[Editor's note: the following letter to the editor of The Hoya, the student newspaper of Georgetown University, was not published by the paper and so is reproduced here.]
In "13 Professors Boycott Israeli Universities," September 13, Katherine Richardson writes that "Georgetown has become the most-represented university involved in the American Studies Association's boycott of Israeli academic institutions since the petition's creation last month."
In fact, the ASA's boycott was launched last December. The boycott to which Ms. Richardson refers is unrelated, represents "scholars and librarians working on the Middle East," and was launched in August. There is no linkage between the two groups.
An important issue unaddressed by the article is whether two directors of federal Title VI-funded Georgetown centers who signed the pledge speak for themselves or for the centers they lead. Under Title VI of the Higher Education Act, recipients must give "assurances" to "maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education"—an assurance threatened by a pledge to boycott Israeli universities and academics.
The letter relies upon the notoriously biased United Nations for its obviously inflated figures. Worse, it makes no mention whatsoever of Hamas's rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, or its kidnapping and murder of Israeli citizens, both of which precipated Israel's military action. Also conveniently omitted is Hamas's calculated use of human shields and UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) facilities.
MESA has a long history of issuing one-sided letters accusing Israel of supposed restrictions on academic freedom, as these from 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, and 2001 demonstrate.
But rest assured, writes MESA president and George Washington University professor Nathan J. Brown, MESA's role is merely "to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa."
Ali Mazrui, who directed the Institute for Global Cultural Studies at SUNY Binghamton, has died at 81. Although the BBC is calling him a "towering intellectual figure," at a 2010 Columbia U. conference he said that Jews had "a certain kind of impurity" that led them to be "like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," but now they have "landed with Mr. Hyde's evil identity." And that "even U.S. presidents are scared [of them]."
Intellectually eviscerated and utterly discredited would be better, but at least he sees these authors as problems.
But will he apply these criticisms to himself and rein in his own extremism, as illustrated in the following examples? In 2007, Khan refused to serve on a student-organized panel on "Anti-Americanism in the Middle East" with a veteran of the Israeli Defense Force who had served in the West Bank because, he wrote:
Over 120 Muslim leaders and scholars, including UC Berkeley's Hatem Bazian, Hamza Yusuf of Zaytuna College, and Brandeis University's Joseph E.B. Lumbard, have signed an open letter to the Islamic State (ISIS) disputing the theological basis for ISIS's heinous actions. Yet Ayman S. Ibrahim, a PhD candidate in Islamic studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, points out at First Things that "the statement is ambiguous in crucial areas, which not only weaken its argument, but also question whether it is truly a rigorous and valid refutation of ISIS's deeds and claims."
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) was spurred to ask Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to prevent biased Middle East studies programs from misusing Title VI funds by the Joint Statement of ten organizations, including the Middle East Forum, issued September 17, 2014.
Some Jewish studies profs have condemned the AMCHA Initiative's exposure of biased scholarship and teaching in Middle East studies. They assert this curtails their academic freedom and has a "chilling effect." Such tiresome, hackneyed apologias for an intellectually corrupt status quo. Only the professoriate demands exclusion from public criticism.
Four 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:
As CW revealed earlier this week, 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."
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:
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:
To read the entire article, please click here.
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