It is the ninth week for me as a new professor at Columbia University. The move here from UCLA, where I taught for fifteen years, has been full of surprises, and not always of the kind one expects. But nothing prepared me for the sight I encountered recently as I crossed the main plaza of the college on the way to class to teach Edward Said’s Orientalism to a large group of MESAAS (Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies) majors. I was thinking about how best to make them see the political relevance of Orientalism to our present-day reality, and just then, as if by divine intervention, I noticed a flyer: “Hebrew Liberation Week: A Celebration of Semitism.” Curiously I approached the plaza. After all, I was about to teach Said’s discussion of Semitism as an invented 19th century Orientalist category and this seemed relevant. I soon faced three tall poles mounted with Israeli flags and was surrounded by about a dozen of young men and women wearing kaffiyehs (a checkered scarf, which has long been a symbol of Palestinian national liberation) that were blue and white (the colors of the Israeli flag). “Things don’t look right,” I noted to myself. But it was only when I noticed the bombastic billboards covering the borders of the plaza that the effect became truly chilling.