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Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

The New McCarthyism
by Larry Cohler-Esses
The Nation
November 12, 2007

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
False allegations of suppressing free speech

Larry Cohler-Esses could think of no better way to hurl an insult than to accuse someone to his right of being guilty of...McCarthyism! What would the far left do without recourse to this charge--so handy to have around when you don't have an argument?

As you may see from the excerpt below, it is beyond irony that, in accusing CW of McCarthyism--the center of which was that a conspiracy of communists had infiltrated the US government and military--Cohler-Esses relies on nothing more than his own conspiracy theory to explain why seemingly diverse persons and institutions would have similar opinions on topics central to their mission.

For the record (again): Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, is an independent actor, unrelated and unbeholden to any other entity extant. Perhaps Cohler-Esses should study history in order to gain a better appreciation for the complexity of human society so that, in the future, he won't rely on such crude, anti-intellectual explanations of how the world works.

Moreover, his charge that CW targets "Muslims, Arabs and others in the Middle East field" who're critical of Israel is absurd. We critique practitioners of Middle East studies regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, religion, or any other identifiable grouping, and regardless of the subject of their work, be it Israel or not. The only thing that matters to us is the quality of what they write or teach, and to imply that CW is against Middle Easterners is, again, to substitute insult for argument.

Here is the excerpt in which he mentions Campus Watch:

This is the modus operandi of the New McCarthyism. It targets a new enemy for our era: Muslims, Arabs and others in the Middle East field who are identified as stepping over an unstated line in criticizing Israel, as radical Islamists, as just plain radical or as in some way sympathetic to terrorists. Its purveyors include Campus Watch, run by Arab studies scholar Daniel Pipes; the David Project, supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation; and David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine (in October Horowitz organized an "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" on campuses across the nation).

Their efforts often appear to be linked. As first noted by blogger Richard Silverstein, the earliest web attack on El-Haj's book was posted simultaneously by Campus Watch and FrontPage, in October 2005. Alexander Joffe, identified as a professor at SUNY, Purchase, published a harshly negative review of the book in The Journal of Near Eastern Studies that same month. The prestigious journal did not note--and was not informed--that he was then director of Campus Watch. Soon after, he became research director for the David Project. Less prominent researchers like Stern, the online PipeLine News and writers such as Beila Rabinowitz and William Mayer provide raw material to the more well-known portals, such as Pipes and Horowitz. Pipes's and Horowitz's material is, in turn, picked up by key conservative papers like the New York Post and New York Sun.

(Posted by Winfield Myers)

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