Setting The Record Straight
Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.
Campus Watch Responds:
In a rambling rant against critics of left-wing Israeli professors, David Newman strays far afield in his unfounded, and unsupported, attacks on Campus Watch. In his second paragraph he writes:
Critics who cannot muster empirical arguments often settle for ad hominem attacks and hackneyed clichés, and no cliche is more worn than that off-campus critics of higher education engage in McCarthyism. Campus Watch has no governmental authority, no powers of subpoena, no ability to force anyone to do anything. Nor do we wish for such powers. In what way has Campus Watch prevented Newman from speaking his mind? Does he not make these charges in a major newspaper? But feelings of persecution lend a touch of authenticity to lives of some academics, providing as they do a veneer of viability and importance to those who might otherwise be overlooked and ignored.
Using students and faculty to spy on academics? The aggrandizement of academics knows no bounds. We welcome reports from sources with hard evidence, which we always corroborate. And do students and professors not have a right to judge the behavior of academics? Does speaking up make them spies? By extension, are movie and theater critics, journalists and editorialists, and Consumer Reports employees all spies? Does Newman suggest that critics of professors somehow violate a code of silence--what happens in the classroom stays in the classroom? Is this La Cosa Nostra or Las Vegas?
Moreover, given that Newman couples his attacks on CW with a primary focus on Israeli universities, he seems not to realize that CW critiques only Middle East studies in North American universities. We do not critique Israeli universities, as even the briefest study of our web pages would reveal.
A disgrace "for anyone" who believes in free speech? Such a sweeping statement that claims to speak for so many members of the human race (surely hundreds of millions), and yet not a shred of evidence? The academic left has for years claimed that to disagree with it is to silence it. This is a precious affectation, not an informed argument.
Finally, Newman writes:
Newman's information is flawed and his analogy fails. Campus Watch is a project of the Middle East Forum, a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization. As such, it is a private entity. MEF accepts no government funds, and like most other nonprofits, it does not publicize donors unless asked by them to do so. The same may be said of major think tanks of all political persuasions. Since donations are tax deductable, most individual donors certainly list MEF as a recipient of funds on their tax returns, and foundations list organizations to which they donate. The European Union, on the other hand, is a public governmental organization obligated to list recipients of its largesse (although I have European friends who would find the idea that it is "transparent" risible).
More to the point, without naming any donors to CW or the other organizations he mentions, Newman impugns their reputations by raising the specter of "extremist right-wing" donors whose views are "totally unacceptable" to some, and who may even "advocate" breaking the law. Where is his evidence for this absurd, unfounded charge? Who are these extremists? If he knows any, surely he would list their names and thereby embarrass any organization that accepted their donations. Once again lacking empirical evidence to advance a reasoned argument, Newman resorts to hollow insults and baseless charges.
(Posted by Winfield Myers)
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