January 19, 2020

Petition Circulates Calling for Removal of Columbia Professor Who Referred to Zionists As ‘Hyenas’

A petition is being circulated that is calling for the removal of Columbia Professor Hamid Dabashi, who has come under fire for referring to Zionists as “hyenas,” among other things.

The petition, put forward by the Stop Anti-Semitism website, calls Dabashi “a well-known anti-Semite” due to his “history of demonizing Israel and Jews on social media.” The petition proceeds to list some of Dabashi’s comments, which includes him glorifying Hamas and calling Zionists “hyenas.”

Additionally, when Dabashi ran Columbia’s Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies Department in 2004, he wrote the following about Jews:

“Half a century of systematic maiming and murdering of another people has left its deep marks on the faces of these people. The way they talk, the way they walk, the way they handle objects, the way they greet each other, the way they look at the world. There is an endemic prevarication to this machinery, a vulgarity of character that is bone-deep and structural to the skeletal vertebrae of its culture.”

The petition noted that while Dabashi has a right to freedom of speech, his comments have helped “create a hostile environment on campus for Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel students.”

“Students Supporting Israel (SSI) has filed a complaint with Columbia’s student governing board and university administration detailing that anti-Israel groups ‘have monopolized the conversation on campus relating to the Israeli-Arab conflict and have systematically maligned, harassed and silenced’ pro-Israel voices,” the petition states. “During the past year, such incidents have included repeated vandalization and removal of SSI flyers, the disruption of a speech on campus by Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon, anti-Semitic chants, and the organization of a ‘Gaza solidarity rally’ adjacent to a Holocaust Remembrance Day vigil.”

The petition concludes with a call to boycott Columbia until Dabashi is fired. It has over 4,100 signatures so far.

The petition comes on the heels of Columbia alumni authoring a letter calling for Dabashi to be suspended as well as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) calling Dabashi’s comments “clearly anti-Semitic and deeply problematic.”