13 thoughts on “Barnard Alumni Against Abu El-Haj Create Anonymous Smear Site – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Dear Mr. Silverstein,

    It seems that you are quick to assume, and slow to check out, the details. In fact, I was contacted by the webmaster of the http://www.nadiaabuelhaj.com website and gave my approval for them to reprint my article there.

    I am horrified that Columbia, my alma mater, would even consider giving tenure to someone guilty of such sloppy work. As I wrote in my article, “The politicization of archaeology is nothing new. What is new in Facts on the Ground, is the length to which author Nadia Abu El-Haj of the Columbia University Anthology faculty has gone to ignore, distort, revise, imply and assert the inaccuracy of historical fact. Her political motive is to deconstruct the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

    You are quick to assume, quick to judge, quick to ridicule…but incredibly slow, apparently, in doing your research. I believe that Abu El-Haj attempted to “steal” the history of Israel by denial…and you are attempting to deny her incompetence by accusing others of “stealing” articles. Judging by how I was treated, I can only assume the website owners were as careful with others as they were with my article. How sad that Abu El-Haj can’t claim the same.

  2. I can only assume the website owners were as careful with others as they were with my article.

    You’d be wrong, Professor. Dead wrong. I only wrote to two individuals whose material is at the site & one of them is pissed as hell that his material was appropriated w/o his permission. You might want to retract this portion of yr comment. And even after Dr. Harrington’s announcement that he disapproved of his material being featured there it’s still at the site. Are you in favor of copyright violation? If not, you might want to contact yr colleagues at the site & ask them to clean up their act.

    Her political motive is to deconstruct the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

    Comments like this say far more about yr knee jerk defensiveness about any criticism of Israel whatsoever. And they say hardly anything at all about Abu El Haj’s work–& certainly nothing useful or accurate.

  3. Gee whiz. You reproduced an ENTIRE article from Haaretz in the previous post. Have you no sense of irony? Did you get their permisiion? You may want to review the rules at Haaretz. Go to their home page and at the bottom there is a link called “site rules.” If you haven’t gotten their permission you can do so at dori@haaretz.co.il. Notice, you need permission from Haaretz not Gideon Levi IMO. If you got their permission but just forgot to mention it, my apologies.

  4. First, I did not reproduce the entire article as you claim, though I did feature much of it. Second, I am not attempting to exploit either Gideon Levy or Haaretz in a campaign to deny someone tenure. If I were the Barnard alumni knowing there are those who strongly disagree with their views on this issue, I’d take every precaution to ensure everything I included in that site was done aboveboard. Third, I quote material from many different newspapers in this blog and do so under the fair use provisions of copyright law which you will find, if I recall correctly, in my Terms of Use section. Fourth, under terms of fair use you should appropriate the least amount of copyrighted material to make your point. I almost always do this. But I found Levy’s article to be so powerful that I felt it important to quote it largely as is (I did excise a small portion of it). Fourth, I state in my blog that if a copyright holder objects to material of theirs appearing here I will immediately remove it. The anti Abu El Haj, as I note, continues to feature Harrington’s review even after they have been told by him that he objects to its use there. Fifth, what I have done in the Levy article is something that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of other bloggers do daily. While undoubtedly some copyright holders do object to such practice, it is a very rare occurrence.

    I would think you would understand the difference between my quotation of the Levy article and the anti-Abu El Haj’s exploitation of Harrington’s review on behalf of their campaign against her.

    Furthermore, no newspaper or magazine from which I’ve quoted here has ever complained about breach of copyright. You are welcome to contact Haaretz to ask them whether they object to my use of their material here. I will remove any material they object to. Though I point out to you and any media copyright holder that might object that my links drive traffic to their site which in turn helps their website’s economic model. Should they wish to deny bloggers the right to quote their material, it might be counterproductive to their media enterprise and the free exchange of information on the internet.

  5. If you want to use material from Haaretz then you should read THEIR site rules. YOUR site rules are irrelevant. The anti Abu el Haj site (with which i have no connection) replaced the reproduction of Dr. Harrington’s work on their site with a link to his site a long time ago. Providing a link to someone elses site is certainly legitimate.

  6. The anti Abu el Haj site (with which i have no connection) replaced the reproduction of Dr. Harrington’s work on their site with a link to his site a long time ago.

