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Campus Watch and 'The Lobby': An Ongoing Fantasy

Conspiratorial Fantasies About 'The Lobby' Live On

Of all the baseless accusations against Campus Watch (CW), the charge that CW is a member of an all-powerful, all-seeing "lobby" is the most absurd. Writing for Al-Jazeera, Ramzy Baroud, a journalist and non-resident scholar at UC Santa Barbara's Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, is the latest to employ this tired canard against CW and its founder, Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes.

According to Baroud:

In its early years, the mission of combating any kind of dissent against Israel within the US was entrusted to the likes of notorious Zionist Daniel Pipes and his "Campus Watch," a Big Brother type of organisation aimed at intimidating teachers, scaring off students, and monitoring and reporting nonconformist educational institutions across the country.

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By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 18, 2017 at 12:53 pm  |  Permalink

MESA 'Crying First Amendment Wolf' in Opposing Israel Anti-Boycott Act

As reported by Inside Higher Ed, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) has issued a statement opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, a bill with bipartisan Congressional support and 48 Senate cosponsors that "would prohibit U.S. persons or companies from participating in or supporting boycotts of Israel organized by international governmental organizations like the United Nations."

MESA claims the bill, which targets commercial activity and is based on current law, "poses a grave threat to academic freedom." But as Northwestern University law professor and blogger Eugene Volokh points out, "This is a great disservice to claims of academic freedom and [the] First Amendment. They're really crying First Amendment wolf."

Given MESA's antipathy towards Israel and the fact that it removed the word "non-political" from its bylaws in March, most likely for the purpose of supporting BDS, the organization should look to itself for threats to academic freedom.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm  |  Permalink

Trump Budget Defunds Title VI, Affirms Middle East Forum Campaign for Accountability

As noted by Daniel Greenfield at FrontPage Magazine, the Trump administration's 2018 higher education budget defunds "Title VI from $72 million to zero." Given the anti-Western, pro-Islamist bias afflicting Title VI-funded Middle East studies centers, which, ironically, were intended to strengthen national security, this is a welcome development. It's an affirmation of the ongoing campaign initiated in 2014 by the Middle East Forum and a coalition of partners to ensure that such centers offer the "wide range of views" required by a 2008 amendment or face reduced funding. It is now up to Congress to implement Trump's budget and the likelihood of eliminating Title VI funding is slim, but it's a conversation that's long overdue in the nation's capital.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm  |  Permalink

The Most Embarrassingly Wrong Book Ever on the Middle East?

Lesch & Assad in Damascus

Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes examines another in a long list of Middle East studies specialists whose predictions about the region have been utterly wrong, Trinity University professor David Lesch. Pipes sums up Lesch's fawning 2005 book about "compassionate" Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad as "a monument of scholarly humiliation" and quite possibly, "the most embarrassingly wrong book ever on the Middle East." His article appears at the Washington Times.

"The Middle East is the graveyard of predictions" notes the left-wing writer and editor Adam Shatz. That's partly because it's so volatile (no one in 2014 imagined the revival of an executive caliphate after eleven centuries) and it's perverse (Turkey's President Erdoğan started a near-civil war against the Kurds to win constitutional changes he does not need).

In part, too, predictions fail because of the general incompetence of the specialists in the field. Often, they lack the common sense to see what should be self-evident. Case in point: the collective swoon upon the accession of Bashar al-Assad to the presidency of Syria in 2000.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 9, 2017 at 5:36 pm  |  Permalink

Where is Western Academia's Outrage at Turkey?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Where are the howls of outrage from Western professors over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's persecution of academics following last year's failed coup? Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Campus Watch/Middle East Forum fellow A.J. Caschetta exposes the double standard of academics who call to boycott democratic Israel, while remaining silent on increasingly dictatorial Turkey.

In Turkey, academics are currently at the mercy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who demands their compliance and threatens dissenters. After last July's failed coup (for which Erdogan blamed an American scholar), a series of emergency decrees have specifically targeted Turkish academia.

One would think this assault would raise ire from Western ivory towers, but as Turkey slides deeper into totalitarianism, academia yawns. The failure of many professors to stand up vigorously and publicly for what they profess is especially notable in those whose careers are focused on the demonization of Israel through various attempts to destroy Israel by suffocating it economically.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 7, 2017 at 3:09 pm  |  Permalink

Brandeis Prof Pascal Menoret: 'Hanging Out with Islamists Is Crucial'

Pascal Menoret

In the August edition of New English Review, Campus Watch reporter Benjamin Baird exposes the disturbing, pro-Islamist worldview of Brandeis University professor Pascal Menoret, who, in addition to assigning readings sympathetic to violent jihadists, requires students to conduct an interview with a known Islamist. As stated in Menoret's syllabus, "Hanging out with Islamists is crucial to the comprehension of their politics."

The Renée and Lester Crown Professor of Modern Middle East Studies, Menoret specializes in the people and culture of Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of Wahhabi Islam. Despite the strict and brutal application of Shariah law in the Arabian peninsula, his scholarship overwhelmingly frames Islamists as the marginalized victims of state oppression.

