The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), joined by several other disciplinary organizations, has finally issued a letter condemning the actions against Turkish academics, days after the purges began. But while MESA et al. condemn the persecutions, they never mention Turkish president Erdogan by name, nor do they note (much less condemn) the reason behind the purges: to pave the way for the Islamization of all of Turkish society, long a goal of Erdogan and his AKP colleagues and followers. MESA and its co-signers willfully ignore these inconvenient facts lest they disavow their decades-long romance with anti-Western "moderate Islamists." One supposes they're still searching for a motive.
By Winfield Myers | July 21, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
Middle East studies professors regularly accuse CW and other organizations of "McCarthyism," an ahistorical, intellectually lazy charge intended to silence critics. Yet days into an ongoing purge of Turkish academics, including 1,500+ deans and four university rectors, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) has yet to condemn the latest moves by Turkish president Erdogan, whose "moderate Islamism" US profs have long championed as a path to democracy. Will genuine (not imagined) "loyalty oaths" for Turkish academics finally grab MESA's attention?
By Winfield Myers | July 21, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink
Anthropologists who study the Middle East were once inspired by "a scientific spirit to discover the cultures of the region and their dynamics" argues Philip Carl Salzman in the latest Campus Watch Research. Yet contemporary anthropology has been infected by "postcolonial discourse," which has injected "a dangerous, self-contradictory nihilism that rejects the possibility of objective Truth toward which we may move." Salzman's critique of a discipline he has long called home appears at the Daily Caller:
In the decades after WWII, anthropologists carried out ethnographic field research in the Middle East inspired by a scientific spirit to discover the cultures of the region and their dynamics. Among those who produced sound, grounded research were Fredrik Barth on the Basseri nomads, William Irons on the Yomut Turkmen, Lois Beck on the Qashqa'i confederation, William Lancaster on the Rwala Bedouin, and A. S. Bujra on Yemen. I had the privilege of carrying out field research among the Baluchi tribes of Iran.
However, anthropologists, including those studying the Middle East, gradually moved away from a scientific perspective toward a more subjective and politicized view. They were influenced in part by Edward Said, who in Orientalism (1978) argued that Western accounts of the Middle East were fabrications invented to justify imperialist invasion, colonial imposition, and oppression of local peoples. This "postcolonial" view blames Western imperialism for myriad problems worldwide, a view which neglects the cultures and agency of people around the globe.
To read the rest of this essay, please click here.
By Winfield Myers | July 20, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
Turkish president Erdogan's post-coup purges--including almost 1,600 university deans and 24,000 teachers--are putting American profs of Middle East studies in a bind. For years they've praised Erdogan precisely for his Islamist credentials. What will they say now that he's clearly bent on destroying the last remnants of Kemalism and, with it, Turkish civil society? Will they turn a blind eye to mass executions and the formation of an Islamist dictatorship? Academics are now barred from leaving Turkey; will the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) object?
By Winfield Myers | July 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
Following Omar Mateen's massacre of forty-nine people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, professors of Middle East studies reacted predictably by blaming guns, American homophobia, Christians, Deep South bigotry – anything but Islamic terrorism. Never mind that Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, depicted himself as an Islamic soldier during the attack, had taken two trips to Saudi Arabia, and was interviewed three times by the FBI in connection with terrorism. In the latest Campus Watch research, appearing today at American Thinker, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell reports on academia's willful blindness and outright mendacity:
Immediately after the attack, University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole announced, "I don't think it probably was terrorism in any useful sense of the term." His reasoning? Mateen didn't "make demands about U.S. government policy," and hitting soft targets is "not a form of classical strategic terrorism." The victims of terrorist attacks – many issued without demands – on cafés, malls, restaurants, resorts, schools, social services, and countless other soft targets would beg to differ.
. . . Meanwhile, Omid Safi, director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center, decried "[t]he sickness, the homophobia, the violence, and the ease of access to war-grade guns that brought about this vile terrorist attack," predicting that "the solution" will come about only when Americans "confront this xenophobia and violence in our own society."
To read the entire article, please click here.
By Winfield Myers | July 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
In an article appearing today at Independent Journal Review, Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell outlines CW's investigation into San Francisco State University (SFSU)'s memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Palestinian University, An-Najah, notorious for terrorist indoctrination and recruitment. Tellingly, SFSU's administration only indirectly corroborates the MOU and SFSU President Leslie Wong refuses to answer CW's repeated inquiries about its contents. In response to Wong's stonewalling, CW announces its plans to ensure that SFSU comes clean about the details and implications of its partnership with Najah:
San Francisco State University (SFSU), which has a well-deserved reputation as a breeding ground for anti-Israel radicalism, became national news in April. That's when campus police stood by as a hate-Israel group, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), shouted down and disrupted a lecture by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, prompting much criticism of SFSU's president, Leslie Wong.
But there's worse. As revealed by an investigation into SFSU by Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, SFSU has partnered with a Palestinian university that's a hotbed of radicalization.
To read the entire article, please click here.
By Winfield Myers | July 1, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink
Having lost a June 6 vote by members to enact a boycott of Israeli institutions by 2,423 against and 2,384 in favor, the leadership of the American Anthropological Assoc. has kept its promise to issue a statement of censure against the Israeli government. Perhaps its time for the AAA's members to enact in their own Brexit and leave this corrupt, increasingly marginalized organization in order to form a new, more perfect union.
By Winfield Myers | June 27, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink
Campus Watch announces a new resource for its readers: Professors to Avoid. CW is often asked which professors are most responsible for the politicization and bias sadly endemic to Middle East studies. Given the discipline's decline, compiling an inclusive list would be futile. Hundreds of names could be credibly included, but even such a list would surely omit some while failing to highlight those most responsible for the field's general decline into a mockery of academe's purpose and aspirations.
In this spirit, we have selected those professors whose biases, ahistorical claims, apologetics, willful blindness, intolerance of opposing views, and mixing of politics and scholarship mark them as the most egregious offenders of the high standards to which faculty should be held. The permanent link is under the "Resources" tab on the CW homepage.
By Winfield Myers | June 23, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink
A statement issued on "behalf of the American Muslim community" condemning Omar Siddiqui Mateen's terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and disassociating Islam from such "hate-fueled violence" has been signed by several academics who were involved in the recent funeral service for Muhammad Ali.
As Campus Watch noted at the time, one of them, University of Southern California professor Sherman Jackson is on record advocating the implementation of Sharia (Islamic) law in America. Others, including former Georgetown U. adjunct Dalia Mogahed and Zaytuna College (an Islamic school in Berkeley, CA) founders Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, and Hatem Bazian (of UC Berkeley), have acted as apologists for Sharia and Islamic terrorism, while advocating an anti-Western, anti-Israel agenda that employs charges of "Islamophobia" to silence legitimate criticism. The primary organizations constituting the Islamist lobby in the U.S. (CAIR, ISNA, MAS, etc.) also endorsed the statement.
As with the 2014 open letter drafted by Islamic scholars that denounced ISIS while remaining ambiguous on crucial theological points, we have to ask, can such a statement be considered sincere if its signatories are Islamists?
By Cinnamon Stillwell | June 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink
Kaukab Siddique, an English prof at Lincoln U. of Pennsylvania who has cited Holocaust denying historians approvingly, responded to a comment on his FB page today with:
Homos are the most important people in America. Obama just spoke. Have you ever heard him talk of the 1200 children killed in Gaza by the Jews?
By Winfield Myers | June 12, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink