Born in 1969, Andrew N. Rubin was a Professor of English Literature at Georgetown University until 2013. He is now a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and Society from Brown University in 1992, a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Sussex in 1993, and a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 2002. Rubin authored the 2012 book Archives of Authority: The State, the Text, and the Critic. He also co-edited The Edward Said Reader (2007) and Adorno: A Critical Reader (2002). His research interests include Postcolonial Theory, which claims that all literary and aesthetic values are arbitrary constructs designed to favor a white European power structure, and Critical Theory, a Marxian intellectual framework known for its relentless condemnation of Western culture and capitalism.
Harboring a strong animus against Israel, Rubin is an endorser of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. In his writings and lectures alike, he has energetically promoted the teachings of the late Edward Said, the Columbia Professor of English Literature renowned for his anti-Israel, anti-American writings. According to former University of Haifa associate professor Steven Plaut: “Like Said,… Rubin has no credentials at all that could qualify him as an expert on Middle East history and politics. Nevertheless he is most vocal in his condemnations of Israel. Professor Said could at least read Arabic, whereas Rubin cannot; he is best described as an anti-Israel Jewish Marxist.”
In the early 2000s as well, Rubin was actively involved with a number of organizations and journals devoted to demonizing Israel and the United States. For instance, he served as director of the International Coalition of Academics Against Occupation, which claimed, without evidence, that the U.S. and Israel were engaged in the targeted killing of Iraqi scholars. As Rubin wrote in a September 2004 article titled “The Slaughter of Iraq’s Intellectuals”:
“Control, intimidation, and even murder of Iraqi intellectuals, professors, lecturers and teachers has become more or less systematic since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began in March 2003. Under the subsequent occupation,… U.S. military officials dismissed many Iraqi intellectuals from university positions, often on spurious grounds; and a surprisingly large number fell victim to assassination….. Some allege it is [the work of] Mossad, the Israeli secret service, which obviously has an interest in a weak and possibly theocratic Iraq — the better to declare Arabs undemocratically minded terrorists…. According to Robert Dreyfuss, writing in the American Prospect, $3bn of the $87bn going to Iraq has been allotted to fund covert CIA paramilitary operations there, which, if the CIA’s historical record is to be consulted, are likely to include extrajudicial killings and assassinations.”
Rubin circulated a petition denouncing these alleged assassinations; among the more notable signatories were Noam Chomsky and Columbia University Profesor Joseph Massad. The “U.S. repression of academics,” Rubin wrote in the aforementioned article of September 2004, “was less about protecting academic freedom than a kind of American McCarthyism abroad.” Moreover, Rubin defended the curriculum of totalitarian Ba’athist propaganda that had been dominant at Iraqi universities when Saddam Hussein was in power: “[D]espite the tyranny exercised over Iraqi society by Saddam Hussein, the university classroom was (some professors often claim) a relatively autonomous space for learning and instruction, where professors, lecturers and students could be openly critical. They could even criticize the government….”
When Professor Massad in 2004 came under investigation for his alleged anti-Israel bias in the classroom, Rubin came to the defense of the former. In an open letter denouncing one of Massad’s more prominent critics, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Rubin wrote that the “charges of anti-Semitism” against Massad were “dishonest, defamatory, and even barbaric in [their] conflation of the criticism of various forms and practices of various Zionist ideologies with the hatred of and the discrimination against Jews.” By Rubin’s telling, Massad’s work could be best described as “a strong-minded and razor-sharp analysis and criticism” of “Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza,” and of the Jewish state’s “attempt to militarily, politically and physically destroy a population of human beings living since 1948 as refugees and exiles – and under military occupation for over 35 years.”
Rubin also wrote a number of articles praising the Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat. Some of these were published on the PLO’s web pages and in the Journal of Palestine Studies, the latter of which has been characterized by Middle East Quarterly as a “PLO propaganda organ disguised as an academic journal.” A few days after Arafat’s death in November 2004, Rubin said that although the late autocrat had been “corrupt and anti-democratic in his ways,” he nevertheless “stood as a symbol for liberation and the ongoing struggle for self-determination of Palestinians.”
In addition, Rubin wrote numerous anti-Israel and anti-American articles for the Egyptian weekly newspaper Al-Ahram. In a July 2005 piece titled “We Are No Longer Able To,” he impugned Israel for having constructed a security barrier in the West Bank. Endorsing the notion that the barrier was essentially a tool for “ethnic cleansing,” the professor presented an array of statistics designed to show how this “so-called security fence,” which was “three times as high and twice as wide as the Berlin Wall,” had “severely disrupted and profoundly encumbered daily life” for the Palestinian people. Added Rubin:
“[The barrier] has undermined and wretchedly destroyed the social and economic fabric of the Palestinian civil society.… Life in the Occupied Territories of Palestine has been reduced generally to an utterly debased form of collective imprisonment…. The aim of all this … is to prevent Gaza from having any external contact with the outside world by land, air, or sea.… [I]t is part of Israel’s wilful [sic] repudiation of Palestinian existence in general and Palestinian rights to meaningful sovereignty and self-determination in particular… It is an attempt to make Palestinians physically invisible from the experience of Israeli daily life …”
In the same article, Rubin exhorted nations worldwide to “impose a ‘Human Rights Tax’ on companies contracted to supply goods (bulldozers for example) and services to the Israeli government’s efforts to build and reinforce the wall.” He made no mention, however, of the reason why Israel had built the barrier in the first place — i.e., the long history of atrocities conducted against Israeli civilians by the PLO and its affiliates.
Further Reading: “Edward Said’s Georgetown Toady” (by Steven Plaut, FrontPageMag.com, 7-15-2005); “Andrew N. Rubin” (Georgetown.edu, Linkedin.com); “The Slaughter of Iraq’s Intellectuals” (by Andrew Rubin, New Statesman, 9-6-2004); “Columbia University Under Investigation [incl. Joseph Massad]” (by Arnold Ahlert, 10-12-2011, re: the investigation of Massad in 2004); “An Open Letter to Congressman Weiner” (by Andrew N. Rubin, 11-9-2004); “We Are No Longer Able To” (by Andrew N. Rubin, Al-Ahram, 7-7-2005).