The descent of most of our most revered institutions of higher edication is accelearting, it seems. How else to explain the hiring of�Nadia Abu El Haj, a Palestinian—American as�Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Barnard. She openly states that�she writes within a scholarly tradition that 'Reject(s) a positivist commitment to scientific methods...' and is 'rooted in... post structuralism, philosophical critiques of foundationalism, Marxism and critical theory... and developed in response to specific postcolonial political movements.'
Diana Muir�and Avigail Appelbaum write about her and her book (based on her doctoral dissertation) Facts on the Ground; Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self—Fashioning in Israeli Society (University of Chicago Press, 2001) at the History News Network.
This post—modern approach empowers Abu El Haj to vaporize the positivist notion that the Jewish people lived in Israel in ancient times. Making such a well—documented fact disappear requires an intellectual sleight of hand of monumental proportions. To Abu El Haj, pulling off such a magic trick is apparently worth the effort since denying that Jews are indigenous in Judea enables the redefinition of Israeli Jews as colonizers; foreign settlers with no legitimate right to the land. Or perhaps the post—modern rhetoric Abu El Haj employs with such facility is mere window dressing covering a far older tradition, that of deploying the scholarly paraphernalia of footnotes and arcane language to make a political assertion appear as responsible scholarship. By either interpretation, Abu El Haj's first book, Facts on the Ground; Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self—Fashioning in Israeli Society, derived from her doctoral thesis, is part of a wider intellectual effort intended to persuade the world that Israel is illegitimate, a European outpost with no indigenous roots in the Middle East, and, therefore, that the Israelis deserve to be driven out of Israel much as the French were driven from Algeria.
The degradation of once—honorable institutions into propaganda factories is one the most hoprrifying aspects of modern American intellectual life.
Thomas Lifson�� 6 1 06