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We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, stand with the students at Columbia University who have undertaken a Gaza Solidarity Encampment, confronting harsh repression from the university administration and New York Police Department, and pledging to remain in place until the university responds to their demands for divestment. The students launched the encampment on April 17, the day when Columbia president Minouche Shafik was summoned before Congress to answer a series of right-wing, Zionist attacks on students and faculty, particularly Professor Joseph Massad.  We strongly condemn these attacks, apart of a renewed campaign to fire Professor Massad, a tenured faculty member and author of numerous groundbreaking publications, from Columbia University.

Joseph Massad has faced reactionary reprisals for his scholarship on Palestine and US imperialism for decades.  In the early 2000s, he was targeted by propagandists, such as Daniel Pipes and Martin Kramer, and the disgraced former US Representative Anthony Weiner.  Zionist lobby groups also sought to block his tenure at Columbia in 2009.  The attacks against Professor Massad have continued ever since.  The latest such incident occurred on April 17, when Columbia University President Minouche Shafik testified in front of US Congress.  The McCarthyite-style inquiry probed President Shafik into the activities, writings, and statements made by Professor Massad. Rather than defending Professor Massad, Professor Mohammed Abdou, and her students, she instead joined the attack.  Her answers reinforced the intellectual McCarthyism permeating Columbia’s campus and across the United States.

The efforts to censor and blacklist intellectuals like Professor Massad are occurring in the context of a US-funded and -coordinated genocide against the Palestinian people.  The Zionist state’s genocidal war accelerated in October 2023 following a Palestinian resistance operation to liberate political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails.  Since October, the Biden administration has regularly sent officials to the military operating rooms of the Zionist state to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the genocide, which targets refugee shelters, schools, universities, and civilians sleeping in their homes.  It has also destroyed all operating hospitals in the Gaza strip.

Gaza has been under siege for seventeen years without free flow of supplies, food, fuel, or medicine.  The blockade, which was reinforced after October 7, and the genocide has killed or injured over a hundred thousand Palestinians in Gaza, with 42 percent of the casualties being children.  Yet, instead of complying with international law and listening to the demands of protesters around the world, including in US cities, the Biden administration redoubled its support for the Zionist regime’s extermination of Palestinians. The Irish First Minister, Michelle O’Neil, stated in February 2024 that Gaza has become the graveyard for children. That is a graveyard that was created with the arms and funding provided by the United States, through the deep alliance of U.S. imperialism with Zionist colonialism in occupied Palestine and throughout the Arab region.

As part of this systematic repression, U.S. federal, state, and local governments have worked with universities to crack down on academic freedoms, alongside similar attacks in Germany, France, Canada, Britain and other imperialist powers.  While the Biden government facilitates the genocidal war in Gaza, Congress has led the charge on US campuses, particularly those rocked by major anti-genocide protests.  Intellectuals across the country, including students and academic faculty and staff, have been attacked and threatened.  Students have been suspended and evicted from their housing.  Student organizations have faced abrupt event cancellations.  Students for Justice in Palestine groups have been banned on several campuses.  This repression aims to foster and propagate genocide denialism as the intellectual façade for the Zionist regime’s war of extermination.

Columbia University has become the center of intellectual McCarthyism since October, with its banning of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).  Meanwhile, the university has done nothing to protect students from the violence of racist and Zionist vigilantes.  This includes a chemical attack perpetrated by two former Israeli soldiers doubling as Columbia students. Despite these attacks, the student movement for Palestinian liberation has only grown, and is now sparking encampments and popular universities for Gaza across the country.

In addition to standing with faculty like Professor Massad, we demand that Columbia University refrain from targeting the thousands of students who have voiced their support for Palestinian liberation on that campus.  We find the NYPD attacks on and arrests of student protesters and legal observers to be reprehensible, and we hold Columbia’s administration responsible for this repression.

We conclude that intellectual McCarthyism constitutes one of the numerous coordinated efforts to suppress all resistance in support of Palestine.  History has taught us that declining empires often descend into naked fascism.  Recent events indicate that the US is following this trajectory.  While it prosecutes an all-out genocide against the Indigenous Palestinian people, it simultaneously suppresses any speech that opposes the genocide or calls for Palestinian liberation.  The same congressional forces targeting anti-imperialist intellectuals are calling for the condemnation of anyone who utters “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free.”

Joseph Massad is one of the world’s foremost scholars on Palestine.  His work was described by Edward Said as genuine brilliance.  It is in moments of confusion and state repression that we most need our intellectuals.  We demand that Columbia, Congress, and the Zionist lobbies get their hands off Professor Massad and all other Palestinian, Arab, anti-imperialist, and Muslim intellectuals and students.  We denounce and will resist all efforts to assault our community thought leaders.

The fight for a just world, free of slavery, colonialism and racism is the fight for a free Palestine.  Intellectual McCarthyism will not prevent the liberation of Palestine.

