Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, has claimed that Zionists “infiltrated” the Women’s March in a Facebook post.
Dabashi has likened the “infiltration” to a purported Zionist infiltration of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Many American Jews were at the forefront of the movement, and Martin Luther King himself had many close friends in the Jewish community of his day. Whilst King himself could be described as a Zionist, describing Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement as some sort of sinister infiltration by “Zionists” makes it quite clear that hen Dabashi says “Zionists”, he is actually referring to the Jewish community more widely. Beyond this, talk of “infiltration” is almost invariably the language of classic antisemitic conspiracy theories that paint Jews as dissembling and manipulative. According to the Definition of Antisemitism, “using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis” is antisemitic.
The Zionist infiltration he was referring to was the appearance of Scarlet Johansson at Women’s March. He commented that Johansson is “deeply committed to the systemic theft of Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians”, a claim which in the current context is hyperbolic to the point of it resembling blood libel.
He goes on to call Zionists “master thieves”, even accusing Zionists of stealing Jewish culture.
He has previously described Zionists as “Gestapo appratchniks”. According to the Definition of Antisemitism, “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic. He has also repeatedly defended terrorist organisation Hamas.
Columbia University has not commented.