Barnard-Columbia International Socialist Organization

January 5, 2009

Professor Joseph Massad article on Electronic Intifada today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 5:15 pm

Columbia professor Joseph Massad has an excellent article published today at Electronic Intifada, an indispensable site for news and resources on the Palestinian struggle.

Massad’s article, The Gaza Ghetto Uprsising, explores how Israel has explicitly or tacitly aided the leadership of most Arab regimes and the collaborationist wing of Palestinian national politics, (most obviously led by Mahmoud Abbas right now), in suppressing popular movements and uprisings across the  Middle East. In contrast to the completely undemocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, a major recipient of support from the US and Israel, Massad points out that Hamas was democratically elected in Gaza. But clearly Israel and the US care little for democracy, as they happily join hands with so many nearby dictators while attempting to destroy Gaza.

He draws comparisons to the political and class divisions within the Warsaw Ghetto, where certain wealthy leaders of the Jewish community sought collaboration with the Nazi’s, rather than organizing resistance. (For an incredible account of this, see Bernard Goldstein’s memoir, Five Years in the Warsaw Ghetto.)

And Massad ends with a great defense of the resilience of Palestinian resistance to Israel’s colonial project:

The only constant in Palestinian lives for the last century of Zionist atrocities has been resistance to the Zionist project of erasing them from the face of the earth. While Zionism sought and recruited Arab and Palestinian collaborators since its inception in the hope of crushing Palestinian resistance, neither Israel nor any of its collaborators has been able to stop it. The lesson that Zionism has refused to learn, and still refuses to learn, is that the Palestinian yearning for freedom from the Zionist yoke cannot be extinguished no matter how barbaric Israel’s crimes become. The Gaza Ghetto Uprising will mark both the latest chapter in Palestinian resistance to colonialism and the latest Israeli colonial brutality in a region whose peoples will never accept the legitimacy of a racist European colonial settlement in their midst.

*It should be noted that Professor Massad, despite his much-admired scholarship and teaching, has faced an nasty attack from a small group of Zionists wishing to stop his bid for tenure (and have him fired!) for the past four years, simply because he dares to support Palestinian self-determination and doesn’t shirk from calling out Israel’s racism and brutality.

Some background articles to read here and here – and on the attack on academic freedom and progressive professors more generally, here.


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