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Howler of the Month (archive)

Mark LeVine

"[The Islamic State] is as real a form of expression of Islam as the violent and chauvinist Israeli settler movement is to Judaism or as extreme Hindu nationalism, Rahkine Buddhism and militant Christianity are to their religions in India, Myanmar and the United States."

Mark LeVine, professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of California, Irvine, in "The Falsehoods in President Obama's Speech on the Islamic State"; Aljazeera , September 13, 2014. (link to source)

We Couldn't Have Said it Better (archive)

David Cook

"To say that ISIS doesn't have anything to do with Islam is just the statement of an ignoramus or an apologist. There is support for the things that ISIS does inside the Koran. There's support for things like beheading and different exemplary punishments that you can easily find."

David Cook, associate professor of religion at Rice University, as quoted in "Is ISIS a Faith-based Terrorist Group?" by Christopher Massie; Columbia Journalism Review, September 17, 2014. (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

Steven Salaita's Self-Defense Makes No Sense
September 30, 2014 - ChicagoNow (a blog of Chicago Tribune)

"A Middle East With No Minorities?" [incl. Laurie Brand]
September 30, 2014 -

Georgetown Muslim Studies Director, Professors Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions
September 29, 2014 - Catholic Education Daily (a project of the Cardinal Newman Society)

Steven Salaita: University of Illinois Destroyed My Career
September 29, 2014 - The Chicago Tribune

Moroccan Professor Teaches Arabic at Drury [on Jalal Ismaili]
September 28, 2014 - The Springfield News-Leader

Professor Cross Promoted at Charleston Southern University
September 26, 2014 - Berkeley Independent

Salaita Will Give Lecture at Centenary College of Louisiana
September 26, 2014 - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Campus Faculty Association Pushes for Union to Protect Academic Freedom [on Steven Salaita]
September 25, 2014 - The Daily Illini (student newspaper of the University of Illinois)

Study Finds Increasing Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israel Bias at UCLA
September 24, 2014 - The Jewish Voice

Anti-Semitism Controversy Embroils Illinois Governor Quinn [on Steven Salaita]
September 24, 2014 - Washington Free Beacon


Do Directors of Title VI Middle East Studies Centers Intend to Boycott Israeli Universities?

By Winfield Myers | Wed, 24 Sep 2014, 5:06 PM | Permalink

Four of six directors of federally-funded university Middle East studies centers who signed a letter pledging "not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions" have yet to clarify whether they spoke for their centers or merely for themselves. They are:

  • miriam cooke, Middle East Studies Center, Duke.
  • John Esposito, Prince Alwaleed bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown.
  • Helga Tawil-Souri, Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University.
  • Osama Abi-Mershed, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University.

As CW revealed earlier this week, Abi-Mershed's claim that "we are not tax supported" was refuted by his dean, who confirmed that, "the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies has been, and we hope will remain, a recipient of Title VI designation and support."

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Contrary to Georgetown Prof's Claims, Dean Says Center Receives Taxpayer Support

By Winfield Myers | Mon, 22 Sep 2014, 2:40 PM | Permalink

Asked recently if Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) receives federal Title VI funds, director Osama Abi-Mershed answered, "we are not tax supported."

His dean, James Reardon-Anderson, begs to differ.

Following the revelation that the directors of six federally-funded Middle East studies centers signed a letter pledging "not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions" in spite of "assurances" each gave to "maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education," Foreign Policy Research Institute president Alan Luxenberg emailed each director and asked if their pledges were personal or apply to the centers they lead.

In response to an inquiry, Reardon-Anderson, acting dean of the Walsh School of Foreign Service, of which CCAS is a part, replied without commenting on Abi-Mershed's claim that:

Yes, we are very proud that the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies has been, and we hope will remain, a recipient of Title VI designation and support.

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Defending Salaita: Anti-Israel Profs Unite!

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Sun, 21 Sep 2014, 12:15 PM | Permalink

In the latest Campus Watch research, posted today at American Thinker, I examine the reaction of the field of Middle East studies to the case of Steven Salaita, who was offered a position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that was rescinded following publicity surrounding his offensive and hateful Twitter posts:

While Steven G. Salaita's inflammatory, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic Twitter posts and atrocious academic record may have cost him a tenured professorship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), theydid nothing to lessen his support from the field of Middle East studies. The former Virginia Tech University English professor – whose published work focuses on the Arab-Israeli conflict – was offered a position in UIUC's American Indian Studies Program that was later rescinded by Chancellor Phyllis Wise. Salaita's academic apologists immediately sprang into action, with antagonism to Israel's recent military action against Hamas only adding to the frenzy.

A number of petitions, open letters, and statements calling to reinstate or show solidarity with Salaita made the rounds, all displaying similar characteristics.

To read the entire article, please click here.


MESA Attacks Efforts to Reform Title VI of the Higher Education Act

By Winfield Myers | Thu, 18 Sep 2014, 4:28 PM | Permalink

Yesterday ten organizations, including the Middle East Forum, announced an effort to educate Congressional leaders and policy makers on the need to reform federally-funded Title VI Middle East studies centers, which have for years produced biased, anti-American and anti-Israel material.

Predictably, Amy W. Newhall, executive director of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), responded not by countering the signatories' charges, but by attacking their character and motives.

Newhall claimed "MESA resolutely opposes all forms of hate speech and discrimination, including anti-Semitism." In fact, "It supports prompt and forceful action in response to anti-Semitic incidents on college and university campuses."

Were this true, MESA would have condemned flagrantly anti-Semitic statements by Joseph Massad and Hamid Dabashi of Columbia, Ali Mazrui of SUNY Binghamton, As'ad AbuKhalil of Cal State Stanislaus, and countless others. Yet it consistently defends such speech rather than condemning it.

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