Nadia Abu El Haj is a candidate for tenure not because she is an accomplished scholar – she is demonstrably not . El Haj work is of the kind that would be regarded as crank scholarship if not for the fashionably post-modern verbiage in which it is dressed.
The premise of her sole book is that the ancient Israelite kingdoms are a “pure political fabrication,” invented, not discovered, by dishonest archaeologists. Because such an assertion cannot be proven using evidence, she ignores almost all actual archaeological evidence, turning instead to repeated and unsubstantiated assertions of fact based on conversations she claims to have had with “student volunteers” at archaeological digs and with “archaeologists” she does not name.
Even without the security of tenure El Haj has signed the petition urging Columbia to divest form Israel, and a petition alleging that Israel planned to carry out a brutal and massive ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians at the start of the Iraq war. There was no evidence of such a plan, just as there is no evidence for the absured allegations found in her book. (Such as her allegation that in the year 70, Jerusalem was destroyed not by the Roman Army, but by a Marxist-style rebellion of lower-class Jews targeting upper-class Jews. The book is filled with risible pseudo-history of this type.)
Some of the shortcomings with Abu El Haj’s work are outlined in the petition. To sign the petition, please go to: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/barnard/
Further information is available on: www.PaulaSays.com.
I urge you to sign this petition and forward it as widely as possible. While the goal is Barnard and Columbia graduates in particular, please feel free to send it to anyone that you believe will sign it.