Arabic Studies

On April 15, 2005, then first-year Yale student Ciaramella dressed in all white to lead a contingent of 10 similarly dressed first-year Yale Arabic students to the offices of the provost and the president of the university to demand that the university provide an incentive to encourage Bassam Frangieh, a radical professor of Arabic studies, to stay at Yale. The students were unhappy because Frangieh had decided to accept a tenure-track position at the University of Delaware.

Ciaramella helped organize a letter-writing campaign. According to the Yale Daily News, Bassam Frangieh was looking for an opportunity to teach more of the classes that he would like to teach. One of the protesters said, “His specialty is Arabic language and literature, and he wanted to teach some classes on style and poetry.” A week after the protest, Yale’s administration announced that they had “upped the ante with an offer competitive enough to keep one of its star language instructors from leaving” Yale.

Apparantly Frangieh wanted to use literature to shape sdtudent views on the “heroic Arabic poet-martyrs” battling against the supposed occupation in Palestine. In 2000, Frangieh published a chapter romanticizing terrorism in a book entitled Tradition, Modernity, and Postmodernity in Arabic Literature. Frandieh praised Abd al Rahim Mahmud, the “first Arab poet-martyr.” Mahmud, who is often used to inspire terrorism and suicide bombings among Arab youth, was described by Frangieh as “carrying his soul in the palm of his hand” as he “threw himself into the cavern of death.” Romanticizing his terrorism, Frangieh recalls Mahmud’s “premature death at age 35, fighting a battle in an attempt to keep Palestine free from foreign occupation, [which] brought dignity to the hearts of his people. Through his death he eliminated the gap between words and action … he shall remain a symbol of heroism and pride for his people.”

In 2007, Bassam Frangieh signed an Arabic-language petition, “Not In Our Name,” which encouraged signatories to “stand together to thwart the ZionistCrusader conspiracy.” Denouncing U.S. Iraq policy as a “barbaric onslaught of cowboy masters, world Zionist leaders and their local agents, Frangieh claims that the only reason for the invasion of Iraq was the Zionist plan.” A long-time supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement against Israel — designed to “challenge international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism” — Frangieh was recruited to an even more prestigious post at Claremont McKenna College in 2007, where he is currently head of the Arabic Department for the five Claremont Colleges.

Eric Ciaramella was radicalized at Yale by professors like Bassam Frangieh.[34] He was quickly recognized as a fellow traveler and became an insider in the Obama administration. He continued that through the first two years of the Trump administration.

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