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Steven Salaita Brings His War on Civility (and His Pity Party) to Stanford

Steven Salaita

The notion that words such as "civility" and "divisive" have clear definitions is under attack by academic moral relativists who grant themselves the right to twist words to mean whatever aids their quest for power. In the latest Campus Watch research, Cinnamon Stillwell and Rima Greene report on a recent Stanford University lecture---co-sponsored by the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies and titled "Academic Freedom in the Context of the Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Talk by Steven Salaita"---that illustrated the point. Their article appears today at Jihad Watch:

The mostly professorial crowd of about sixty, including several sporting keffiyehs, crowded around a long table and spilled into the hallway. . . . Salaita—the former Virginia Tech professor and author of Israel's Dead Soul currently suing both the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and unnamed donors after his offer of a tenured professorship in American Indian studies was withdrawn due to his vitriolic, Israel-bashing, anti-Semitic tweets—delivered another in a series of nationwide lectures in which he portrayed himself as a martyr, valiantly battling the forces of "civility."

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  March 27, 2015 at 1:23 pm  |  Permalink

Georgetown's Elliott Colla Blames the West for ISIS' Desecration of History

ISIS smashes Assyrian statues in Mosul, Iraq.

Elliott Colla of Georgetown, like many other professors of Middle East studies, downplays the role of radical Islam in ISIS' attacks on antiquities and even compares this barbaric vandalism to the toppling of the year-old statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in '03. Writing at American Thinker, Middle East Forum director of academic affairs and director, Campus Watch, Winfield Myers dissects Colla's absurd attempt to "contextualize" ISIS by shifting blame to the legacy of Western archaeology and the museums that hold its treasures:

Elliott Colla, associate professor of Arabic studies at Georgetown University, has joined the herd of Middle East studies professors who insist that Islam has nothing to do with widespread destruction of antiquities by the Islamic State (ISIS). Rather than appealing to Islamic texts or traditions to defend Islam, however, Colla deploys a two-fold strategy of feigning ignorance about ISIS and contextualizing their horrific acts within the intellectual and material legacy of Western colonial archaeology. As a result, in whitewashing Islamism Colla degrades the worth of ancient civilizations and their artifacts while training his moral outrage on Western colonialism, particularly the archaeological digs it sponsored and the museums these enterprises filled.

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

By Winfield Myers  |  March 25, 2015 at 11:15 am  |  Permalink

Norman Finkelstein As Repugnant As Ever

Norman Finkelstein

In case there was any doubt that Norman Finkelstein--the former DePaul University professor currently teaching international law at Sakarya University in Turkey--despite occasionally making sense these days, is as repugnant as ever, these excerpts from a recent lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison should put them to rest:

Despite being a Jewish son of two Holocaust survivors, he posed the question of whether the world is actually facing a "new anti-Semitism" in 2015. Finkelstein said instead it may be the fourth ploy by Jews since the 1980s to "deflect global condemnation of Israel."

He argued that because only 2 percent of the population is Jewish yet both Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania are 40 percent Jewish, they have become beneficiaries of reverse discrimination.

"There is an advantage to being Jewish in the United States, it's not a liability anymore . . . it opens many doors and closes none," Finkelstein said.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  March 19, 2015 at 2:14 pm  |  Permalink

Islamic Apologist Reza Aslan to Host CNN Show

Reza Aslan

Reza Aslan, the religion writer who claimed that his academic credentials include a Ph.D. in the history of religions (his Ph.D. is in sociology, not history; he teaches creative writing) and two decades' study of Christianity, will have his own show on CNN, the network that invented cable news but which has lately seen its ratings plummet.

Aslan rose to fame on his 2013 book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, about which the genuine religious scholar Allan Nadler wrote in the Jewish Review of Books:

Aslan's entire book is, as it turns out, an ambitious and single-minded polemical counter-narrative to what he imagines is the New Testament's portrayal of Jesus Christ.

And

Whichever [New Testament] verses fit the central argument of his book, he accepts as historically valid. Everything else is summarily dismissed as apologetic theological rubbish of absolutely no historical worth.

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By Winfield Myers  |  March 17, 2015 at 3:44 pm  |  Permalink

Berkeley's Bazian on Paris Attacks: It's the Islamophobia, Stupid!

Hatem Bazian

Only in academe can a panel discussion on Islamic terrorism turn into an exercise in obfuscation and denial. Titled "Shooting Rampage in Paris: Free Speech, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Religion, Islamophobia," the recent University of California, Berkeley panel—which promised to "start a dialog" on the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks in Paris—featured six professors from a variety of UC Berkeley departments. This mixture produced an array of contrasting views, yet neither of the two Middle East studies specialists involved—anthropology professor Saba Mahmood and Near Eastern studies lecturer Hatem Bazian—addressed the topic in a forthright manner, but deflected controversial issues and issued apologias for terrorism.

In the latest Campus Watch research, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell and contributor Rima Greene report on the panel; their article appears today at Jihad Watch:

As befitting his role as director of UC Berkeley's Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP), Hatem Bazian devoted the bulk of his talk not to Islamic terrorism, but to the mythical scourge of "Islamophobia." . . . Claiming that the "Broader Muslim community in Europe feels like it's under siege," Bazian lamented that, "Their inclusion and integration is predicated on their accepting to be insulted to be part of civil society," as if being held to the same standards as others constitutes inequity. He claimed to have documented a wave of "violence across the continent directed at Muslims," yet, artfully dodging the need for evidence, complained that because "they don't get reported . . . these cases do not get the attention required."

