Stefanik accuses Columbia president of perjury after pro-Hamas prof denies reprimand

Nemat Shafik said that Professor Joseph Massad had been “spoken to” about an article praising Hamas’ attack on Israel; Massad denied he’d been reprimanded in any way

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) speaks at a press conference following a House Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) accused Columbia University President Nemat Shafik of felony perjury after Columbia professor Joseph Massad denied that he had been reprimanded or otherwise disciplined over comments praising the Hamas attack on Israel.

Shafik, at a Wednesday congressional hearing, said that Massad had been “spoken to” about an article praising the Hamas attack on Israel and that administrators had communicated that his remarks  — which come as part of a long history of anti-Israel commentary — were “unacceptable.” Shafik said Massad also remains under investigation, with his tenure potentially at risk.

Shafik also said that Massad had been removed as chairman of an academic review committee at Columbia, later stating that she was unsure of his status and that he would be removed after Stefanik noted that he remained listed as the committee chair on Columbia’s website.

But Massad on Thursday told CNN that he was not reprimanded in any way and that no supervisors had communicated displeasure with the peace — instead, they offered support.

“I was shown solidarity by my chair and deans based on the death threats that I received and the campaign targeting me,” he said in an email to CNN.

In further comments to Electronic Intifada, he said that supervisors had specifically praised his article praising the attack and said they did not find it objectionable. Massad also denied that the article praised Hamas.

Massad said he had not been informed he was under any kind of investigation, and that he was already set to depart as chair of the committee next month, but expects to remain a committee member in the next class year.

Stefanik, in a statement to Jewish Insider, accused Shafik of lying to Congress in her testimony.

“A reminder to President Shafik that knowingly misleading Congress is a felony,” Stefanik said. “Despite Columbia President Shafik’s testimony, there has been NO action to fire or discipline pro-terrorist and antisemitic faculty chair Professor Joseph Massad… Shafik’s false testimony and refusal to address the severity of the rampant antisemitism on her campus is an affront to the Jewish students and faculty at Columbia under her failed leadership.” 

Columbia University did not respond to a request for comment.

Stefanik further accused Columbia of attempting to “cover up for Shafik’s lies” by “updating their website to show Massad as ‘outgoing chair’ but refus[ing] to immediately remove him despite Shafik committing to at the hearing.”

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