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Howler of the Month (archive)

Jens Hanssen

"We have no choice. We are political by being nonpolitical. And we are political by being political. That is the quandary we are facing."

Jens Hanssen, associate professor of Arab civilization at the University of Toronto-Mississauga, on why he believes the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) should support boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel; Inside Higher Education, November 23, 2015. (link to source)

We Couldn't Have Said it Better (archive)

Benny Morris

"Political correctness in academia means that there are certain things which you can't say even if the evidence and the documents tell you that that's what happened. . . . The problem is the moment you start paring down the truth of what the documents are telling you, you end up with history that isn't true. You end up with a distorted view of what actually happened. I think this happens in some Western academics' approach to the Middle East."

Benny Morris, Ben-Gurion University history professor, from an interview with Northern Michigan University professor Gabriel Noah Brahm; Fathom Journal, Autumn, 2015. (link to source)

CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds.

The Latest on Campus

Middle East Studies Group Issues Statement on Discrimination [on MESA]
November 24, 2015 - Inside Higher Ed

Student Who Disrupted UT-Austin Israel Studies Event Starred in Palestinian Free Speech Video [incl. Ami Pedahzur, Steven Salaita]
November 24, 2015 - Legal Insurrection

How Would Orwell Feel About Today's College Campuses? [incl. Ami Pedahzur]
November 24, 2015 - Times of Israel

CSUN Hosts Book Talk on the Struggles of Islamic Activist Group's Fight for Gender Equality
November 23, 2015 - CSUN Today (News of California State University, Northridge)

A Political Stance [incl. Zachary Lockman, Sondra Hale, Jens Hanssen, Abdel Razzaq Takriti]
November 23, 2015 - Inside Higher Ed

UT-Austin Issues Strong Statement Supporting Professor Targeted By Anti-Israel Protesters [on Ami Pedahzur]
November 23, 2015 - Legal Insurrection

Eckerd College Introduces Middle East- North Africa Studies Minor
November 23, 2015 - The Current (student newspaper of Eckerd College)

Islam: Perception is Reality? Open Forum at Mount Wachusett Community College
November 23, 2015 - The Mount Observer (student newspaper of Mount Wachusett Community College0

Remembering Iran Scholar and First Reves Center Director James Bill
November 23, 2015 - William and Mary News

Disrupting the Study of Israel on Campus [on Ami Pedahzur]
November 22, 2015 - Times of Israel


Global Jihad? Never Heard of It. Berkeley's Bazian Still Hyping 'Islamophobia'

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Wed, 25 Nov 2015, 10:38 AM | Permalink

Hatem Bazian

With global jihad in its ascendancy, UC Berkeley's Hatem Bazian delivered a lecture at a private event in Dearborn, Michigan last Friday titled, "Islamaphobia: Muslim in the Public Square." Given the multiple ISIS attacks on Paris only a week earlier and the fact that French and Belgian authorities continue to hunt down the accomplices, the timing was tone-deaf, to say the least.

As director of UC Berkeley's Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project, Bazian displayed the usual fear-mongering, complete with divisive, politicized rhetoric. He blamed the alleged rise of "Islamophobia" in America--a claim that FBI hate crime statistics for 2014 continue to contradict--on "a massive demographic change . . . that has made individuals still living in the 1950s uncomfortable" and to "shrinking middle class" induced "resentment."

Perhaps what's fueling resentment, if indeed it exists, are Middle East studies academics like Bazian who insist on assigning victimhood to Muslim-Americans and villainy to the West, while accusing anyone who encourages introspection and reform within Islam of being a bigot.

Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at


UT-Austin Dean Defends Israel Studies Prof Ami Pedahzur and Free Speech

By Winfield Myers | Tue, 24 Nov 2015, 7:23 PM | Permalink

Kudos to Randy L. Diehl, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UT-Austin, who is defending Prof. Ami Pedahzur, of the Inst. for Israel Studies, and the principle of free speech. Members of the Palestine Solidarity Committee disrupted a Nov. 13 lecture by guest speaker Gil-li Vardi, who was to speak on the culture of the IDF. The students are shamelessly attempting to portray themselves as victims and have filed a "civil rights" complaint with the university.


U. Toronto's Jens Hanssen Uses Circular Reasoning to Support BDS

By Winfield Myers | Mon, 23 Nov 2015, 11:04 AM | Permalink

Recent comments by Jens Hanssen of the U. Toronto exemplify the type of circular reasoning employed by student protesters at Yale, Mizzou, et al. Arguing for a MESA resolution in favor of BDS, he said: "We are political by being non-political. And we are political by being political." Try this instead, Jens: We demonstrate our contempt for scholarly integrity by lying about Israel; we are an example of what's wrong with Middle East studies and, indeed, higher education in general.


Silence From Saudi-funded Profs Over Death Sentence for Poet

By Winfield Myers | Sat, 21 Nov 2015, 1:05 PM | Permalink

We won't hold our breath waiting for Saudi-funded professors like Georgetown's John Esposito, who never tires of calling Americans "Islamophobic," to call for the release of Ashraf Fayadh or condemn their barbaric criminal justice system (much less the religious beliefs behind it).


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