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  March 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm  |  Permalink

Saudi Donations Tainted for Clinton Foundation, Tainted for Middle East Studies

Alwaleed Center for Muslim Christian Understanding

Some are upset that the Clinton Foundation accepted donations from Middle Eastern countries with terrible records on women's rights. In "Hillary Clinton Faces Test of Record as Women's Advocate," the New York Times writes:

Saudi Arabia has been a particularly generous benefactor to the Clinton Foundation, giving at least $10 million since 2001, according to foundation disclosures. At least $1 million more was donated by Friends of Saudi Arabia, co-founded by a Saudi Prince.

Will we see similar concern over the far greater amounts ($25 million each) donated by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to fund Middle East studies centers at Georgetown and Harvard, or the $25 million King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U. of Arkansas, or millions more donated by Gulf countries over the past several decades? If such money is tainted when it flows into the Clinton's coffers, surely there's no reason to assume it's pure when it funds Middle East studies at American universities. In both cases, their wealth is buying influence and access.

By Winfield Myers  |  March 9, 2015 at 7:32 pm  |  Permalink

The Many Faces of Norman Finkelstein

Norman Finkelstein

In an interview with Middle East Eye, controversial former DePaul University professor Norman Finkelstein--now teaching international law at Sakarya University in Turkey--described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "an obnoxious, Jewish-supremacist leader"; Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas as "an imbecile"; Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah as "among the shrewdest political thinkers in the world today"; Hamas's "notion of a successful armed resistance" in Gaza as "a complete disaster"; the BDS movement (which, in 2012, he called a "cult") as "tireless, resourceful, and well organised"; and Iran as "an important regional partner" for the U.S.

One thing's for sure: Finkelstein, who has managed to alienate both the pro- and anti-Israel camps throughout his strange career, covers all his bases.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  March 6, 2015 at 5:08 pm  |  Permalink

ISIS vs. the Professors: Who's the Radical?

Yasir Qadhi & Hamza Yusuf (middle)

ISIS has targeted two Middle East studies academics, Yasir Qadhi of Rhodes College (Memphis, Tennessee) and Hamza Yusuf of Zaytuna College (Berkeley, California), for condemning the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The problem is, although both have denounced ISIS, they're also apologists for radical Islam.

In his Facebook statement on the ISIS threats, Qadhi took pains to remind readers that, "the root cause of all violence from Muslim groups is the political grievances caused by American foreign policy." Meanwhile, Yusuf, an advocate of Sharia law, explained last year that American Muslims are joining ISIS because "they're fed up with seeing Palestinians massacred, Muslims massacred. . . . They talk about the Christians in Iraq. What about all the Muslims?"

ISIS's threats allow Qadhi and Yusuf to portray themselves as moderates under assault by radicals, when nothing could be further from the truth.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  March 6, 2015 at 1:10 pm  |  Permalink

NYU Prof Zachary Lockman Admits MESA's Anti-Israel Stance, Rails Against 'Israel Lobby'

Zachary Lockman

In reporting on a lecture by NYU prof Zachary Lockman, Campus Watch contributor Mara Schiffren asks, "How does a detail-oriented lecture on research methodology and academic field building in Middle Eastern Studies (MES) descend into a one-sided and unprovoked salvo against Israel?" For Lockman, it involves the so-called "Israel lobby," which (according to conspiracy mongers) influences not only U.S. policy toward the Middle East, but has circulated "blacklists of scholars" critical of Israel. Schiffren continues:

Last month, Zachary Lockman, a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University (NYU), provided the answer with a talk entitled, "Anxieties of Field-Building in U.S. Middle East Studies." It was the first in a new series at NYU meant to introduce students to faculty members' methodological approaches; however, Lockman used the occasion of the question and answer period to peddle "Israel Lobby" conspiracy theories that bordered on classical anti-Semitism.

You may read Schiffren's article at Jihad Watch or by clicking here.

By Winfield Myers  |  March 4, 2015 at 11:34 am  |  Permalink

Columbia Tops List of Colleges With 'Worst anti-Semitic Activity'

Columbia University's Joseph Massad

Columbia University has the dubious distinction of ranking number one on the David Horowitz Freedom Center list--part of its "Jew Hatred on Campus" campaign--of the ten U.S. campuses with the worst anti-Semitic activity in 2014. Israel-bashing Middle East studies professors Rashid Khalidi and Joseph Massad figure prominently in that decision, as does the fact that former Virginia Tech professor, and anti-Semitic tweeter par excellence, Steven Salaita was invited to speak on campus. As noted by the Algemeiner:

According to the Center, Columbia University is listed first because it is home to the "most well-known antisemitic professors in the nation such as Rashid Khalidi and Joseph Massad, who has been accused of harassing Jewish students on multiple occasions. In addition, it is home to a highly active SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine] chapter that has recently brought BDS founder Omar Barghouti and disgraced antisemitic professor Steven Salaita to campus."

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  February 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm  |  Permalink

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