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Howler of the Month (archive)

John Esposito

"The vast majority of people in the Muslim world are like Americans."

John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, speaking on "Building Bridges: Protecting Pluralism, Ending Islamophobia" at Allegheny College; The Campus, October 1, 2015. (link to source)

We Couldn't Have Said it Better (archive)

David French

"There is great value in teaching children the history of the Islamic faith and its basic beliefs. If the public doesn't know who Mohammed is — much less the difference between Sunni and Shia Islam — it's much more difficult for them to understand the world and our jihadist challenge. There is no value, however, in skewing that instruction to be respectful of one faith and dismissive of others, including the Christian faith of the vast majority of the students."

David French, National Review staff writer, on the controversy surrounding the teaching of Islamic history in Tennessee public schools; "Can Tennessee Seventh Graders Be Required to Declare That There Is No God but Allah?" National Review Online, September 10, 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

Anti-Israel Speakers Promote BDS to Loud Applause at UC Berkeley Lecture
October 1, 2015 - The Algemeiner

Middle East Expert Brings Arabic to Idaho State University [incl. Zackery Heern]
October 1, 2015 - The Bengal (student newspaper of Idaho State University)

Esposito Gives Lecture on Islamophobia
October 1, 2015 - The Campus (student newspaper of Allegheny College)

University of Arizona Exhibit Looks Back at When Tucson Public Schools Banned Middle East Studies
October 1, 2015 - Tucson Weekly

Berkeley, Bazian, and Barghouti Promote BDS
September 30, 2015 - FrontPage Magazine

University of California Denies Allegations in Students' Sexual Assault Lawsuit [on Gabriel Piterberg]
September 30, 2015 - The Daily Bruin (student newspaper of University of California, Los Angeles)

University Ordered to Preserve All Documents Related to Salaita Case
September 30, 2015 - The Daily Illini (student newspaper of the University of Illinois)

The Politicization of Learning Arabic
September 30, 2015 - The Stanford Daily

Iranian Journalist Speaks About Tehran Bureau Reporting [incl. Amahl Bishara and Kamran Rastegar]
September 30, 2015 - The Tufts Daily

Atlanta Event Blames Zionism for Everything [incl. Nada Elia]
September 29, 2015 - Atlanta Jewish Times


Berkeley, Bazian, and Barghouti Promote BDS

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Wed, 30 Sep 2015, 12:26 PM | Permalink

Hatem Bazian

What do a UC Berkeley Near Eastern studies (NES) lecturer, the co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), and a member of a Berkeley city commission have in common? All three are promoting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. In the latest Campus Watch research, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell reports on a recent lecture by PACBI leader Omar Barghouti, with an introduction from UC Berkeley's Hatem Bazian in which he expressed his support for Cheryl Davila, a member of a Berkeley, California city commission who was dismissed after introducing a BDS resolution. Stillwell's article appears today at Frontpage Magazine:

Bazian provided the introduction to a September 18 lecture co-sponsored by NES and delivered by Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). An audience of approximately two hundred, comprised mostly of students and including local anti-Israel activists, twenty or so women in hijabs, and a tall man with a "Palestine" sash around his neck who, during the Q&A, claimed to work for the virulently anti-Israel online magazine Electronic Intifada, filled a large lecture hall in UC Berkeley's Dwinelle Hall.

Before introducing Barghouti, Bazian rallied the audience to the "cause" of Cheryl Davila, the former Human Welfare & Community Action Commission (HWCAC) member.

To read the entire article, please click here.


The Middle East Studies Blind Spot: Anti-Semitism

By Winfield Myers | Mon, 28 Sep 2015, 9:31 AM | Permalink

Sayyid Qutb

In an MEF-sponsored essay published at the History News Network, historian Jeffrey Herf asks why Middle East studies professors ignore or downplay the anti-Semitism found throughout Arab lands and Iran:

Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jews as Jews, has a history in the Arab states and in Iran. It is blatant and obvious in the declarations of the government of Iran and in the public statements of Islamist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The link between Islamism and anti-Semitism has been a continuing theme of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt since the canonical writings of Hassan al-Banna, Haj Amin al-Husseini, and Sayyid Qutb from the 1930s to 1950s. The evidence of its presence is extensive in the files of the American and British diplomatic archives. It was a theme in the liberal and left-leaning journalism of the World War II era and in the scholarship of the postwar decades.

Yet the discipline of Middle East Studies today, rather than building on this valuable scholarly legacy, shows too little interest in the topic. Or it finds anti-Semitism's origins in the existence and policies of Zionism and the state of Israel while neglecting the presence of such antagonism in the years before Israel's founding.

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


The Politicization of Middle East Studies

By Winfield Myers | Mon, 21 Sep 2015, 1:32 PM | Permalink

MESA passed a resolution earlier this year praising calls for anti-Israel boycotts.

The latest Campus Watch Research is by Middle East historian Efraim Karsh along with Middle East scholar Asaf Romirowsky. The two critique the Middle East Studies Association's (MESA) increasingly anti-Israel stances on both scholarship and activism. The piece appeared September 18 in The American Interest:

The influential Middle East Studies Association objects to the State Department's definition of anti-Semitism, thereby giving up any pretense of professionalism it still had.

It has been a while since the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the largest and most influential professional body for the study of the region, whose 2,700-plus members inhabit departments of Middle East studies throughout the world, dropped its original designation as a "non-political learned society" to become a hotbed of anti-Israel invective. So deep has the rot settled that the association seems totally oblivious (or rather indifferent) to the fact that its recent endorsement of the anti-Israel de-legitimization campaign, and attendant efforts to obstruct the containment of resurgent anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses, have effectively crossed the thin line between "normal" Israel-bashing and classical Jew baiting.

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


Will Yale's $10 Million Saudi Grant Whitewash Islamic Law?

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Tue, 15 Sep 2015, 4:23 PM | Permalink

Saudi businessman Abdallah S. Kamel has donated $10 million to Yale University Law School to establish a center for the "Study of Islamic Law and Civilization." In doing so, Yale joins Harvard, Georgetown, UC Berkeley, and other American universities in accepting Saudi largesse that, experience tells us, often results in Middle East studies centers and academics producing apologias for Islamism. In this case, the focus is on Sharia (Islamic) law, which, as noted by the Independent Journal Review, is "antithetical to the classical and modern liberal traditions of Western Civilization." The fact that Yale Law School Dean Robert C. Post described Sharia, a pre-modern, barbaric legal code that proponents are seeking to expand into the West, as having "a long and proud tradition, which encompasses great intellectual achievements" does not bode well.


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