A Columbia professor called Hamas terror attacks 'awesome' and 'astounding' in an article. A petition for his removal has passed 34,000 signatures.

A Columbia professor called Hamas terror attacks 'awesome' and 'astounding' in an article. A petition for his removal has passed 34,000 signatures.
Supporters of both Israel and Palestine engage with each other at Columbia University on October 12, 2023 in New York City.Spencer Platt
  • A Columbia professor lauded Hamas "awesome" attacks on Israel and called them a "stunning victory."
  • An online petition, signed by over 34,000 people, is calling for his "immediate removal."

A Columbia professor who praised Hamas' "awesome" terror attacks on Israel in an online article is facing calls for his removal in an online petition that has now surpassed 30,000 signatures.

Joseph Massad, a professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University, wrote in an article on October 8 that Hamas' "astounding" and "incredible" offensives against Israel on October 7 were a "stunning victory."

Maya Platek, a second-year student and former student-body president at Columbia, who mounted the Change.org petition, said that Massad's decision to "praise the abhorrent attack" fosters violence and disinformation, putting many Jewish and Israeli students on campus at risk.

"Regardless of one's stance on the conflict, supporting and praising one of the worst acts of terrorism in history is never acceptable," she said.

Platek added: "We call on Columbia University to hold Massad responsible for his comments and immediately remove him from the Columbia faculty."


Massad's article was published on The Electronic Intifada, an online publication whose articles spread anti-Israel propaganda, according to Canary Mission, an organization that tracks individuals and organizations that "promote hatred of the USA, Israel, and Jews on North American college campuses."

The petition against Massad has garnered more than 34,000 signatures at the time of writing, with the stated goal of hitting 35,000 signatures.

Columbia University did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside office hours.

The university faced calls to fire Massad back in 2004.

The David Project, an organization dedicated to "educating and inspiring voices for Israel," created "Columbia Unbecoming," a 2004 film in which professors from Columbia's Middle East and Asian languages and cultures department, including Massad, were accused of antagonizing Jewish and Israeli students in class, per Campus Watch, an independent think tank.


After the movie's screenings, Anthony Weiner, a former congressman, launched an investigation and demanded that Columbia University terminate Massad to safeguard intellectual freedom in classrooms, according to Campus Watch.

Two decades later, the Israel-Hamas war has reignited the conversation about free speech, causing protests and counter-protests on college campuses, Insider previously reported.

More than 1,300 Israelis were killed in Hamas' surprise attacks, per the Israel Defense Forces, with 199 people taken hostage.

At least 2,670 Palestinians have been killed and 9,600 others injured from Israel's retaliatory strikes on Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.