Hands off Joseph Massad.  Hands off the courageous students.  Down with McCarthyism.  End the blockade on Gaza.  Stop the genocide.

From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free.


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Initial Signatories:

Al Quds  Toronto
BDS Tokyo
Black Alliance for Peace (BAP)
Bruxelles Panthères
Canadian Lebanese Academic Forum
CODEPINK South Florida
Committee of Anti-Imperialists in Solidarity with Iran (CASI)
Detroit Jericho Movement
ISL (Internationalist Socialist League) a section of the RCIT
JVP Central Ohio
Masar Badil
Mouvement Citoyens Palestine
Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
UPTE Members for Palestine
Voices for Justice in Palestine

Aboudi Asali
Adam Miyashiro, Professor, Stockton University
Agustin Velloso
Ali Mallah, Al Quds  Toronto
Amani Ahmed, Columbia alum
Anisa Hosseinnezhad
Anna Lippman
Anne Combarnous, Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour
Annie Randuineau
Arwa Omar
Assia Matmed
Atticus El-Wadea, CODEPINK South Florida
Bama Brand
Bandar Alsaeed, Columbia University
Barbara Anders
Basma Radwan, Columbia
Bassam ABDULKARIM, McGill University
Ben Seghir Abdelhadi
Bikrum Gill
Blake Alcott, One Democratic State in Palestine
Carsten Danh
Challande Brigitte
Charlotte Kates, international coordinator, Samidoun Network
Chathan Vemuri
Christo El Morr, York University
Claude Marks, Freedom Archives
Connie Hammond, JVP
Courtney Childs, Corvallis Palestine Solidarity
Cynthia Sophiea
Derek Drew, Black Alliance for Peace (BAP)
Donna Barker, Voices for justice in Palestine
Dr Louis Brehony
Ed Lehman, Regina Peace Council
Egbert Harmsen
El Kassis Rani
Elaine Marie Kinch, Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice
Elias Salti
Elizabeth Milos, UPTE Members for Palestine
Ellen Barfield
Erin Breault, Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee
Fadil Aliriza
Faïza Hirach, IWW
Farrell Brody, JVP Central Ohio
Frances Hasso, Duke University
George Khoury
Ghassan Alami
Hala Al Shami, NYU
Hani Rabie
Harvey Bender
Hazem Malhas, AlHima
helen schiff, Jewish Voice for Peace
Helyeh Doutaghi, Associate Research Scholar Yale Law School
Huda Shashaa
Ihmayed Ali
Iyad Kouteich
Jafar Salem
Jalal Kawash, University of Calgary
Jamal Awad
Jeannette Graulau, Lehman College, CUNY
Jianyu Chen
JM Saad
Js Aurelius, Ascetic House
Judith Bello, United National Antiwar Coalition
Julie Webb-Pullman
June Forsyth Kenagy
Karim Itani
Kevin Walsh
Khaled Barakat, Masar Badil
Khaled Abdel Majeed
Kolin Kobayashi, journalist
Lamis al Nakkash, Cairo University
Leon Van Steen
Lung Chieh Lim
Mackenzie Gospodin
Madeline Aron, The Wild Flame Porject
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel peace laureate
Malek Abisaab, McGill University
Mangalika de Silva, New York University
Mary Nazzal, Barnard ‘01
Mary Neznek, Catholic Univ of Amer Ret
Matthew Taylor, AMA, APD Hub, BAP solidarity network
Megan Anderson, Black Alliance for Peace Solidarity Network
Melanie Jacobs
Michael Smith, Esq, Law And Disorder Radio
Michael MacCubbin
Michael Iltis
Michelle Hartman
Mizuko Yakuwa, BDS Tokyo
Nabil Sater, JVP-Detroit
Nathaniel Landry, CC ‘06
Navid Farnia, Wayne State University
Nicole Baker
Nina Farnia
Noora Kassem
Norman Koerner
Pat Deppen, Black Alliance for Peace Solidarity Network
Patrick Higgins
Peter Purich
Priya Bhayana
Qais Malhas, Columbia University Alumni
R Nanre Nafziger
Ramzi Muna, Alumni club of Jordan
Raouf Kalis
Renee Nunan-Rappard, Human Rights 4 All
Richard Creswell
Ron Jacobs
S Mehr
Salma Malhas
Sarah Jones
Sari Dajani
Sayeed Tasabbir Mahmud, Department of Law, University of Chittagong
Scott Ritchie
Shelley Green
Shirley Reynolds, Racine (WI) Coalition for Peace & Justice
sibyl james
Soraya Boyd
Stan Squires
Sundus Abudayyeh
Susan Krajnc
Tara Sutton, Columbia Journalism Alumni
Tatiana Lukman
William Letmon
yossi schwartz, ISL (Internationalist Socialist League) a section of the RCIT
Zein Al-Raheb, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences


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