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Howler of the Month (archive)

Juan Cole

"It's just a way of beating up on the Muslims in the UK. . . . Cameron is grandstanding about this and it's Islamophobia, it's just racism. . . . It's a kind of political hysteria, it's racism, and it's unworthy. I think David Cameron, who has an Oxford education, should be ashamed of himself."

Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, on British Prime Minister David Cameron addressing the security threat posed by British citizens joining ISIS; California State University, Long Beach, October 16, 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

Scholar Tariq Ramadan Warns of Secular-Islamist Split ahead of Tunisia's Polls
October 24, 2014 - Ahram Online (Egypt)

Interview with Professor John Esposito: On ISIS, the Middle East, and Terrorism
October 24, 2014 - Journal of Turkish Weekly

Loudest Are Not The Largest [on Steven Salaita]
October 23, 2014 - The News-Gazette

Incoming Professor Explores Refugee Camp Dynamics [on Sarah Tobin]
October 22, 2014 - The Brown Daily Herald

Willful Blindness to Academic Anti-Semitism [incl. Hatem Bazian]
October 22, 2014 - The Times of Israel

Resolution Blasting Wise Email Rejected [incl. Steven Salaita]
October 21, 2014 - Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

University of Tennessee to Expand Arabic Program [incl. Douja Mamelouk]
October 21, 2014 - The Daily Beacon (student newspaper, U. of Tennessee

University Senate Votes on Administrative Issues and Academic Freedom [incl. Steven Salaita]
October 21, 2014 - The Daily Illini (student newspaper of the University of Illinois)

SJP's History of Hatred [incl. Hatem Bazian]
October 20, 2014 - The Tower Magazine

On Many Campuses, Hate is Spelled SJP [incl. Hatem Bazian]
October 20, 2014 - The Tower Magazine


Stacked MESA Panel to Praise Steven Salaita

By Winfield Myers | Fri, 24 Oct 2014, 10:24 PM | Permalink

Steven Salaita is set to receive more praise (and pity) from his academic peers next month when a panel at the annual Middle East Studies Association (MESA) conference in Washington, DC, examines his travails at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which in August rescinded an offer to appoint him professor of Native American studies.

The panel is to discuss "issues of freedom of speech, academic freedom, university governance, civil discourse, and the potential repercussions for faculty in Middle East studies." Given its composition, its biases in favor of Salaita are beyond doubt: every member specializing in the Middle East shares Salaita's history of anti-Israel activism, including support for the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) movement and objections to off-campus criticism of academe. The records of non-specialists also give every indication that they, too, will support Salaita.

A small sampling of radicalism of panel members demonstrates this bias:

  • Laurie Brand (chair), former MESA president and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Southern California, was signatory to a hysterical December 2002 letter warning that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would encourage Israel to engage in "ethnic cleansing" against Palestinians:

"Americans cannot remain silent while crimes as abhorrent as ethnic cleansing are being openly advocated. We urge our government to communicate clearly to the government of Israel that the expulsion of people according to race, religion or nationality would constitute crimes against humanity and will not be tolerated."

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Hamza Yusuf Still An Apologist for Sharia

By Winfield Myers | Fri, 24 Oct 2014, 2:22 PM | Permalink

Hamza Yusuf, recently portrayed as a moderate, is in fact an apologist for Sharia and its "brutal hudud punishments" and the return of the Caliphate. That he has partnered with Hatem Bazian of UC Berkeley (and, like Yusuf, of Zaytuna College) further clarifies his true beliefs, as Bazian is the poster child for anti-American, anti-Israel, radical Islamist academics. See CW's collection of articles on him here.



'The Hoya' at Georgetown U. Confuses Anti-Israel Boycotts (Letter to the Editor)

By Winfield Myers | Mon, 20 Oct 2014, 3:42 PM | Permalink

[Editor's note: the following letter to the editor of The Hoya, the student newspaper of Georgetown University, was not published by the paper and so is reproduced here.]

In "13 Professors Boycott Israeli Universities," September 13, Katherine Richardson writes that "Georgetown has become the most-represented university involved in the American Studies Association's boycott of Israeli academic institutions since the petition's creation last month."

In fact, the ASA's boycott was launched last December. The boycott to which Ms. Richardson refers is unrelated, represents "scholars and librarians working on the Middle East," and was launched in August. There is no linkage between the two groups.

An important issue unaddressed by the article is whether two directors of federal Title VI-funded Georgetown centers who signed the pledge speak for themselves or for the centers they lead. Under Title VI of the Higher Education Act, recipients must give "assurances" to "maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education"—an assurance threatened by a pledge to boycott Israeli universities and academics.

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MESA Letter on Gaza Aid Ignores Hamas, Blames Israel

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Thu, 16 Oct 2014, 2:58 PM | Permalink

MESA president Nathan J. Brown

The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) has sent a letter to the recent "International Conference for the Reconstruction of Gaza" expressing "grave concern over Israel's indiscriminate bombardment and destruction of Palestinian educational institutions" and recommending that "international donors . . . hold Israel accountable" by insisting that aid be contingent upon ending "the blockade and other policies of military occupation" that allegedly imperil "academic freedom and the right to education" in the Gaza strip.

The letter relies upon the notoriously biased United Nations for its obviously inflated figures. Worse, it makes no mention whatsoever of Hamas's rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, or its kidnapping and murder of Israeli citizens, both of which precipated Israel's military action. Also conveniently omitted is Hamas's calculated use of human shields and UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) facilities.

MESA has a long history of issuing one-sided letters accusing Israel of supposed restrictions on academic freedom, as these from 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, and 2001 demonstrate.

But rest assured, writes MESA president and George Washington University professor Nathan J. Brown, MESA's role is merely "to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa."


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