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Contrary to Georgetown Prof's Claims, Dean Says Center Receives Taxpayer Support

Asked recently if Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) receives federal Title VI funds, director Osama Abi-Mershed answered, "we are not tax supported."

His dean, James Reardon-Anderson, begs to differ.

Following the revelation that the directors of six federally-funded Middle East studies centers signed a letter pledging "not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions" in spite of "assurances" each gave to "maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education," Foreign Policy Research Institute president Alan Luxenberg emailed each director and asked if their pledges were personal or apply to the centers they lead.

In response to an inquiry, Reardon-Anderson, acting dean of the Walsh School of Foreign Service, of which CCAS is a part, replied without commenting on Abi-Mershed's claim that:

Yes, we are very proud that the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies has been, and we hope will remain, a recipient of Title VI designation and support.

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By Winfield Myers  |  September 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm  |  Permalink

Defending Salaita: Anti-Israel Profs Unite!

In the latest Campus Watch research, posted today at American Thinker, I examine the reaction of the field of Middle East studies to the case of Steven Salaita, who was offered a position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that was rescinded following publicity surrounding his offensive and hateful Twitter posts:

While Steven G. Salaita's inflammatory, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic Twitter posts and atrocious academic record may have cost him a tenured professorship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), theydid nothing to lessen his support from the field of Middle East studies. The former Virginia Tech University English professor – whose published work focuses on the Arab-Israeli conflict – was offered a position in UIUC's American Indian Studies Program that was later rescinded by Chancellor Phyllis Wise. Salaita's academic apologists immediately sprang into action, with antagonism to Israel's recent military action against Hamas only adding to the frenzy.

A number of petitions, open letters, and statements calling to reinstate or show solidarity with Salaita made the rounds, all displaying similar characteristics.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  September 21, 2014 at 12:15 pm  |  Permalink

MESA Attacks Efforts to Reform Title VI of the Higher Education Act

Yesterday ten organizations, including the Middle East Forum, announced an effort to educate Congressional leaders and policy makers on the need to reform federally-funded Title VI Middle East studies centers, which have for years produced biased, anti-American and anti-Israel material.

Predictably, Amy W. Newhall, executive director of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), responded not by countering the signatories' charges, but by attacking their character and motives.

Newhall claimed "MESA resolutely opposes all forms of hate speech and discrimination, including anti-Semitism." In fact, "It supports prompt and forceful action in response to anti-Semitic incidents on college and university campuses."

Were this true, MESA would have condemned flagrantly anti-Semitic statements by Joseph Massad and Hamid Dabashi of Columbia, Ali Mazrui of SUNY Binghamton, As'ad AbuKhalil of Cal State Stanislaus, and countless others. Yet it consistently defends such speech rather than condemning it.

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By Winfield Myers  |  September 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm  |  Permalink

John Esposito Takes 'Islam' Out of ISIS

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.

By Winfield Myers  |  September 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm  |  Permalink

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

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.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  September 12, 2014 at 6:03 pm  |  Permalink

Foreign Powers Buy Influence in Academia, Too

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."

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  September 9, 2014 at 5:46 pm  |  Permalink

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

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?

By Winfield Myers  |  September 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm  |  Permalink

Hamas's Academic Apologists

Hamas in action.

Who said, "Hamas cannot hurt Israel at all militarily. . . . Israeli citizens enjoy relative security"? Or, "Hamas has not chosen the option of a military or violent confrontation with Israel"? How about, "Israel's only real strategy is causing war, not ending war"? Answer: Middle East studies academics.

In the latest Campus Watch research, posted today at American Thinker, CW West Coast Representative Cinnamon Stillwell highlights such quotes to demonstrate how professors act as cheerleaders for Hamas and Palestinian terrorism:

Reaction by Middle East studies professors to Israel's recent effort to destroy Hamas's terrorist infrastructure epitomizes their perennial pro-Hamas, anti-Israel, and anti-American biases. In lieu of reasoned, informed, and balanced assessments, they proffer extremist rhetoric that demonizes Israel and America while ignoring Hamas's misdeeds: rockets aimed at Israeli civilians, kidnappings and murder, disregard for ceasefires, and the cynical use of Palestinian civilians--including children--as human shields.

Two groups--Middle East Scholars and Librarians and Historians Against the War--signed letters advocating a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and accusing Israel of war crimes that demand the end to U.S. military aid, respectively.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 31, 2014 at 3:01 am  |  Permalink

BDS Prof Nada Elia Fails to 'Block the Boat' in Seattle

A Seattle blogger reports on the latest failure of anti-Israel activists to "block the boat"---which calls for a blockade on Israeli Zim Ltd. container ships---and, in the process, points out the involvement of Antioch University professor of gender and global studies Nada Elia, a member of the organizing committee of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel and a frequent subject of Campus Watch coverage:

Also present were the local anti-Israel regulars including . . . Antioch University professor and terror apologist Nada Elia. Elia justified the Hamas terror war on Israel telling a KIRO 7 reporter that "There is a legal right to resistance."

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm  |  Permalink

Profs Blame Pro-Israel Bias for Stereotyping Muslims

Jack Shaheen

Writing for Campus Watch at Frontpage Magazine, Andrew Harrod reports on recent comments by Edmund Ghareeb and Jack Shaheen, professors at American and New York Universities, respectively, that blamed Israel for Arabs and Muslims' image problems in American media and entertainment:

Arabs and Muslims have an image problem in media and entertainment as a result of a pro-Israel political agenda. So claimed Edmund Ghareeb and Jack Shaheen, professors at American and New York Universities, respectively, on June 11, 2014, before an audience of forty middle-aged individuals at Washington, D.C. Jerusalem Fund think tank.

Ghareeb and Shaheen's presentation, "Portraying Arabs: 30 Years Later," commemorated their respective 1984 publications, Split Vision: The Portrayal of Arabs in the American Media and The TV Arab. Drawing upon personal experiences, Ghareeb decried a "lack of balance" in Middle East news coverage in Israel's favor, although groups such as CAMERA and Honest Reporting routinely demonstrate the reverse. According to Ghareeb, this allegedly biased media stereotyping "dehumanizes a people" and "allows for the use of force" against Arabs.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  July 31, 2014 at 1:13 pm  |  Permalink

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