Menoret teaches five anthropology courses, two of which are examined below. The syllabi for "Islamism" (Anthropology 141a) and "Culture and Power in the Middle East (CPME)" (Anthropology 118b) exemplify his soft approach to Islamism. By assigning texts by Islamist sympathizers who in some cases have embedded with their subjects, Menoret portrays these radicals as harmless souls seeking escape from imperialist oppression through spiritual rebellion.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  July 31, 2017 at 2:39 pm  |  Permalink

Setting the Record Straight: CW Corrects Rabab Abdulhadi at Mondoweiss

Rabab Abdulhadi

We've been busy lately correcting smears against Campus Watch, especially from San Francisco State University professor Rabab Abdulhadi, who has just penned two articles attacking CW and others in light of a lawsuit brought against her by the Lawfare Project. CW West Coast Representative Cinnamon Stillwell responded to Abdulhadi's latest round of falsehoods:

Rabab Abdulhadi, director of San Francisco State University (SFSU)'s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative (AMED), has penned a two-part (click here and here) approximately 7,000-word response to a Lawfare Project (LP) lawsuit—in which she is named—against SFSU alleging anti-Semitism and discrimination against Jewish students. In the process, Abdulhadi blasts the Middle East Forum/Campus Watch (MEF/CW) campaign to end the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)—also cited in the lawsuit—she brokered between SFSU and terror-promoting An-Najah University in the West Bank. She also commits countless errors and misrepresents CW with the hackneyed clichés to which we've become accustomed.

After acknowledging that she discovered LP's lawsuit not from SFSU's administration but from "a Campus Watch tweet" (we aim to please!), Abdulhadi recounts how she "dreaded" her Twitter notifications due to CW's "nasty attacks." The latter, in fact, are criticism of her role as the architect of the Najah MOU—an extension of her rabidly anti-Israel academic track record. It's nothing personal.

To read the rest of this correction, please click here. To access CW's archives of corrections, please click here.

By Winfield Myers  |  July 25, 2017 at 5:02 pm  |  Permalink

SFSU's Partnership with Radical An-Najah U. Stokes Anti-Semitism

If you haven't already, please click here to sign a petition calling for San Francisco State University (SFSU) to end its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with An-Najah University in the West Bank. If you've already signed, please share the petition with others.

Even as the Lawfare Project's anti-Semitism lawsuit against San Francisco State University (SFSU) proceeds, SFSU stands by its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with An-Najah University, a Palestinian institution where hatred and violence towards Jews is encouraged. At the Algemeiner, Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell lays out the shocking history of anti-Semitism at Najah, demonstrating that the Middle East Forum's campaign to end SFSU's MOU is more important than ever:

Najah routinely holds campus events to honor "martyred" terrorists; names entire graduating classes after terrorists; allows students to celebrate the kidnapping and murder of Israelis at graduation ceremonies; permits student groups to organize exhibits and hold rallies applauding Jew-hatred and suicide bombings; lets student groups distribute literature honoring Najah students who died as "shaheeds" (terrorists); and allows faculty to promulgate pro-terror and anti-Semitic propaganda.

The following is just a sampling of Najah's poisonous environment . . .

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Winfield Myers  |  July 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm  |  Permalink

Setting the Record Straight: CW Corrects Smears from Mondoweiss

In the latest addition to the ever-growing archive in Setting the Record Straight, where CW corrects smears and calumnies directed against it, MEF director of academic affairs and of Campus Watch, Winfield Myers, exposes the fallacies found in a July 6 article in Mondoweiss, a radical publication founded by anti-Israel activist Philip Weiss. Titled "The Battle for Palestine on U.S. Campuses: a Review of 'We Will not Be Silenced: The Academic Repression of Israel's Critics," the review reflects the fallacies of both the reviewer and the book under review, making it doubly fallacious.

Rarely have so many errors been committed in so little space as they were by one Kim Jensen earlier this month. It takes a special kind of carelessness and cluelessness to get almost everything about an organization--in this case Campus Watch--wrong. To be fair, Jensen had help: she's after all reviewing a book chock-full of fallacies that sports a foreword by the infamous conspiracy monger and anti-Semite Cynthia McKinnney. But we're hardy folks here at CW, given that we've seen such nonsense from the likes of the execrable Mondoweiss many times over the years. It's what they do.

So, for the record (yet again, until next time, etc.), CW does not engage in censorship, a fact that should be obvious to anyone with a modicum of knowledge of the rule of law. We do not possess, nor do we seek, nor would we use them if we had, the state power to silence anyone for anything. It is a long-held and dearly beloved affectation of a certain type of delicate professor to cry "censorship" whenever some meddling (see below) outsider has the temerity to criticize him. Poor thing. Perhaps someday he'll understand, but we rather doubt it.

To read the rest of this correction, please click here. To access CW's archives of corrections, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  July 14, 2017 at 6:11 pm  |  Permalink

MESA Sides Against America on SCOTUS Decision

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), a plaintiff in the legal challenge blocking President Trump's Executive Order (EO) on immigration, has responded to the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing partial reinstatement by continuing to employ the misleading label "Muslim ban"; recommending that academic institutions "continue to solicit and process applications from the affected countries" and "admit refugee students and hire refugee scholars" by helping them meet the new exemptions, which, they helpfully note, "should be applicable to many MESA members" and to "current students"; and, worst of all, by advising university administrators to direct campus police "not to participate in immigration enforcement."

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By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  June 27, 2017 at 9:05 pm  |  Permalink

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