The Electronic Intifada

EI EXCLUSIVE: Joseph Massad's statement to Columbia University's Ad Hoc Grievance Committee

5 April 2005

On 31 March 2005, Columbia University publicly released the report of a faculty Ad Hoc Grievance Committee charged with examining student complaints of intimidation in the classroom by faculty in the department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC). The Ad Hoc Grievance Committee, which was composed of five University faculty members and advised by First Amendment scholar and Columbia Visiting Professor Floyd Abrams, was formed in December 2004 to identify the facts underlying student concerns of intimidation in the classroom. In this exclusive, EI publishes the full text of Joseph Massad’s rebuttal.

Brandeis University's "objective" center for Middle East Studies undermined by Israeli and US military connections

Bob Feldman
4 April 2005

Directed by a member of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies Council and a recent head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (JCSS) at Tel Aviv University named Shai Feldman (no relation to this writer), the new Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University apparently won’t have to operate on a shoestring budget. According to the Boston Globe, the Crown Center for Middle East Studies already has an endowment of $25 million. “The center will seek to produce a discourse on the Middle East as dispassionate, objective and centrist as possible,” Feldman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a recent interview. Looking at the players, this seems unlikely.

Is Israel a safe haven for Jews?

Adri Nieuwhof and
Jeff Handmaker
3 April 2005

In early March 2005, the High Court of Australia made a unanimous decision to give refugee protection to a Russian Jewish doctor and his son. The Australian court determined that it could not “offload its responsibilities” to protect them by arguing Israel was a ‘safe third country’ on the basis of the so-called law of return or ‘Aliyah’. The decision has important implications as it directly challenges the notion held by Israel and its supporters that there must exist a ‘Jewish state’ for the exclusive protection of Jews. There are clear and growing signs that many Jews do not see Israel as a “safe haven” and therefore seek refuge elsewhere.

The First Yum El-Ard Protest: An interview with Fr. Shehadeh Shehadeh

Sharif Hamadeh
31 March 2005

30 March 2005 marked the 29th anniversary of Yum El-Ard (“Land Day”) — the first mass political protest of Arab citizens of Israel, now commemorated as a national day for Palestinians worldwide. Sharif Hamadeh interviews Fr. Shehadeh Shehadeh, the activist-priest who headed the first protest in 1976. “People here are not very happy,” he says, referring to the Palestinian minority in Israel. “I’m always optimistic and I always pray for peace and work for peace - I even have a committee called Clergy for Peace - but at this time, I’m very pessimistic.”

E-1: The end of a viable Palestinian state

Jeff Halper
30 March 2005

Last week’s announcement that Israel is constructing 3500 housing units in E-1, a corridor connecting Jerusalem to the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, seals the fate of the Palestinian state. As a key element of an Israeli “Greater Jerusalem,” the E-1 plan removes any viability from a Palestinian state. It cuts the West Bank in half, allowing Israel to control Palestinian movement from one part of their country to another, while isolating East Jerusalem from the rest of Palestinian territory. Since 40% of the Palestinian economy revolves around Jerusalem, the E-1 plan effectively cuts the economic heart out of any Palestinian state, rendering it nothing more than a set of non-viable Indian reservations.

BBC reporting doesn't tell the whole story

Victor Kattan
29 March 2005

Tim Llewellyn was the BBC’s Middle East correspondent twice from 1976 - 1982 and from 1987 - 1992. Based in Beirut and Cyprus, Llewellyn covered the Lebanese civil war, the Iranian Revolution, the Tanker Wars, the first Palestinian intifada, and the first Gulf War. He was one of the first foreign correspondents to enter the camps of Sabra and Shatila after the massacres there by Phalangist Forces under the auspices of the Israeli army in September 1982. In this interview, exclusive to the Electronic Intifada, Llewellyn talks candidly about the BBC, and the pressures that organization and its correspondents are under, when reporting from the Middle East.

What Will Be the Sharon Legacy?

Am Johal
29 March 2005

As Israeli Arabs mark Land Day this week, Ariel Sharon’s government announced what everybody already knew since last summer. The Israeli government is going to expand the Ma’aleh Addumim settlement bloc in the West Bank by 3,500 housing units. With other development measures in place, it will effectively separate the West Bank and leave any open corridor under Israeli control as well as redraw the boundaries of Jerusalem. Other policies such as the construction of Israel’s West Bank Barrier will continue unabated.

The Israeli Left is Opting for Suicide

Tanya Reinhart
29 March 2005

To judge by the political discourse, being a leftist today means supporting Ariel Sharon. Even when his government decides yet again to postpone the evacuation of the illegal outposts to an unknown future date, the pundits explain that the mere fact that he even raised the matter for discussion in the government is indicative of the seriousness of his intentions. Sharon will evacuate Gaza first, they say, and afterwards the outposts, and in the end maybe even the West Bank. And those who believe the most that Sharon will dismantle settlements are the Leftist parties.

Kate Baillie - a life lived to the hilt

Raja Khalidi and
Peter Polish
28 March 2005

Kate Baillie, writer and travel-guide author, democratic-left activist and much-loved friend of all who knew her, passed away peacefully in France on 12 March after a debilitating fight with an untreatable cancer. She would have celebrated her 48th birthday on March 28. In her last days, she exuded the humour, tough realism and combative free spirit that she wore proudly throughout her brief life. Katy was thoroughly her own woman until the very end, when only her spirit remained unbeaten by disease.

Manhattan's Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Bob Feldman
28 March 2005

With annual revenues of $15,112,321 and assets of $10,936,961 in 2002, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces group assists members of the North American public in providing financial support for certain designated programs of the Association for Welfare of Soldiers in Israel. At its $1,000-a-plate 2005 New York Gala Dinner on March 15, for instance, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces New York chapter “will once again honor the soldiers” in “the largest single fundraising event” for the U.S.-based IDF support group, according to its website at


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