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November 4, 2007
More Controversy Over Academic Freedom at Columbia
Columbia University's bizarre idea of academic freedom continues as its women's college affiliate, Barnard, voted to grant tenure to Nadia Abu El-Haj, who was born in America and is of Palestinian descent:
[She] contended in her first book, “Facts on the Ground,” that Israeli archaeologists searched for an ancient Jewish presence to help build the case for a Jewish state. In their quest, she wrote, they sometimes used bulldozers, destroying the remains of Arab and other cultures.Meanwhile, the Arabs who control the Temple Mount in Jerusalem which not only houses mosques built upon land occupied by synagogues the Arabs demolished over a thousand years ago but many Jewish and some Christian sites, is busily destroying all archeological evidence of Jewish residency there. This continues the religiously destructive practices of the Jordanians who, when they controlled eastern Jerusalem from 1948-1967, did not allow Jews to visit their religious sites despite signing a treaty pledging to do so.
Instead the Jordanians destroyed synagogues and other Jewish buildings, using the stones to pave streets and for urinals, built a hotel on a Jewish cemetery and forbade any Jew from living under their jurisdiction. Naturally the UN or no one else complained about these gross violations of religious rights. And obviously Barnard believes Ms. El-Haj's projecting one's own historical distorted scholarship onto the enemy is worthy of reward:
Tenure, college officials said, “gives scholars the liberty to advance ideas, regardless of their political impact, so that their work may be openly debated and play a critical role in shaping knowledge in the scholar’s academic field.” Under this reasoning soon Holocaust denial, flat earth proponents, planets and sun revolving around the earth believers and David Irving's biography of Howard Hughes among others will soon find an honored place in the Columbia-Barnard curriculum. Isn't that what "shaping knowledge" is all about?