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Politicizing Arabic Instruction in San Francisco Schools

Lara Kiswani

The San Francisco Unified School District is embroiled in a controversy that demonstrates the pervasiveness of politicization in Arabic instruction. According to, the school board has approved a resolution for "K-12 Arabic and Vietnamese language and culture classes beginning in the 2017-18 school year." In order to create "culturally appropriate professional development opportunities for school faculty," the district plans to work with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), a fiercely anti-Israel, pro-BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) local organization whose website blames global "repression" on "U.S. imperialism and Zionism."

Lara Kiswani, AROC's executive director and cofounder of the UC Davis chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, is notorious for having declared at a 2014 UC Berkeley BDS panel discussion, "Bringing down Israel will really benefit everyone in the world" and, to a Jewish graduate student's concerns about anti-Semitism, responding, "As long as you continue to be on that side [of Zionism] I'm going to continue to hate you."

Opposition from Jewish community leaders and others has prompted the school board to issue an apology and to reconsider "whether to retain or drop AROC." As president Emily Murase put it, "Clearly we want to make sure it [the Arabic language and teaching program] does not contain political agendas." The board's decision will determine whether or not teaching Arabic entails indoctrinating children with the political biases of that troubled region.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  September 2, 2015 at 5:43 pm  |  Permalink

Middle East Studies Profs Team with Iran Lobby to Push Deal

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has produced a letter promoting the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) signed by "73 prominent International Relations and Middle East scholars." Among the latter are Richard Bulliet, John Esposito, Fawaz Gerges, Rashid Khalidi, Hamid Dabashi, William O. Beeman, Juan Cole, and Reza Aslan.

A recent Campus Watch article on Middle East studies academics toeing Teheran's line in support of this deal includes the last four and clearly, they have company. The fact that NIAC is an Iran lobby group whose advisory board includes both Aslan and Cole demonstrates the willingness of these academics to further state-sponsored propaganda. It's also proof of the Iranian regime's ability—as with other Islamist lobbies—to infiltrate American university life. NIAC received funds from the Alavi Foundation (which funneled $345,000 to Harvard's Center for Middle East Studies) until Alavi was closed for being a front-group for Tehran's mullahs.

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By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 28, 2015 at 2:57 pm  |  Permalink

IPT on Lincoln Prof Kaukab Siddique's 'Incitement to Violence'

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) analyzes Lincoln University professor Kaukab Siddique's long history of bigoted, pro-terrorist commentary, accusing him of "incitement to violence." IPT interviews Siddique's frequent target, Pamela Geller, along with Pennsylvania Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, who has called on the university to take action against the tenured professor based on possible violations of its professional conduct code.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 26, 2015 at 3:14 pm  |  Permalink

BDS Profs vs. the Muslim Leadership Institute

Abdullah Antepli

Who would object to a program that sends American Muslims to Israel to meet with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian residents in order "to explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood"? Answer: Middle East studies professors intent on scuttling coexistence in favor of delegitimizing Israel through the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Today at FrontPage Magazine, Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell explains why the Muslim Leadership Institute and its co-director, Duke University's Abdullah Antepli, were declared traitors to the "cause":

Participants in the Muslim Leadership Institute (MLI), a program of the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) founded and directed by Duke University chaplain Imam Abdullah Antepli and author Yossi Klein Halevi, partake in two twelve-day seminars at the SHI campus in Jerusalem. The program includes visits to religious and historic sites, northern Israeli Arab communities, and the West Bank.

Since its inception in 2013, MLI has met with fierce resistance from the BDS movement, including Middle East studies professors who coauthored at least two petitions this year aimed at shutting it down.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 21, 2015 at 2:43 am  |  Permalink

Senator Calls on Lincoln U. to Discipline Kaukab Siddique

Democratic Pennsylvania Senator Anthony H. Williams has called on Lincoln University to conduct an inquiry into whether English professor Kaukab Siddique has violated the university's professional conduct code with his bigoted, pro-terrorist commentary. He also pointed to Siddique's Holocaust denial as "evidence of his professional incompetence." As Williams put it, "Academic freedom is certainly important, but so is academic integrity."

