The "Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine" divestment petition, which, we noted earlier this week, was signed by history professor Joel Beinin, among other Middle East studies academics, is ruffling feathers in the faculty lounge. Jewish studies professor Steven Zipperstein wrote a letter to the Stanford Daily objecting to divestment, despite being, as he put it, "implacably opposed to Israel's occupation of the West Bank." Beinin responded with his own letter to the editor, noting that, "our views on this are not far apart," but reiterating his support for divestment and challenging Zipperstein and "those who oppose the occupation and oppose divestment . . . to propose what they believe would be a more efficacious strategy."
Get out the popcorn; this could get interesting.
By Cinnamon Stillwell | January 30, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine, a coalition of student groups and individuals, has addressed a petition to the Stanford Board of Trustees urging divestment from "corporations [that are] complicit in the infrastructure of occupation, collective punishment, state-sponsored repression, and unjust incarceration in Palestine."
Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History, is featured prominently at number four in the "faculty/staff" section of the signatories list, followed closely by Robert Crews, director of the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, and Khalil Barhoum, program coordinator for the African and Middle Eastern Language Program. Apparently, anti-Israel activism is what passes for Middle East studies "scholarship" at Stanford University these days.
By Cinnamon Stillwell | January 28, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
How did Middle East studies professors react to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris? Instead of offering rigorous condemnation, moral outrage, and an unbridled defense of free speech, they engaged in obfuscation, moral relativism, apologetics, and anti-Western bigotry. In an article that appears today at Frontpage Magazine, Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell reports on academia's "Je Suis NOT Charlie!" declaration:
'I Am Not Charlie' Sign
Middle East studies professors responded to the attacks by Islamic terrorists in Paris earlier this month not with rigorous, informed analysis or even unadultered sympathy for those gunned down in the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a kosher market. Their reaction was instead precisely what one has come to expect from academics more concerned with shielding Islam from blame and shifting responsibility for its adherents' actions to the West than with the disinterested pursuit of truth.
. . . University of California, Riverside creative writing professor Reza Aslan claimed that an "anti-Muslim backlash" had created "tension among the Muslim population in Europe and non-Muslim population," leading "a lot of young Muslims" to "feel angry, perhaps, threatened, enough to actually take up violence."
. . . Oxford University Islamic studies professor Tariq Ramadan . . . accused Charlie Hebdo's editors of "target[ing] Muslims" for the purpose of "making money," adding, "It has nothing to do with courage."
To read the entire article, please click here.
By Cinnamon Stillwell | January 26, 2015 at 2:45 am | Permalink
In the wake of this month's Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, to his credit, has declared that:
I refuse to use this term "Islamophobia," because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology. The charge of "Islamophobia" is used to silence people.
Valls will have to contend with the legion of Middle East studies academics employing this very strategy, particularly Hatem Bazian, director of UC Berkeley's Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP), who, when asked by ABC News to comment on the Charlie Hebdo massacre, conveniently noted that he had been in Paris recently for an "Islamophobia conference." Indeed, Bazian and IRDP are at the forefront of the attempt to create an international field of "Islamphobia studies." It's a good bet Valls won't be on the roster of invited speakers.
By Cinnamon Stillwell | January 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
Native Canadian Ryan Mervin Bellerose, who has become known for debunking the academically popular Palestinian/Native-American comparison by writing about the commonalities between Jews and Native-Americans, reports on two University of Alberta lectures from former Virginia Tech professor Steven Salaita. Last year, Salaita's offered position in the American Indian studies program at the University of Illinois was rescinded because of his vicious anti-Israel, anti-Semitic tweets. Bellerose handily dismisses any claims to expertise Salaita may have harbored on the subject to which he aspired, as well as reporting on his more ridiculous utterances:
He claimed Edmonton was Metis land, and it is not – it is Cree land actually. He claimed he was a displaced Palestinian, but his father is from Jordan and his mothers family is from Beit Jallah, which is in a Palestinian Authority controlled area, so it's not like he cannot go back and live on his "ancestral lands.". . . . At his second talk, I sat quietly while he told several lies, one of which was that, "I never raises my voice. I have a 2-year old son and sometimes he makes me cry because I can't yell at him. I'm just not a confrontational person."
