Nadia Abu El-Haj is getting tenure. For those who came in late: El-Haj is a Palestinian-American anthropologist who teaches at Barnard College. She is also the author of Facts on the Ground, a controversial book that argues, to quote the publisher's description, that "archaeology helped not only to legitimize [Israel's] cultural and political visions but, far more powerfully, to reshape them." Many pro-Israel activists opposed giving her tenure, and it looked for a while like the debate might burst into a full-fledged Norman Finkelstein-style war. My small contribution to the ferment came in August, when I pointed out that the petition against El-Haj included at least two distortions of her views.
As I said in my original post, I'm not qualified to judge the quality of El-Haj's book and I have no opinion on whether she deserves a post at Barnard. She has some serious scholarly detractors and she has some serious scholarly defenders, and until I take the time to learn more than the bare minimum about Israeli archeology I'm going to leave it at that. The good news is that future arguments about her work will now have to center on her work, and not on whether some activists can gin up some outrage by yanking some lines from her book out of context.