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UCLA Prof Assigns Pro-Israel Book in Order to Trash It

James Gelvin

Imagine for a moment that a Middle East studies professor known for being a critic of Israel, to the point where students have complained of bias, assigns his class a pro-Israel book. This exactly what happened in the case of UCLA history professor James Gelvin, but, as it turns out, there's a twist. In the latest Campus Watch research, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell lays out the details at American Thinker:

It seemed too good to be true: the required reading in UCLA history professor James Gelvin's fall 2014 class, History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1881 to Present, includes a pro-Israel book, Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel (2004). Described by the New York Times Book Review as "[e]specially effective at pointing to the hypocrisy of many of Israel's critics," the Washington Post Book World called it a "lively, hotly argued broadside against Israel's increasingly venomous critics."

Why would a professor so openly critical of Israel assign such a work? To balance his own unfavorable views on the topic, perhaps? To spark classroom debate on complex issues?

Not quite . . .

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  December 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm  |  Permalink

'Palestinian Rights Activism' Panel Turns Perpetrators into Victims

Rashid Khalidi

Middle East studies professors who engage in anti-Israel activism like to fashion themselves the victims of persecution for their views, when, in fact, the opposite is true: academia celebrates such views, while shunning pro-Israel perspectives. In the latest Campus Watch research, Andrew Harrod reports on a recent panel discussion in Washington, DC, in which speakers such as Rashid Khalidi and Steven Salaita engaged in this sort of self-proclaimed victimhood, all the while turning Israel and its supporters into the perpetrators. His article appears today at Jihad Watch:

Israel is a twenty-first century "litmus test of a real commitment to justice," the "Vietnam," the "South Africa," and "moral issue of our time" according to leftwing icon Angela Davis, quoted approvingly by Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi on November 21 before an audience of about fifty. Khalidi's panel discussion of "The Legal Assault on Palestinian Rights Activism" over a lunch of sandwiches and drinks at the Service Employees International Union's (SEIU) Washington, DC, headquarters twisted anti-Israel hatred and criminality into Israeli persecution of Palestinians.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  December 18, 2014 at 10:53 pm  |  Permalink

Mark LeVine Unhinged on Facebook

Mark LeVine

University of California-Irvine history professor Mark LeVine has launched an unhinged Facebook rant, in which he calls for Israel to be "dismantled" and hurls insults at former AAUP president Cary Nelson, an opponent of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and a supporter of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's decision to withdraw an offer of tenured professorship to Steven Salaita. If you thought academic disputes were settled by reasoned argument, you haven't kept up with Middle East studies (or LeVine). In the latest Campus Watch research, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell dissects this sorry episode today at FrontPage Magazine:

UC Irvine history professor Mark LeVine, who recently suffered a meltdown after being called "anti-Israeli," has since proven the point by posting this profanity-laden, unhinged rant on Facebook. . . . LeVine was commenting on a photograph from French freelance photographer Anne Paq, who, according to her bio, has been "based in Palestine since 2003," and who specializes in the sort of emotionally-charged—and,all too often, staged or manipulated—imagery regularly employed by Hamas and others to demonize Israel in the international media. Paq's photograph certainly elicited that reaction in LeVine.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  December 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm  |  Permalink

Brandeis Center Responds to Hale/Wolf Op-ed on Title VI

Kenneth L. Marcus, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, has written a letter to the editor of the Hill responding to an op-ed from UCLA's Sondra Hale and UC Hastings law student Bekah Wolf. Predictably, Hale and Wolf equated the campaign (which includes the Middle East Forum) to hold Middle East studies programs accountable for providing the "diversity of perspectives" required by Title-VI federal funding with stifling free speech. As Marcus puts it:

Apparently, they believe that the First Amendment protects them against the unappetizing prospect of hearing views different than their own. . . . When Middle East Studies centers refuse to provide a podium for speakers who challenge their anti-Israel politics, they are the ones who stifle free speech on campus.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  December 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm  |  Permalink

Will Directors of Three Title VI Middle East Studies Centers Boycott Israeli Universities?

Three of six directors of federally-funded university Middle East studies centers who signed a letter pledging "not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions" have yet to clarify whether they spoke for their centers or merely for themselves. They are:

  • miriam cooke, Middle East Studies Center, Duke.
  • John Esposito, Prince Alwaleed bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown.
  • Osama Abi-Mershed, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University.

CW revealed in September that Abi-Mershed's claim that "we are not tax supported" was refuted by his dean, who confirmed that, "the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies has been, and we hope will remain, a recipient of Title VI designation and support."

Recently, New York University dean for the humanities Joy Connolly confirmed that in pledging to boycott Israeli academic institutions, incoming director of the taxpayer-supported Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies Helga Tawil-Souri speaks only for herself and not for her center or NYU. Lila Abu-Lughod, director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, and Gabriel Piterberg, who directs the Center for Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, confirmed earlier that their pledges were merely personal and will not affect the centers they lead.

