Columbia Law Review website shut down over ‘censored’ article critical of Israel

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Nakba censorship at Columbia University
Nakba censorship at Columbia University . . . the Hamilton Building , "renamed" Hind's Hall after a six-year-old Palestinian girl, Hind Razab, who was killed by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) after she had survived shelling by an Israel tank on 29 January 2024 at the height of the US pro-Palestinian protests. Image: Anadolu/AJ

Pacific Media Watch

The editorial board of the Columbia Law Review journal — made up of faculty and alumni from the university’s law school — shut down the review’s website on Monday after editors refused to halt publication of an academic article by a Palestinian human rights lawyer that was critical of Israel.

Al Jazeera reports that the student editors of the journal said they were pressured by the board to not publish the article which accused Israel of carrying out genocide in Gaza and implementing an apartheid regime against Palestinians.

The review’s website was taken down after the article was published on Monday morning and remained offline last night, reports AP news agency.

Columbia Law Review
Columbia Law Review . . . “under maintenance”. Image: APR screenshot

A static homepage informed visitors the domain was “under maintenance”.

Several editors at the Columbia Law Review described the board’s intervention as an unprecedented breach of editorial independence at the periodical.

In a letter sent to student editors yesterday, the board of directors said it was concerned that the article, titled “Nakba as a Legal Concept,” had not gone through the “usual processes of review or selection for articles”.

However, the editor involved in soliciting and editing the aricle said they had followed a “rigorous review process”.

‘A microcosm of repression’
The author of the article, human rights lawyer Rabea Eghbariah, a Harvard doctoral candidate, said the suspension of the journal’s website should be seen as “a microcosm of a broader authoritarian repression taking place across US campuses”.

The Intercept reports that this was the second time in barely eight months that Eghbariah had been censored by US academic publications.

Columbia Law Review
Columbia Law Review . . . second journal to censor Palestinian law scholar over Nakba truth. Image: APR screenshot

Last November, the Harvard Law Review made the unprecedented decision to “kill” (not publish) the author’s edited essay prior to publication. The author was due to be the first Palestinian legal scholar published in the quality journal.

As The Intercept reported at the time, “Eghbariah’s essay — an argument for establishing ‘Nakba’, the expulsion, dispossession, and oppression of Palestinians, as a formal legal concept that widens its scope — faced extraordinary editorial scrutiny and eventual censorship.”

“When the Harvard publication spiked his article, editors from another Ivy League law school reached out to Eghbariah.

“Students from the Columbia Law Review solicited a new article from the scholar and, upon receiving it, decided to edit it and prepare it for publication.

“Now, eight months into Israel’s onslaught against Gaza, Eghbariah’s work has once again been stifled.”

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