Middle East studies in the News
Harvard Professor is Worried About 'Jewish Threat' [on Ali Akbar Alikhani]
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
Ali Akbar Alikhani, an Iranian academic who is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard University, has warned about the "Jewish threat," according to Adam Kredo, a reporter for theWashington Free Beacon, a D.C.-based online news media outlet.
Alikhani, an associate professor at the University of Tehran, is currently employed by Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
Kredo noted that "Alikhani is a member of Tehran University's Faculty of World Studies, which is closely tied to the Iranian ruling regime and has supported scholars who espouse the regime's hardline ideology."
Alikhani has praised an Arabic language book titled The Jewish Threat-Danger to Christianity and Islam as "strong and good." In his Farsi language review translated by the Free Beacon, Alikhani said the book should "show the quality and the method of the Jewish threat." The Harvard scholar also stated, "Considering the practical perspectives of this book, it was expected that the author at least in the areas of thoughts and beliefs, would provide practical and noticeable solutions or reject and refute the foundations of Judaism and Zionism itself."
Alikhani is not the only academic with ties to Tehran who has been hired by a U.S. university. As CAMERA has noted ("Iranian Agent Hides in Washington Post as U.S. Prof," Sept. 8, 2015), Seyed Hossein Mousavian, currently a "research scholar" at Princeton University, was previously Iran's ambassador to Germany in 1992 when Iranian agents assassinated dissident Iranian Kurdish leaders in a Berlin restaurant.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Alikhani's scholar's work hews closely to the Islamist philosophy of Iran's theocratic, totalitarian rulers and "has been critical of Israel and Zionism." Despite his ties to the mullahs, the Free Beacon said that Alikhani has written—without a trace of irony—that Israel is "a country that from its inception was based on force, coercion and oppression of others."
The Free Beacon added that the Harvard staffer's works have cited Roger Garaudy, a Holocaust denying French academic and Rachid Ghannouchi, "a Tunisian Islamist figure who has promoted violence against Jewish people and heads a group that is accused of having ties to Hamas." Ghannouchi has been described, as has been his Ennahda (Renaissance) Party, as a moderate in the West, including by The Washington Post (see, for example "Tunisia's Acclaimed Moderate Islamist Party has Troubling View of Israel," Oct. 26, 2011). Hamas is the U.S.-designated terrorist organization in charge of the Gaza Strip; its charter calls for the destruction of Israel and genocide of the Jews.
Alikhani has argued that "the Jewish dissidents of Zionism" were actually created by the "Jewish government" in order to "pretend that Israel is a free country." This conspiratorial thinking is a staple of the Iranian regime. As CAMERA has noted (see, for example "The Media and the Myth of the Moderate Mullahs," March 2, 2016), current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani—frequently described by news media as a "moderate"—has suggested that the U.S. government was responsible for shooting down United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers fought the hijackers, during the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.
On May 29, 2016, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg gave a Harvard commencement speech in which he bemoaned the rise of antisemitism. Spielberg told the graduating class, "We must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise. We cannot deny it." One small but insidious example is Harvard University "scholar" Alikhani.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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