School is open and Columbia University is up to its old tricks. Or, rather, its president, Lee Bollinger is up to his old tricks. What do these amount to? Ignoring the obvious.
I didn't read this in the New York Times. The Times treats Columbia with kid gloves on all matters. Both Punch and Pinch Sulzberger are Columbia alumni and their loyalty goes very deep. The story, "New Columbia Hire Backed Academic Boycott of Israel," comes from the New York Sun, which should be honored for staying for years on the miserable tale of the university's link to Arab fanaticism and its indifference to a chic expression of anti-Semitism. I have written here about Columbia and the Said political police legacy there many times.
Columbia has now appointed Timothy Mitchell professor of Arab studies. But this is not the only position from which he would be prone to bias against Zionist students and especially students, professors and other scholars from Israel. You see he is also slated to take up the very important role of director of graduate studies. Mitchell has already put himself on record as favoring a boycott of Israeli universities and Israeli academics. Can Bollinger guarantee that, given Mitchell's ideological commitments against the Israeli academy, he would admit Israeli graduate students to the Columbia program, vote to appoint Israeli scholars to academic posts in his department, even allow scholarly meetings at which men and women from Israeli universities would appear and present? Of course, Bollinger cannot guarantee it. He probably doesn't even have the guts to confront Mitchell on the matter.
Mitchell may well be a qualified scholar in his field, although Columbia has a notorious record of designating charlatans to Arab and Middle Eastern posts. So I am not questioning his academic credentials; that's for others to do or not to do. But it is pretty clear that, since he is for the boycott of Israeli universities and their personnel, he will not abide by the traditions of the tolerant and free American scholarly world. He is a McCarthyite in left-wing clothing.