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Essay Mischaracterized Mission of Campus Watch

[The following appeared as a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education on March 27, 2017.]

To the Editor:

Brian Leiter, in "Academic Ethics: Defending Faculty Speech" (The Chronicle, March 22), smears Campus Watch and mischaracterizes its mission.

Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, critiques Middle East studies by holding professors accountable for their work. It does not "police faculty speech"; how could it when it lacks any and all police power? It does not "inflame public opinion and incite harassment" of academics but engages in careful, multiple fact-checked analyses. Nor need it hide behind the law's "wide latitude to malicious speech," because it offers facts. Finally, it does not partake in "orchestrated" onslaughts against professors but engages in its own research according to its unique priorities.

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By Winfield Myers  |  March 27, 2017 at 3:51 pm  |  Permalink

This Week at Campus Watch

To keep you up to date on what's happening at Campus Watch (CW), we're introducing "This Week at Campus Watch," a compilation of weekly postings at the CW website that we'll send to CW subscribers each week. The postings are categorized by subject and include both in-house and external material: Campus Watch Research (original CW articles and research); Campus Watch Blog (original blog posts); Middle East studies in the News (external articles on current developments in Middle East studies); Moonlighting: Non-Specialists in the News (external articles by non-specialists); and Setting The Record Straight (CW corrects false allegations made against it). Stay updated on CW's efforts to replace the bias and politicization that has overtaken the field of Middle East studies with scholarship and accountability. Follow Campus Watch on Facebook and Twitter.

Campus Watch reports the following from March 14-20, 2017:

Campus Watch Research

Mara Schiffren at The Daily Caller, "Noura Erakat Preaches Intersectionality at NYU":

Campus Watch Blog

Winfield Myers highlights Mara Schiffren's article on George Mason University professor Noura Erakat:

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By Campus Watch  |  March 23, 2017 at 6:43 pm  |  Permalink

Noura Erakat Preaches Intersectionality at NYU

"Intersectionality" is among the hottest buzzwords in academe, and like most other chic terms, it substitutes pretention for content. Ostensibly signifying the connections between oppressed groups, in practice it's used as a weapon for professional (fake) victims to silence anyone who deigns to thwart their will to power. Writing at the Daily Caller, Campus Watch contributor Mara Schiffren details a recent NYU lecture by rabid anti-Israel activist Noura Erakat of George Mason University:

Israel-bashing in the name of "intersectional solidarity" is now a feature of Black History Month, according to New York University's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. In late February, it co-sponsored a panel discussion, "When I See Them, I See Us: Black Palestinian Solidarity," with the NYU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

Over one hundred people filled the Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts, while a few stragglers sat on benches off to the side unable to fully view the panel. Based on "intersectionality," the latest fad in academic theories, the panel promoted an alliance between black and Palestinian "social justice" activists.

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

By Winfield Myers  |  March 15, 2017 at 11:01 am  |  Permalink

Georgetown's Tamara Sonn Declares the West the Enemy of Islam

Tamara Sonn

Andrew Harrod reports on a lecture from Georgetown University professor Tamara Sonn that began with her asking, "Is Islam an enemy of the West? It does seem like such a ridiculous question, doesn't it?" and went downhill from there. His Campus Watch-sponsored article appears at Jihad Watch:

"Is Islam an enemy of the West? It does seem like such a ridiculous question, doesn't it?" asked Georgetown University professor Tamara Sonn on February 22 at its Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). What seemed manifestly obvious to this Qatar-funded Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in the History of Islam at the ACMCU presentation of her new, eponymously-titled book, is not clear at all to skeptical observers. Thus, her work resembles that of many of her Middle East studies colleagues, who long ago replaced rigorous scholarship of Islam with a fawning approach that blames the West for the region's systemic problems.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  March 4, 2017 at 1:59 pm  |  Permalink

Sixty-three California Scholars Falsely Charge Campus Watch with Making Violent Threats

Sondra Hale

Sondra Hale of UCLA and Lisa Rofel of UC-Santa Cruz have penned a mendacious screed signed by 61 other "scholars" (see the full text and list of signers here) in which they make outrageous, slanderous charges against Campus Watch along with numerous factual errors.

Writing at the website of "California Scholars for Academic Freedom," Hale, Rofel, and their colleagues accuse CW of slandering and threatening violence against those with whom it disagrees:

A recently formed "Professor Watchlist" purports to alert students about professors they claim "advance a radical agenda in lecture halls." This watchlist echoes Horowitz's project, Campus Watch. The latter lists both faculty and students, threatening the latter with slanderous public information for use by prospective employers and the former with threats of violence. The Professor Watchlist names numerous professors from California institutions of higher learning. In response to the Professor Watchlist, faculty from throughout California, at public and private universities, have followed the lead of faculty at the University of Notre Dame, in sending the Professor Watchlist our names to be added to their list. We refuse to be intimidated by such harassment tactics.

