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Howler of the Month (archive)

Hatem Bazian

"Stoking anti-Muslim sentiments in the U.S. and Europe is believed by those at the hub of the Islamophobia network to make Israel indispensable for the long-term clash of civilization underway and the open-ended war on terror, where Islam is identified as the enemy."

Hatem Bazian, director of the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at the University of California, Berkeley, in "Islamophobia: Israel's Last Frontier to Rescue Its Image!"; Daily Sabah, July 7, 2016. (link to source)

We Couldn't Have Said it Better (archive)

William Jacobson

"The Turkish academic purge raises a test for the anti-Israel academic boycotters. Will they devote themselves this coming academic season to an academic boycott of Turkish Universities, in addition to other majority-Muslim nations where minorities are repressed and academic freedom stifled?"

William A. Jacobson, Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and founder of the Legal Insurrection blog, on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's post-coup purge of Turkish academics; Legal Insurrection, July 20, 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

Turkey Cracks Down on Academics, Anti-Israel Scholars Silent [incl. MESA]
July 25, 2016 - CAMERA

Scholarly Groups Speak Out on Turkey's Purges [incl. MESA]
July 25, 2016 - Inside Higher Ed

Amir Khadir on Hunger Strike for Iranian Prisoner Homa Hoodfar
July 24, 2016 - Presse Canadienne

Internet Hunt: Where's "Waldo" (Anti-Israel Academic Boycotters Boycotting Turkey)?
July 23, 2016 - Legal Insurrection

Hey, BDS-Loving Professors Watching the Assault on Academic Freedom in Turkey: Why So Quiet?
July 21, 2016 - Tablet Magazine

Are Turkey's Universities a Legitimate Target for an Academic Boycott?
July 21, 2016 - The Tower Magazine

'Unprecedented' Purge in Turkey [incl. Kent Schull]
July 20, 2016 - Inside Higher Ed

Will Anti-Israel Academic Boycotters Now Also Boycott Turkish Universities?
July 20, 2016 - Legal Insurrection

Lawyers Without Borders, Quebec Bar Pledge Support For Hoodfar
July 20, 2016 - Montreal Gazette

Where Are the Academic Boycotts of Turkey?
July 20, 2016 - National Review


MESA Condemns Turkish Purges, but Won't Mention Erdogan, Islamists by Name

By Winfield Myers | Thu, 21 Jul 2016, 2:05 PM | Permalink

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), joined by several other disciplinary organizations, has finally issued a letter condemning the actions against Turkish academics, days after the purges began. But while MESA et al. condemn the persecutions, they never mention Turkish president Erdogan by name, nor do they note (much less condemn) the reason behind the purges: to pave the way for the Islamization of all of Turkish society, long a goal of Erdogan and his AKP colleagues and followers. MESA and its co-signers willfully ignore these inconvenient facts lest they disavow their decades-long romance with anti-Western "moderate Islamists." One supposes they're still searching for a motive.


Still Waiting on MESA to Condemn Erdogan's Purge of Turkish Universities

By Winfield Myers | Thu, 21 Jul 2016, 11:46 AM | Permalink

Middle East studies professors regularly accuse CW and other organizations of "McCarthyism," an ahistorical, intellectually lazy charge intended to silence critics. Yet days into an ongoing purge of Turkish academics, including 1,500+ deans and four university rectors, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) has yet to condemn the latest moves by Turkish president Erdogan, whose "moderate Islamism" US profs have long championed as a path to democracy. Will genuine (not imagined) "loyalty oaths" for Turkish academics finally grab MESA's attention?


Anthropology: Abandon All Truth Ye Who Enter

By Winfield Myers | Wed, 20 Jul 2016, 4:59 PM | Permalink

Anthropologists who study the Middle East were once inspired by "a scientific spirit to discover the cultures of the region and their dynamics" argues Philip Carl Salzman in the latest Campus Watch Research. Yet contemporary anthropology has been infected by "postcolonial discourse," which has injected "a dangerous, self-contradictory nihilism that rejects the possibility of objective Truth toward which we may move." Salzman's critique of a discipline he has long called home appears at the Daily Caller:

In the decades after WWII, anthropologists carried out ethnographic field research in the Middle East inspired by a scientific spirit to discover the cultures of the region and their dynamics. Among those who produced sound, grounded research were Fredrik Barth on the Basseri nomads, William Irons on the Yomut Turkmen, Lois Beck on the Qashqa'i confederation, William Lancaster on the Rwala Bedouin, and A. S. Bujra on Yemen. I had the privilege of carrying out field research among the Baluchi tribes of Iran.

However, anthropologists, including those studying the Middle East, gradually moved away from a scientific perspective toward a more subjective and politicized view. They were influenced in part by Edward Said, who in Orientalism (1978) argued that Western accounts of the Middle East were fabrications invented to justify imperialist invasion, colonial imposition, and oppression of local peoples. This "postcolonial" view blames Western imperialism for myriad problems worldwide, a view which neglects the cultures and agency of people around the globe.

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


How Will Middle East Studies Profs React to Erdogan's Purges?

By Winfield Myers | Tue, 19 Jul 2016, 4:53 PM | Permalink

Turkish president Erdogan's post-coup purges--including almost 1,600 university deans and 24,000 teachers--are putting American profs of Middle East studies in a bind. For years they've praised Erdogan precisely for his Islamist credentials. What will they say now that he's clearly bent on destroying the last remnants of Kemalism and, with it, Turkish civil society? Will they turn a blind eye to mass executions and the formation of an Islamist dictatorship? Academics are now barred from leaving Turkey; will the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) object?


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