Columbia Prof Compares Israel to ISIS

Hamid Dabashi / Twitter
April 5, 2019

In a now-deleted Facebook post Saturday, a Columbia University professor likened Israel to ISIS, but with more mainstream media support.

Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia, shared the post in reaction to the United States recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

According to Fox News, Dabashi went on a bizarrely capitalized rant before removing the post. "What's the difference between ISIS and ISRAEL?" he asked. Neither, he said, has a claim to the Golan Heights. "All of Syria belong to all Syrian people, not an inch it either to ISIS or to ISRAEL." Proof of the post remains available on his Twitter account.

Israel captured the strategic highlands from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel formally annexed the territory in 1981.

In March, President Donald Trump became the first world leader to recognize the strategic reality. "After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights," Trump wrote in March. He described the Golan as "of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability."

Dabashi claimed Israel enjoys American support only because of its embeds in the media. "ISIS does not have a platoon of clean shaven and well coiffured columnists at the New York Times propagating the cause of the terrorist outfit as the Zionists columnists do on a regular basis."

This is true. ISIS does not have a tactical unit of supporters in American media organizations.

In an earlier deleted Facebook post and tweet, Dabashi called Thomas Friedman of the New York Times "the imbecile" and Jeff Goldberg of the Atlantic "THE Israeli prison guard."

Dabashi has drawn media attention for angry anti-Israel posts in the past. He once claimed Israel was behind "[e]very dirty treacherous ugly and pernicious act happening in the world."

He has suggested Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be "chained to a cage in an asylum house or a zoo"

The Anti-Defamation League has denounced one of Dabashi's op-eds in Al Jazeera for "employ[ing] all the sleights of hands by those on the political left who engage in anti-Semitic tropes against Jews."

Dabashi defends the Iranian regime and regularly rants about Israel and Zionists on Twitter. Many of his inflammatory Facebook posts are no longer available.

Dabashi is currently teaching courses at Columbia on Iranian poetry and on "Critical Theory: A Global Perspective." He is the author of "Iran: Rebirth of a Nation."