Campus Watch in the Media
Letter to the Editor: Editorial ‘misrepresents' Campus Watch
by Daniel Wichs
In your Oct. 9 article "Campus Watch stifles freedom of expression," you have misrepresented both the Campus Watch organization and Stanford's own role in the problem. Campus Watch is an organization which tries to identify bias in the academic world when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. The purpose of Campus Watch is defined on their website as:
"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."
Your editorial ignores this completely and creates a deceptive picture of Campus Watch as an organization which tries to quiet opposing viewpoints rather than comment on them.
I believe I need not point out the paradoxical position of the article which attempts to quiet the Campus Watch organization and deny it its rights of freedom of speech.
The Stanford campus was correctly identified by Campus Watch as having a problem, not because of student demonstration or even student sentiment on campus, but because of the academics, namely Prof. Joel Beinin.
Students who wish to take a class on the Israel / Palestine conflict or on Middle East history will most likely end up in one of Prof. Beinin's classes.
He would most likely agree that his classes are biased and present only one side of the issue.
Although it is academically permitted and almost necessary to teach the subject from a specific viewpoint, Campus Watch is doing the University a service by commenting on professor Beinin's viewpoints and putting them in perspective.
Campus Watch also tries to make sure academia is not misused. This clearly happened last year when the History Department's money was used to stage an Al Nakba "memorial." The memorial was a political demonstration in disguise with no academic value whatsoever.
Prof. Beinin played a role in organizing it and attended the demonstration. Later in the year he spoke at another anti-Israel demonstration.
These activities mark the misuse of academia, and I am grateful to Campus Watch for pointing them out to unsuspecting students.
Freedom of speech is the primary concern of the editorial, and I couldn't agree more. However, with freedom of speech, comes the freedom to comment. I hope that the editors at The Stanford Daily reconsider their stance against this freedom.
Campus Watch contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org