Bumped to the top
Its tenure time at
Unfortunately, tenure for Nadia Abu El Haj does about as much to further Columbia and Barnard’s academic standing, as Hamas has done to promote peace in the
One only has too examine her doctoral thesis (and now a book), “Facts on the Ground: Archeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society.” to see that her analysis of “archaeological practice” has nothing to do with anthropological or archaeological analysis, and is just your run-of-the-mill anti-Israel rhetoric, masquerading as junk research.
Her analysis of Israeli society determines that it is a "settler-colonial community", and
She attempts to demonstrate how "(social) science generates facts or phenomena, which refigure what counts as true or real,” and concludes that the "existence of the ancient Israelite and Hebrew kingdoms should be considered “a pure political fabrication.”
Historians are appalled by her junk research.
“El-Haj is not a practicing archaeologist. She hardly knows the Hebrew in which many Israeli archaeological debates are conducted. She has taken part in very few actual digs. Yet she confidently condemns Israeli archaeology as a tool of the Zionists. With only gossip to go on, she accuses one archaeologist of bulldozing non-Jewish strata to get to the levels that might offer details about ancient
. Bizarrely, she then concludes her book by reversing herself on such desecration, asking us to "understand" sympathetically the Palestinian mob that destroyed Joseph’s Tomb on October 8, 2000. I guess it all depends on whose narrative is being bulldozed.” Israel
Jonathan Burack, The Family Security Foundation, December 28, 2006
Archaeologists have criticized her book harshly:
The dean of Middle Eastern archeology, William Dever of the University of Arizona, “who has authored more than 20 books on Middle East History, said Ms. Abu El-Haj seems intent on writing Jews out of ancient Middle East history, and demonizing a generation of apolitical Israeli archaeologists in the process. Barnard should deny Ms. Abu El-Haj tenure, he said, ‘not because she's Palestinian or pro-Palestinian or a leftist, but because her scholarship is faulty, misleading and dangerous.’ ” Campus Watch
"At the heart of her critique is an undisguised political agenda that regards modern and ancient
, and perhaps Jews as a whole, as fictions… "Abu El Haj's anthropology is undone by her... ill-informed narrative, intrusive counter-politics, and by her unwillingness to either enter or observe Israeli society... "The effect is a representation of Israeli archaeology that is simply bizarre... Filling in what is missing from her text becomes fatiguing. In the end there is no reason to take her picture of Israeli archaeology seriously, since her selection bias is so glaring… "Abu El Haj has written a flimsy and supercilious book, which does no justice to either her putative subject or the political agenda she wishes to advance. It should be avoided." Alexander H. Joffe, Lecturer in Archaeology, Israel , SUNY Journal of Near Eastern Studies. Purchase College : Oct 2005. Vol. 64, Iss. 4; p. 297 Chicago
"Perhaps the most astonishing part of the book is a discussion on the last page of the text (p. 281). Abu el-Haj describes and condones the attack, and subsequent ransacking, by a Palestinian mob on what is known as "Jacob's Tomb" in
in 2001. Several people were killed as a result of this attack; the gleeful tone in which she describes this act of vandalism exemplifies how her political agenda completely overcame her duties as a social scientist… "This book is the result of faulty and ideologically motivated research. One can but wonder how the 1995 dissertation on which it is based was authorized at Nablus Duke and how a respected publisher like the University could have published such unsubstantiated work.” Maeir, Aren, Professor of Archaeology, of University Chicago Press Bar Ilan , University , volume 95 (2004), pages 523–524, Solomonia Blog Isis
It’s ironic that while supposedly advocating archeology, Abu el-Haj indelibly aligns herself with the Palestinians, who have absolutely no regard or respect for Biblical archeology whatsoever. Doing everything in their power to destroy the archaeological remnants from the
As Arab mobs riot these days over Israel's attempts to rebuild a bridge to the Temple Mount and the to excavate outside the Mugrabi Gate (and therefore, outside the Temple Mount complex and Mosques), one has to wonder why Barnard College is demeaning itself by offering tenure to junk academics, bent on the denying the legitimacy of the Jewish State.
Are you an alum of Barnard or
Why not drop an email to Barnard College President, Judith Shapiro, (jshapiro@Barnard.Edu) or Columbia College President Lee Bollingermailto:Bollinger@columbia.edu) and let them know that tenure for Nadia Abu El Haj degrades your alma mater.
Know someone who studied at Barnard or
Universities are research institutions, and politics can and should play a role in formulating opinion. Yet when academic research is corrupted to that point that anti-Israel junk-academia peddlers are eligible for tenure at Ivy League schools, I think we need to take a step back and ensure that research at our universities remains free of the likes of Nadia Abu El Haj.
Pass it on.
PS...Marilyn Chin '74
Director of Barnard Alumnae Affairs
Derek Wittner '65
Dean of Alumni Affairs and Development
Tel: (212) 870-2741
Office of the President, Judith Shapiro
Tel: (212) 854-2021
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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael