Middle East studies in the News
The Expulsion That Never Was
by Martin Kramer
Among the predictions about the war that didn't pan out, there is one that hasn't been subjected to post-war ridicule, but that very much deserves it. This is the December letter, signed by over 1,000 academics, predicting and warning against Israel's possible "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians in the "fog of war." The letter ended with this recommendation: "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."
People [in the Israeli government] have been calling for expulsion for years, but the Israeli government, including Sharon, realizes that it would not be acceptable under normal circumstances. But in middle of a war in Iraq, especially if they attack Israel, there would be panic and one can imagine all sorts of horrible scenarios. The public could countenance this, or the U.S. could turn a blind eye.My comment back in December: "Let me not put too fine a point on it: anyone signing this letter, effectively condemning Israel in advance for something it has no intention of doing, is either an ignoramus or a propagandist." Now that we are after the fact, it's a point worth reiterating.
I sorted out the Middle East "experts" among the signatories and listed them back in December, so I won't waste space here. But let me just list the original signatories (eight of fifteen) who are professors of Middle Eastern studies:
Joel Beinin, StanfordAnd among the "additional signatories," special mention should be made of Laurie Brand, University of Southern California, who is president-elect of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).
These people have (once again) brought shame on their discipline. Those among them who claim special expertise on Israel and its policies have discredited themselves as interpreters and teachers of that country's politics and society. And they are now collectively in the moral position of owing apologies to the Israeli people and the Israeli government—of Ariel Sharon. I suggest they make them at the next MESA conference.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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