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Howler of the Month (archive)

Juan Cole

"[I]f the occupied Palestinians end up living in the hell of a decades-long Apartheid under the Israeli jackboot, then Camp David looks more and more like just a separate peace in which Egypt extricated itself from further confrontations with expansionist Israel, receiving back the Sinai, and leaving the poor weak Palestinians and Lebanese to their oppressive fate."

Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, on the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords between Israel and Egypt; Informed Comment, November 29, 2016. (link to source)

We Couldn't Have Said it Better (archive)

Jonathan Marks

"[Martin] Kramer's warnings about the politicization of the field have been more than amply validated by the steady movement of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) toward casting off its frayed commitment to being a 'nonpolitical' organization, and endorsing—it has not done so yet—the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel."

Jonathan Marks, professor of politics at Ursinus College, reviewing Middle East scholar and Shalem College professor Martin Kramer's new book, "The War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East"; Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), October 18, 2016. (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

Prominent Mideast Studies Profs Sexually Harassed Students
December 3, 2016 - American Thinker

Crown Gift Boosts Middle East Studies
December 2, 2016 - News of Northwestern University

SPME BDS Monitor: Far-Left Groups Support BDS; US Congress Pushes Back [incl. MESA]
December 2, 2016 - The Algemeiner

Center for Global Islamic Studies in Need of Funding
December 1, 2016 - The Brown and White (student newspaper of Lehigh University)

Experts Raise Concern on U.S., Middle East Relations Under New Administration [incl. Shai Feldman and Khalil Shikaki]
November 30, 2016 - The Michigan Daily (student newspaper of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor)

What About the Cultural Imbalance?
November 29, 2016 - Gatestone Institute

U.S. Department of Education Awards Middle East Study-Abroad Grant to MSU
November 29, 2016 - News of Mississippi State University

FSU Middle East Center Draws Dozens to Open House
November 27, 2016 - The Florida Flambeau (news of Florida State University)

Expert: Blatant Anti-Israel Slant 'Suicidal' for Reputation, Continuity of Mideast Scholars Association
November 22, 2016 - The Algemeiner

Ten Questions About Anthropology, Feminism, Middle East Politics, and Publics [Interview with Lila Abu-Lughod]
November 22, 2016 - The American Ethnologist


The Anti-Israel Brigade Rallies Around San Francisco State U.

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Thu, 17 Nov 2016, 7:44 PM | Permalink

Opponents of the the Middle East Forum/Campus Watch campaign to end San Francisco State University's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hamas-dominated An-Najah University in the West Bank have reacted with a level of hysteria reserved for critics of academe. CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell takes on the baseless accusations of "McCarthyism," "slander," "harassment," and "hatemongering" at the Independent Journal Review:

Predictably, SFSU's General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) rushed to defend MOU architect and faculty adviser Rabab Abdulhadi (who is also director of SFSU's Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative) with a cliché-ridden statement accusing Campus Watch and other "Zionist organizations" of "racism," "Islamophobia," and, most absurdly, "anti-Semitism."

. . . The U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), of which Abdulhadi is a founding member, accused MOU opponents of engaging in "McCarthy-like tactics."

Abdulhadi herself resorted to the same tiresome banalities, describing Campus Watch's effort to end the MOU as a "McCarthyist attack" and "a witch hunt campaign." She maintained that the campaign "seeks to whip up hysteria, Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia to divert attention from Israeli criminality."

To read the entire article, please click here.


Arab Democracy's Failures Elude So-called Experts

By Winfield Myers | Thu, 17 Nov 2016, 2:39 PM | Permalink

Francis Fukuyama

As evidenced by a new Campus Watch report by Andrew Harrod, experts who comment on democracy in the Arab world could benefit from a more reality-based worldview. Some boast grand visions that miss key details, while others are shills for terrorist-loving organizations, including Hamas. Harrod's report appears today at American Thinker:

Given American policymakers' ignorance of Islam, "I am just worried about people like me running around with big theories trying to set foreign policy," stated famed intellectual historian Francis Fukuyama in Washington, D.C. His confession occurred at "Democracy in the Arab World: The Obama Legacy and Beyond," a recent conference that did little to alleviate the knowledge deficit among hackneyed Islamism apologists.

Fukuyama's luncheon address at the downtown JW Marriot luxury hotel focused on the cultural factors that aided the development of modern societies. While China benefited from the appearance 2,300 years ago of the "first modern, relatively impersonal state," Fukuyama said, the "Arab world [is] where I think the fundamental problem is" for human progress today. Although he worried that the U.S. had not made an effort to understand Muslim societies comparable to its Cold War study of Russia, Fukuyama's own knowledge of Islam was spotty. He described an often repressive and all-encompassing sharia law as a mere "balance to political power."

To read the rest of this essay, please click here.


Israel Bashing Profs Abdulhadi and Bazian Play the Victim at Berkeley

By Winfield Myers | Wed, 16 Nov 2016, 3:31 PM | Permalink

Rabab Abdulhadi

Year after year, Middle East studies professors call for the elimination of Israel. When their critics expose the vicious, false nature of their demands, these politicized profs cry "censorship!" and "McCarthyism." One might think their ability to say whatever they please without university, much less government, retaliation would embarrass them into dropping these shop-worn clichés. But, lacking imagination and determined to milk the cult of victimology for all it's worth, they repeat themselves. Year after year.

They did it again recently at UC Berkeley, as Michael Lumish, writing for Campus Watch at the Daily Caller, reports:

Are University of California academics who engage in anti-Israel activism subject to "silencing"? Such were the strident cries on October 27, when about one hundred students gathered on a cloudy morning outside of Sproul Hall at the University of California, Berkeley for the 3rd Annual International Day of Action for Palestine.

Organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Bears for Palestine, the rally featured Israel-bashing, BDS-promoting professors Hatem Bazian and Rabab Abdulhadi, who insisted over loudspeakers that they were being repressed by the UC system.

To read the rest of this essay, please click here.


Erdogan's Academics: Middle East Studies Scholars Shill for a Tyrant

By Winfield Myers | Fri, 28 Oct 2016, 3:17 PM | Permalink

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Middle East studies scholars have for years turned a blind eye to subjects disruptive to their politicized narratives, such as the abuse of women in Arab lands, attacks by radical Muslims on Christians and Jews, and the utter failure of Islamism as a path to democracy. As A.J. Cashetta, a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Shillman Ginsburg Fellow at MEF, shows in his latest article for Campus Watch, all it takes for an Islamist politician like Turkey's Erdogan to gain the tacit support of Western scholars is a free trip to Istanbul. Writing today at the Daily Caller, Caschetta exposes these shameless hacks, which include Michigan's Juan Cole:

In the days after the July coup attempt against his regime, Turkey's tyrant Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused a group of scholars attending a conference in Istanbul of conspiring against him and directing the plot. After his widespread paranoid purge of Turkish academia, it seems Erdogan has now found a group of scholars he can live with.

Erdogan's lackeys in the Turkish press helped him whip up a frenzy against Turkish professoriate, and now his lackeys in the Turkish professoriate who survived the purge are propping up his regime. A conference held in Istanbul on October 8-9, titled "Envisioning a Post-crisis Regional Order in the Sharq Region," suggests an Islamist takeover of Turkey's secondary education.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.


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