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By Winfield Myers  |  December 5, 2014 at 3:43 pm  |  Permalink

'Islamophobia' Joins the Rainbow Coalition

The field of Middle East studies has become the go-to source for bogus studies purporting to demonstrate that America is rife with "Islamophobia." In the latest Campus Watch research, Andrew Harrod reports on a panel discussion at Georgetown University based on one such study and aimed at trying to conflate fighting "Islamophobia" with a host of unrelated--and, at times, diametrically opposed--leftist causes. His article appears today at Jihad Watch:

"Same-sex marriage bans" and "anti-sharia/anti-'foreign law'" bills seek "to disenfranchise historically marginalized groups," according to the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU)'s latest "Islamophobia"study, "Islamophobia: A Threat to All." An audience of around fifty at a recent panel discussion on the study at Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) witnessed an unconvincing attempt to integrate combatting "Islamophobia" into a broad leftist coalition.

. . . Georgetown labor historian Joseph McCartin—Jesuit employer and Catholic undergraduate education notwithstanding—portrayed anti-sharia efforts as "connected to other regressive policies," such as opposition to abortion and homosexuality. According to McCartin, homosexuals, feminists, and others allegedly targeted by "regressive policies . . . have to stand together" with sharia's defenders. Laughably, in his imagination, the "things that unite us are more important than the things that divide us." Drag queens, burka-clad Muslims, and union workers of the world unite!

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  December 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm  |  Permalink

Mark LeVine's Meltdown

Earlier this week at an event at UC Irvine, UCI history professor Mark LeVine, who is well-known for his anti-Israel views and activism, had a temper tantrum after UCI instructor and blogger Gary Fouse, in the course of asking a question from the audience, dared to describe LeVine as "an anti-Israeli activist." Fouse recounts the meltdown at his blog:

When the event concluded, I approached LeVine and said that I had intended no disrespect. . . . At this point, with many of his students and other attendees still in the room, a visibly angry LeVine began to shout at me. He told me that my writing was "sh--" and he was not embarrassed to say that it was "sh--" in front of the room. He also shouted that if I ever called him "anti-Israel" again, I was going to have a problem--that it was "slander." He finished by saying that I was not qualified to teach at this university and that he didn't want to talk to me--"Goodbye!"

Apparently, the truth hurts.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  November 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm  |  Permalink

Profs Blame ISIS on 'Islamophobia' and 'Grievances'

ISIS flag

How is Middle East studies academia addressing the rise of ISIS? All too often, by denying the group's Islamic supremacist ideology, blaming "Islamophobia" or "grievances," and equating its atrocities with the defense of the U.S. and Israel. Reporting for Campus Watch, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell examines these professors in their own words. Her article appears today at FrontPage Magazine:

President Obama's infamous proclamation that ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is "not Islamic" was received sympathetically within the ranks of Middle East studies. While many scholars of Islam and the Middle East have condemned ISIS's heinous actions, a stubborn refusal to acknowledge their theological underpinnings lingers. Those who do concede ISIS's Islamic supremacism are branded "Islamphobes." Others attribute ISIS's rampage of mass murder, beheadings, rape, slavery, and strict Sharia law in pursuit of a caliphate to Western-inspired "grievances" or "root causes."

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  November 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm  |  Permalink

Peace Train to Nowhere: Profs on Israeli-Palestinian 'Negotiations'

Daniel Kurtzer

Reporting for Campus Watch, Andrew Harrod covered a recent Washington, DC, panel discussion on the vagaries of the Arab-Israeli "peace process" featuring Princeton University's Daniel Kurtzer. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, panelists blamed Israel for the lack of progress and diverted blame from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Harrod's article appears today at Jihad Watch:

"What can you tell" an audience "that they haven't already heard" at yet "another conference on the Arab-Israeli conflict?" asked Middle East Policy Council (MEPC) Board Chairman Omar Kader at a recent Washington, DC, panel. About fifty attendees, who enjoyed coffee, juice, and pastries at the Phoenix Park Hotel, encountered typical anti-Israeli animus and sterile discussion of a "peace process" stillborn amidst abiding Palestinian hatred for Israel.

Former ambassador and Princeton University professor of Middle Eastern policy studies Daniel C. Kurtzer advocated an uninspiring "process that keeps the process going" for largely hopeless Israeli-Palestinian negotiations so that "situations on the ground" do not "fester." . . . He praised Secretary of State John Kerry's "brilliant diplomacy" and the 1991 Madrid Conference leading to the dead-end Oslo Accords, which he labeled a "critical breakthrough in the Middle East," further illustrating his disconnect from an all-too violent reality.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  November 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm  |  Permalink

Steven Salaita's Historiography of Victimhood

Steven Salaita

Steven Salaita's academic work emerges from a highly politicized, Manichaean historiography that champions anachronistic concepts of victimhood over a rigorous examination of sources. CW director Winfield Myers examines this work today at American Thinker:

Had the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign not nixed Steven Salaita's appointment as professor of American Indian studies after his extended string of vituperative, vulgar Tweets, blog posts, and other communications exposed his anti-Semitism and radicalism to a broad audience, he would have likely remained an obscure academic. Today his legions of professorial supporters view him as a cause célèbre and alleged victim of the "Israel lobby" and rich alumni.

Salaita may not have presented himself as a victim of academe's alleged perfidy before Chancellor Phyllis Wise's action in August, but his fields of study assume the victimhood of indigenous peoples worldwide. Since world history is replete with conquests, intermarriage, assimilation, and the rise and fall of expansive empires, separating victims from victimizers through the millennia is a difficult process -- unless, that is, the purpose of one's academic work has less to do with the pursuit of truth than with achieving political goals through a quixotic, politicized reading of history.

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

By Winfield Myers  |  November 23, 2014 at 10:28 am  |  Permalink

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