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Howler of the Month (archive)

Nada Elia

"Ending Zionism is a feminist and a reproductive justice issue."

Nada Elia, global and gender studies professor at Seattle's Antioch University, in "Ending Zionism is a feminist issue"; The Electronic Intifada, July 24, 2014. (link to source)

We Couldn't Have Said it Better (archive)

Kenneth Waltzer

"What state of intellectual life have we reached in the United States when a reputable American university press – Stanford University Press – sponsors a blog about Israel and Gaza and publishes only one-sided essays critical of Israel? . . . Is it appropriate for a University Press to sponsor one-sided political opinion? Don't we have opinion journals for that? What does it do for the name of the university?"

Kenneth Waltzer, director of Jewish studies at Michigan State University, in "Stanford University Agitprop Press"; The Times of Israel, August 1, 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

Q&A on Education in Gaza with Middle East Expert Nadia Yaqub
September 16, 2014 - The Daily Tar Heel (student newspaper of University of North Carolina)

Fairfield's Sacred Heart University Launches Global Studies Major
September 15, 2014 - Fairfield Daily Voice

Administrative Lessons from the Salaita Disaster
September 15, 2014 - Inside Higher Ed

Insult and Injury [on Steven Salaita]
September 15, 2014 - The Cavalier Daily (news of University of Virginia)

John Esposito Takes 'Islam' Out of ISIS
September 14, 2014 - American Thinker

De-hired Professor Steven Salaita Is a University's Worst Nightmare
September 14, 2014 - Forward

CUNY Student Body Postpones BDS Move 'Out of respect for Shabbat' [incl. Kristofer Petersen-Overton]
September 14, 2014 - Haaretz

Illinois – A University With Principles [on Steven Salaita]
September 14, 2014 - The Jerusalem Post

Steven Salaita and the Racist Ghost of Edward Said
September 13, 2014 - The Times of Israel

University Board Formally Rejects Salaita Appointment
September 12, 2014 - Jewish Telegraphic Agency


John Esposito Takes 'Islam' Out of ISIS

By Winfield Myers | Sun, 14 Sep 2014, 1:06 PM | Permalink

John Esposito

Reporting for Campus Watch, Andrew Harrod covered a recent Washington, DC, event featuring John Esposito of Georgetown University. His article appears today at American Thinker:

"He's the head apologist," read a note passed to this reporter from a liberal friend during Georgetown University professor John Esposito's August 28 address on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at Washington, D.C.'s National Press Club. The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) founding director reiterated his hackneyed arguments, long dominant in academia and government, that Islamic radicals' depredations stem from societal ills, not Islamic doctrine.

"ISIS, Radicalization, and the Politics of Violence and Alienation," accompanied by box lunches, attracted about fifty, many capital event regulars, including Georgetown's Berkley Center fellow Stanley Kober and Library of Congress Iraq specialist Michael Albin. Holocaust quasi-denier Ken Meyercord, Zainab Chaudry from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and an elderly woman who, at past events, alleged American government experiments in satellite mind control, also attended.

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


Beshara Doumani's Anti-Israel 'Teach-In'

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Fri, 12 Sep 2014, 6:03 PM | Permalink

Campus Watch is not at all surprised to hear that a "teach-in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" co-sponsored by Brown University's Middle East studies program and moderated by its director, Beshara Doumani (about whom we've written since his time at UC Berkeley), resulted in an Israel-bashing sideshow. According to the Brown Daily Herald, it wasn't until the audience was allowed to participate, that the real "teach-in" began:

In the question-and-answer session that followed, Adam Bennett '16 said the panel lacked representation of and support for Israel, garnering claps and shouts from the audience, some of whom yelled that the panel was biased. Bennett also questioned whether the role of the panel was to foster "an objective conversation" about the conflict or to serve as a forum for the Middle East Studies program.

When the panel members moved on to address the next question, some audience members said the panel was "a stacked deck." Doumani reiterated that the panel would only address four questions at a time, prompting two audience members to exit the room.

. . . Matt Dang '16 said he was "surprised, to say the least" at the abrupt change in tone during the question-and-answer session. It was interesting to see the clear divide in strong opinions in the auditorium, as the open discussion became more of an argument, he said.


Foreign Powers Buy Influence in Academia, Too

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Tue, 9 Sep 2014, 5:46 PM | Permalink

Want to know what millions of dollars from Middle Eastern, among other, governments will buy? How about misplaced loyalty, self-censorship, and propaganda? The New York Times explores this question as it pertains to think tanks, but what about academia? The article touches on the conflict of interest involved in Qatari funding for the Brookings Institute, but the same could be said for Saudi and Gulf state funding of Middle East studies. NGO-Monitor president Gerald Steinberg, quoted in the Algemeiner, sums up the conundrum:

Steinberg said that such issues "…have to be addressed just like funding for academic programs that specialize in the Middle East and are funded by Saudi Arabia, or another oil-rich countries; all are problematic because they inevitably have the spin the donor puts on them."


Will Taxpayer-supported Title VI Middle East Studies Centers Boycott Israel?

By Winfield Myers | Thu, 4 Sep 2014, 11:26 PM | Permalink

Will the taxpayer-supported Middle East studies centers at five American universities join a boycott of Israeli academic institutions? Or were their directors, who signed a recent letter pledging "not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions," engaged in personal protests that won't affect their schools' official relations with Israeli universities, as Middle East scholar Martin Kramer asks of the director of Columbia's Middle East Institute?

The letter, "Middle East Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions," was published at Jadaliyya on August 6, 2014 "in the name of the below signatories," which an update on the site says totals 550. University of Toronto professor of Arab civilization Jens Hanssen is listed as the media contact.

As heads of U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers, the directors are administrators of bodies required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act to give "assurances" that they will "maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education and other organizations that may contribute to the teaching and research of the Center."

If their pledges aren't simply personal but apply to the centers they lead, they stand in conflict with the assurances they gave in exchange for federal funds.

The six directors (Georgetown boasts two) and their respective centers are:

  • Lila Abu-Lughod, Middle East Institute, Columbia.
  • miriam cooke (no relation to e.e. cummings), Middle East Studies Center, Duke.
  • Osama Abi-Mershed, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown.
  • 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.
  • Gabriel Piterberg, Center for Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.

American taxpayers deserve to know the intentions of these six directors: Are their public pledges against Israel merely personal, so that the centers they lead may cooperate with Israeli academic institutions and scholars? Or are they declaring the intention of their centers to engage in an official boycott of Israeli academic institutions despite federal policy?


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