Once again the Washington Post’s bias is showing…or their lack of fact checkers. Today’s paper included a story about Nadia Abu El-Haj and her battle for tenure at Barnard College. The “Reporter” Deepti Hajela uses half truths to tell the story of the Professor..here is a great example. She implys that the tenure battle is due to pressure of the “Jewish Lobby” which got good old Norm Finkelstein fired.

She reports this about El-Haj’s book, “The professor, who is of Palestinian descent, argues that Israel has used archeology to justify its existence in the region, sometimes at the expense of other nationalities like the Palestinians.”

Er—sorry Deepdish you got it half right. The book says that there were NEVER JEWS IN ISRAEL before the Zionist movement began. Never, not a one—not even a bagel store, banker or Lawyer. She ignores all of the archaeological evidence and asserts, repeatedly, that the ancient Hebrew kingdoms are not historical realities but political fabrications, “a tale best understood as the modern nation’s ‘origin myth’… transported into the realm of history.” P. 104. She also says that During “the Herodian period, Jerusalem was not a Jewish city, but rather one…. inhabited by ‘other’ communities.” p. 176. Sorry Andrew Lloyd Webber you are going to have to rewrite Jesus Christ Superstar.
“Serious people are outraged when people who are rank amateurs come in,” Jacob Lassner, a professor of history and religion at Northwestern University who wrote a negative review of her book, said in an interview. “It’s insulting. Brain surgeons would be offended if a medical technician criticized their work. That’s what’s happened here. The problem, of course, is that she is politically driven (as is the Washington Post Report).

For more information see Barnard Tenure Battle: The NY Times Blows Another One
To sign the petition asking Barnard not to grant El-Haj tenure CLICK HERE

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Controversy Over New York Prof’s Tenure By DEEPTI HAJELA Wednesday, September 12, 2007; 5:36 AM NEW YORK — A debate over an anthropologist’s book on ancient Hebrew history isn’t just academic _ it’s spilled over into an online dispute between critics trying to keep her from getting tenure and supporters who say the effort stifles scholarly freedom. Nadia Abu El-Haj has been teaching at Columbia Univerity’s Barnard College since 2002. Her book, “Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society,” looks at the importance of archaeology in forming Israel’s national identity. The 2001 book discusses how archaeological discoveries have been used to defend the country’s territorial claims and contributed to the idea of Israel as the ancient home of the Jewish people. The professor, who is of Palestinian descent, argues that Israel has used archaeology to justify its existence in the region, sometimes at the expense of other nationalities like the Palestinians. The book has garnered both praise and criticism, with opponents challenging her conclusions and her research. It was a co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Annual Book Award. Criticism has spilled out of academia and onto the Internet, with a Barnard alumnus starting an online petition against the professor’s tenure. Her supporters have an online petition, too. The outside protest is “just preposterous,” said Laurie Brand, director of the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California and the chairwoman of the committee on academic freedom for the Middle Eastern Studies Association. She said tenure decisions should be based on the opinions of other experts in the field, and that opposition to Abu El-Haj was coming from critics trying to silence her. “You don’t shut somebody down because of, as a result of honest inquiry, they’ve come up with conclusions you don’t like,” she said. Barnard religion professor Alan Segal said he is against granting tenure to Abu El-Haj based on her work, which he said he has read. He called the public petitions for and against her tenure “silly” but added that they were unlikely to have any effect on the tenure decision. “I don’t believe it’s affected the process in any way,” he said, adding that the Barnard faculty, by and large, supports Abu El-Haj. Barnard officials declined to comment, and Columbia officials were not available. For more about El-Haj..a Fiction writer posing as an academic click here.