CW challenges the authors and signers of this letter to prove that it has ever threatened anyone in any way, with either "violence" or "slanderous public information." It is a lie. We have never issued any kind of threat or slander against any person.

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By Winfield Myers  |  March 3, 2017 at 5:46 pm  |  Permalink

Campus Watch and Islamism: A Guide for the Perpetually Perplexed Elyse Semerdjian

Elyse Semerdjian

Elyse Semerdjian is panic-stricken—and deeply confused—about her profession and, it seems, reality itself. In arguing in Jadaliyya that the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) should amend its bylaws to remove its claim to be "non-political," the associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic history at Whitman College falsely accuses Campus Watch [CW] of

smearing academics on the internet for being critical of the US War on Terror, critical of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or doing their job by offering a scholarly view of Islam within an environment of vitriol and willful ignorance.

If scholars of her ilk bothered to offer a "scholarly view of Islam," CW wouldn't exist. Our future is assured, however, thanks to Semerdjian and her colleagues nationwide, whose displays of vitriol and willful ignorance over the decades have left Middle East studies in ruins.

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By Winfield Myers  |  February 22, 2017 at 6:04 pm  |  Permalink

Turmp Upsets the Academic Foreign Policy Establishment

Nathan Brown

Why are leaders of the Middle East studies/foreign policy establishment upset over the new administration's rhetoric and actions regarding policy toward the Middle East? Andrew Harrod, who writes frequently for Campus Watch, reports at Jihad Watch on a recent talk by former MESA president and George Washington U. professor Nathan Brown and U. of Maryland professor ShibleyTelhami at the anti-Israel Jerusalem Fund.

"Previous administrations, Republican and Democrat, very sharply resisted" the Middle East foreign policy outlook of America's new president, Donald Trump. So argued George Washington University Middle East studies professor Nathan Brown during the February 7 presentation "Trump's Foreign Policy Positions on Palestine and the Middle East" at Washington, DC's anti-Israel Jerusalem Fund. The hackneyed views of the panelists and, presumably, the largely leftist audience of about fifty, including two women in Code Pink attire and "pussy hats," strengthened the case for Trump's anti-establishment approach.

Brown skeptically referenced Trump's "conviction that the United States is in a civilizational battle." Trump considers the "necessity to eliminate radical Islamic terrorism" a "very, very core theme," thereby raising a "suspicion on some people's parts that 'radical Islamic terrorism' is really a synonym for Islam." As an example, Brown cited Trump's references to global Muslim support for executing apostates, a factual observation of Islam's political pathologies.

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

By Winfield Myers  |  February 20, 2017 at 10:25 am  |  Permalink

CW Contributor Kicked Out of Georgetown Prof Jonathan Brown's Lecture

Andrew Harrod, a Campus Watch contributor reporting, in this case, for Jihad Watch, was kicked out of an International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) lecture from thin-skinned Georgetown University professor Jonathan Brown, who whined, "Aren't you tired of writing your stupid articles?"

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  February 10, 2017 at 5:52 pm  |  Permalink

U. of Chicago's Robert Pape's Faulty Argument Against Trump's Exec. Order

University of Chicago professor and lead author of a new report on ISIS argues that Trump's immigration executive order doesn't address the homegrown threat and fuels anti-U.S. propaganda. The very existence of the U.S. fuels ISIS propaganda, while Pape is downplaying the threat posed by foreign-born terrorists.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  February 8, 2017 at 4:48 pm  |  Permalink

Yale Professor Andrew March: Legal Protections for Advocates of Terror

Andrew March

Yale political scientist Andrew March has a long history as an apologist of Islamism, so it's no surprise that he would oppose efforts to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a Foreign Terrorist Organiztion. Writing for Campus Watch at the Daily Caller, Mitchell Bard exposes the danger behind March's efforts:

In a novel approach to defending terrorists, Yale University political professor Andrew March argues that the U.S. should not designate the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a terrorist organization because it could subject researchers to prosecution for providing material support for a terrorist organization. In March's bizarre logic, terrorists should not be labeled as such to avoid the possibility that a scholar might be falsely charged with helping them.

Journalists and scholars have routinely interviewed terrorists without any legal repercussions; March has nothing to worry about if his interests are strictly academic. He fears that "any NGO, think tank or charity organization with any link to the broad Islamist movement" will be deemed illegal. Yet that is how it should be: because Islamists, by definition, are violent radicals, support for them would indeed be providing material support for terrorists.

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

By Winfield Myers  |  February 8, 2017 at 11:05 am  |  Permalink

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