By Cinnamon Stillwell | January 19, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, has tweeted a link to anonymous blogger Zombie's indispensable, "Mohammed Image Archive," a compendium of historic and current depictions of Islam's prophet. Landis's effort to break through the fog of ignorance, fear, and political-correctness is commendable; one wonders if his colleagues in the increasingly apologetic field of Middle East studies would agree.
By Cinnamon Stillwell | January 14, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink
Fresh on the heels of the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 17 people, American Muslim leaders will gather in Texas this weekend for the annual "Stand With the Prophet in Honor and Respect" conference, which, according to the website, blames "Islamophobes in America" for turning Islam's prophet Muhammad "into an object of hate" and promises to build "a movement" to develop "effective responses to anti-Islamic attacks." And who will be delivering the keynote speech? None other than John Esposito, founding director of the Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and radical Islam apologist par excellence. As Martin Kramer, president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, put it:
John Esposito favors "incitement to hatred" legislation, under the rubric of religious freedom that would effectively trump freedom of expression. . . . Rallies such as the one Esposito will address have one purpose: granting Islam a protected status, and denying that protection to its critics.
By Cinnamon Stillwell | January 13, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
The disturbing relationship between the field of Middle East studies and the Muslim Brotherhood front group, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), continues to flourish. In the latest Campus Watch research, Andrew Harrod covers an IIIT panel discussion on Islamic sectarianism featuring Abdulaziz Sachedina, the International Institute of Islamic Thought Chair in Islamic Studies at George Mason University. His report appears today at Jihad Watch:
"I am simply a Muslim . . . one who submits to God," neither Sunni nor Shiite, stated Abdulaziz Sachedina, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) Chair in Islamic Studies at George Mason University, at a recent IIIT panel. Nonetheless, "The Need for Intra-Muslim Dialogue," which took place before about thirty-five in the conference room of IIIT headquarters in Virginia following evening Muslim prayer, indicated why Islamic ecumenism remains largely a pious hope.
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB)-linked IIIT is a promoter of the MB's propagandistic "Islamization of knowledge" movement and the widely-used "Islamophobia" canard, with disturbingly deep connections to the field of Middle East studies. . . . Amidst such dubious characters appeared IIIT research director Ermin Sinanović. With no evident official concern, Sinanović teaches Middle Eastern politics to America's future warriors as an assistant professor of political science at the United States Naval Academy.
To read the entire article, please click here.
By Cinnamon Stillwell | January 8, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
Calls for "interfaith dialogue" between Islam and Christianity are well and good, but, all too often, the results are lopsided, dishonest, and calculated. In the latest Campus Watch research, Andrew Harrod reports on a conference at Georgetown University at which panelists John Esposito, Robert P. George, and Hamza Yusuf exhibited this sort of naiveté and obfuscation. His article appears today at Jihad Watch:
Hamza Yusuf and Robert P. George
Princeton University professor Robert P. George lauded Imam Hamza Yusuf, the radical president of Berkeley, California's Zaytuna College, as "my beloved friend, my brother" at a recent Georgetown University day-long conference. George, a Catholic conservative luminary, was disturbingly uncritical of the Islamic apologetics that suffused the "keynote conversation" for "Muslim Minorities and Religious Freedom: A Public Dialogue."
Before an audience of about 120 in the Rafik Hariri Building's Fisher Colloquium, George emphasized ecumenical cooperation among Jews, Christians, and Muslims, notwithstanding the latter's assaults worldwide on non-Muslims. . . . Catholic school alumnus and founding director of Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, John Esposito, complemented George and Yusuf's claims with his customary apologetics.
To read the entire article, please click here.
By Cinnamon Stillwell | January 2, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
In an op-ed in the Jewish Journal of Greater L.A., AMCHA Initiative co-founders Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and Leila Beckwith address the noncompliance of UCLA's Center for Near East Studies with the requirements of Title VI funding, particularly in the wake of the campaign (which includes the Middle East Forum) to hold Middle East studies programs accountable for federal funding. As they put it:
What is startling is the brazen and public refusal by the CNES directors to abide by the requirement of the Title VI statute. In response to critics, including AMCHA Initiative, an official CNES statement recently released said that "those responsible for programming at CNES saw no reason to 'balance' the criticism (of Israel)…no reason to bring in speakers who would defend it." In other words, Slyomovics, Hale and Piterberg did not just fail to live up to the "diverse perspectives" requirement of the federal grant which CNES asked for and received, but they never intended to honor it.
By Cinnamon Stillwell | December 31, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink