are shown to be disrespecting students for any reason, then something is going wrong. That something I presume could include persistent destructive behaviour by particular students.

But it seems from the article that the documentary consists of interviews, They are no more than allegations, which are yet to be answered. The allegations are strengthened because the students have put their faces and names to their testimony. It is a powerful way of going public.

To be a bit pedantic, a collection of interviews from one side is not really a documentary, because it has no quality of proof.

There is also an intriguing half line in there - "You would be surprised," Mr. Beery said, "to find the number of students who were willing to stand up and be counted as members of the student body who oppose the intimidation of students in the classroom, especially on topics related to the Middle East." which tends to suggest it is being dealt with at a classroom level.

Posted by: david tiley on October 27, 2004 11:39 AM
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