    That’s simply not true. It was only removed (UPDATE: Dr. Harrington notifies me that his article continues to be posted at the site) after I wrote my post noting his objection & my post was not written “a long time ago,” davke l’hefech. And he objects to them linking to it as well, though their doing so isn’t a copyright violation.

    You’re being entirely disingenuous in yr criticism of my treatment of Haaretz material. If it were any other site but my own & you were not having a dispute w. me you wouldn’t give it half a thought. And if you really care about the issue I again invite you to ask the editors to review my site to determine whether they object to my use of their site. In fact, I think I’ll write to the editor & ask what their policy about blogging is. I do wish you’d stop yr huffing & puffing about copyright…it’s so transparent. You’ve been commenting here for ages. Did it start bothering you all of a sudden?

  7. Amir: No less than Ralph Harrington himself just wrote to me to tell me that his article is still posted at the anti-Abu El Haj website. And I’ve confirmed this. You shouldn’t be so quick to assume you are right and I am wrong in such matters. The owner of the site merely changed a single link at the site to Harrington’s article so that it now links to Harrington’s site. But the owner neglected to remove the Harrington article itself fr. their site so the copyright violation continues unabated.

  8. Yes you are correct. They switched it from one link, but left it at the other. I’m going to stop “huffing and puffing now.” Apparently I didn’t make my point clear. It was not my intention to defend the anti Abu el-Haj site or to condemn you for using material from Haaretz but merely to point out the irony that you hold others to a standard that you yourself don’t adhere to. I won’t be making any more comments on this subject.

  9. Dear Mr. Silverstein, thank your for putting your attention to this situation. Wars between peoples always involve disagreements over history, over ‘heritage,’ real, claimed, and invented. This whole case just goes to show us that ideas matter. As one not personally implicated in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the problem I have with Sondra Rubenstein’s position (which I take to be articulated in her book review Denial of Heritage) is this. Dr. Rubenstein criticizes Dr. Abu el-Haj for shoddy scholarship but mostly for sins of omission. According to Dr. Rubenstein, Abu el-Haj purposefully neglects the overall history, in which there have been episodes of Hebrew place names being overwritten by Arab ones, many of which survive into the present day. And that there have been episodes of irresponsible clearance of artifact-rich sites on the part of Arabs, also. Basically, she spends much of the article saying, Well, the Arabs did all that same stuff, too, rather than actually rebut the scholarly findings of Dr. Abu el-Haj. And in Dr. Rubenstein’s playbook, that makes Dr. Abu el-Haj a clear partisan whose scholarship is not to be trusted, much less anointed with the prestigious and generous support of tenured professorship. Okay, fine. But if those sins of omission are the indicator of politicization on the part of Dr. Abu el-Haj, then what does Dr. Rubenstein’s reported residence in an Israeli settlement suggest about her political motives? If both sides have been guilty of displacing each other over the centuries, if both sides bear the same wounds, the same traumatic memories, and the same shame, would not the wise and peace-loving thing to do be to cease the displacements going on right now? I can only guess that Dr. Rubenstein does not think so.

  10. I don’t know enough about El-Haj’s book to defend or attack it. Nor do I know enough about her tenure qualifications to argue she should or should not be denied tenure.

    But the fact that her attackers would be so sleazy as to hide their names and attack her anonymously makes me sympathetic to El-Haj just on fairness grounds alone. The cowardly people who created that site even hide their registration of the domain name from WHOIS records. It’s an ugly, ugly thing to see, and reminds me of the anonymous notes left on my grandmother’s door by “neighbors and concerned citizens” in the 1930’s in Germany who wanted my bubbe to move to another neighborhood.

  11. Actually, knowing that President Shapiro counted Nadia Abu el Haj among her students at Bryn Mawr and has shepherded her appointment at Barnard and now her tenure consideration is very relevant to understanding why this case did not just die years ago.

  12. President Shapiro counted Nadia Abu el Haj among her students at Bryn Mawr and has shepherded her appointment at Barnard and now her tenure consideration…

    I’ve never heard of any university president “shepherding” any tenure appointment and it would be HIGHLY inappropriate to do so. If you have any real evidence that she has done anything out of the ordinary involving this case including showing undue favoritism toward Abu El Haj you should make it known instead of making unsubstantiated charges.

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