A tenured professor at New York’s Columbia University authored an article praising Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians last Saturday, less than a day after the attacks took place.
“What can motorized paragliders do in the face of one of the most formidable militaries in the world?” asks Joseph Massad, who has taught Modern Arab Politics at Columbia since 1999, in his article for the website Electronic Intifada. “Apparently much in the hands of an innovative Palestinian resistance.”
The article goes on to describe the actions of Hamas terrorists, who are confirmed to have beheaded, burned alive, kidnapped, raped, and murdered hundreds of civilians across Israel’s south, as “astonishing,” “astounding,” “awesome,” and “incredible.” The author does not condemn their actions, and defends Hamas’ financial ties to Iran, in the process comparing the attacks on Israel to European resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II.
“Perhaps the major achievement of the resistance in the temporary takeover of these colonies,” Massad writes, referring to Hamas’ hours-long siege of communities like Be’eri and Kfar Aza, “is the death blow to any confidence that Israeli colonists had in their military and its ability to protect them.”
Referring to those displaced from their homes, Massad writes that “the colonists’ flight from these settlements may prove to be a permanent exodus. They may have finally realized that living on land stolen from another people will never make them safe.”
Tensions boil over among students
Columbia has been a hotbed of Israel-Palestine-related hostilities for years, and the outbreak of the war last week has seen these tensions progressively boiling over. On Wednesday, a 19-year-old female suspect allegedly assaulted a 24-year-old Israeli student with a stick in front of a university library, according to the Columbia Spectator. The student. per the Spectator, “informed other Jewish and Israeli students that he does not feel safe and that they should consider the risk of coming onto campus due to protests scheduled for Thursday.”
Thursday had been declared a “day of resistance” by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a national group with 200 chapters across North American universities. SJP called the Saturday morning attack by Hamas “a historic win for the Palestinian resistance.”
“Jewish students are afraid,” said David Hidary, a 20-year-old physics major, who attended one of the protests. Meanwhile, several masked speakers at the pro-Palestine rally declined to reveal their full names, with one saying they did not feel safe enough on campus to disclose their identity.
Sharing Massad’s article on X, the prominent American-Jewish writer Bari Weiss, who attended the university, said “I have been criticizing [Massad] since I was an undergrad and was accused of being a hysteric and worse for doing so.
“I was just listening to what he had to say.”
Reuters contributed to this report.