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 19, 2015 at 2:15 pm  |  Permalink

Lincoln Prof Kaukab Siddique Doubles Down on Bigoted Comments

Kaukab Siddique, the Lincoln University professor whose slurs against Jews, gays, and women have been garnering headlines, is doubling down on his bigotry. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Siddique insisted that American Freedom Defense Initiative co-founder Pamela Geller, whom he'd previously classified as a "dirty Jewish Zionist thug," is a "Jewish," "white . . . supremacist," who, in organizing the "Draw Mohammed" contest in Garland, Texas earlier this year, committed "cultural genocide." He also engaged in another favorite pastime, Holocaust denial, and claimed that the U.S. military has "fallen below Hitler" in its treatment of prisoners. Just another day in the Ivory Tower.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 12, 2015 at 4:50 pm  |  Permalink

The Political Nature of Today's Middle East Studies

Andrew McCarthy

Modern Middle East studies exist not to advance our understanding of a complex, important region, says Andrew C. McCarthy, in a Middle East Forum/Campus Watch-sponsored essay appearing today at National Review Online. As he explains, it seeks to discredit the very notion of objective scholarship:

From its roots . . . modern Middle East Studies is a political movement aligning leftism and Islamism under the guise of an academic discipline. It is not an objective quest for learning guided by a rich corpus of history and culture; it is a project to impose its pieties as incontestable truth — and to discredit dispassionate analysis in order to achieve that end.

To read the rest of McCarthy's probing analysis of this problem, please click here.

By Winfield Myers  |  August 10, 2015 at 10:56 am  |  Permalink

The Profs Who Love Obama's Iran Deal

Flynt Leverett

Who supports the Obama administration's increasingly unpopular Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed ostensibly at curbing Iran's nuclear program? Many of its strongest proponents come from the field of Middle East studies, which boasts widespread animus towards the U.S. and Israel along with a cadre of apologists for the Iranian regime determined to promote ineffectual diplomacy at all costs. In the latest Campus Watch research, appearing today at FrontPage Magazine, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell reports on the Mullahs' academic cheerleaders:

Flynt Leverett, an international relations professor at Pennsylvania State University, whitewashes Iran's terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah as "constituencies" and "communities" which the Iranian regime "help[s] organize in various ways to press their grievances more effectively," effective terrorism being, for Leverett, a laudable goal. Characterizing the regime as "a rising regional power" and "legitimate political order for most Iranians," he urges the U.S., through the JCPOA, to "come to terms with this reality."

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 10, 2015 at 2:41 am  |  Permalink

No Jihad in Gaza, Says George Washington U's Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown

Middle East studies has declined to the point that when a president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) downplays the terrorism behind Hamas, few notice. One person who did was Andrew Harrod, who reports today at Jihad Watch on a recent lecture given by MESA president Nathan Brown:

Current Middle East Studies Association (MESA) president and George Washington University political science professor Nathan Brown downplayed Hamas's long history of terrorism on July 23 at the anti-Israel Jerusalem Fund think tank in Washington, DC. He and others on a panel titled "Gaza in Context: Broader Implications in the Palestinian Plight" claimed that the Islamic supremacism of Hamas and, increasingly, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is mere nationalism before an audience of forty.

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

By Winfield Myers  |  August 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm  |  Permalink

Rutgers Prof Deepa Kumar Criticized for ISIS Tweet; Complains of 'Death Threats'

Deepa Kumar

Another Middle East studies academic is in the news for exposing her radical views to the public via social media. Deepa Kumar, an associate professor in media and Middle Eastern studies at Rutgers University, has been roundly criticized for tweeting in March, "Yes ISIS is brutal, but US is more so, 1.3 million killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan." (For a detailed analysis of this oft-repeated, inflated death toll, click here.)

Following Breitbart contributor and Marine Corps University Chair of Military Theory Sebastian Gorka's appearance this week on Fox and Friends to discuss Kumar's tweet, the professor claimed to have received "hate mail" and "death threats," which, if true, is lamentable, but merely means she's experiencing the reality of being in the public eye. Moreover, given the proclivity of Middle East studies academics for making false death threat claims, one should be skeptical about her story. Charlotte Allen, writing for the Independent Women's Forum, adds some perspective by suggesting that, "about those death threats, she ought to ask . . . Pamela Geller. (Speaking of Kumar's pals at ISIS.)."

Faced with the horror of outside criticism, Kumar complained to Inside Higher Ed that her work was "taken out of context" and "distorted" as part of an organized campaign to "silence and intimidate faculty who have dissenting opinions on the U.S. government and policies in the Middle East." Given that Kumar bragged that she and other leftist activists "won" when Condoleezza Rice withdrew from a planned 2014 commencement address at Rutgers, her attempt to don the mantle of victim is as farcical as her protestations.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  July 31, 2015 at 7:01 pm  |  Permalink

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