Monday, November 22, 2004

The Face of "Academc Freedom"

Prof. Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University.

Remember the name and face. Here's why (from the New York Daily News):
In the world of Hamid Dabashi, supporters of Israel are "warmongers" and "Gestapo apparatchiks."

The Jewish homeland is "nothing more than a military base for the rising predatory empire of the United States."

It's a capital of "thuggery" - a "ghastly state of racism and apartheid" - and it "must be dismantled."

A voice from America's crackpot fringe? Actually, Dabashi is a tenured professor and department chairman at Columbia University. And his views have resonated and been echoed in other areas of the university.

Columbia is at risk of becoming a poison Ivy, some critics claim, and tensions are high.

In classrooms, teach-ins, interviews and published works, dozens of academics are said to be promoting an I-hate-Israel agenda, embracing the ugliest of Arab propaganda, and teaching that Zionism is the root of all evil in the Mideast.

In three weeks of interviews, numerous students told the Daily News they face harassment, threats and ridicule merely for defending the right of Israel to survive.

And the university itself is holding investigations into the alleged intimidation.

Dabashi has achieved academic stardom: professor of Iranian studies; chairman of the Middle East and Asian languages and cultures department; past head of a panel that administers Columbia's core curriculum.

The 53-year-old, Iranian-born scholar has said CNN should be held accountable for "war crimes" for one-sided coverage of Sept. 11, 2001. He doubts the existence of Al Qaeda and questions the role of Osama Bin Laden in the attacks.
Though Dabashi and his fellow travelers on the loony Left aren't necessarily a majority in academia, they're not far from its mainstream. Consider this report from The New York Times:
...[A] national survey of more than 1,000 academics, shows that Democratic professors outnumber Republicans by at least seven to one in the humanities and social sciences. That ratio is more than twice as lopsided as it was three decades ago, and it seems quite likely to keep increasing, because the younger faculty members are more consistently Democratic than the ones nearing retirement, said Daniel Klein, an associate professor of economics at Santa Clara University and a co-author of the study.

In a separate study of voter registration records, Professor Klein found a nine-to-one ratio of Democrats to Republicans on the faculties of Berkeley and Stanford. That study, which included professors from the hard sciences, engineering and professional schools as well as the humanities and social sciences, also found the ratio especially lopsided among the younger professors of assistant or associate rank: 183 Democrats versus 6 Republicans...
No surprises there.

(Thanks to Instapundit for the tip about Dabashi, and to Marginal Revolution for the pointer to the Times story.)