Setting The Record Straight
Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.
The Fall 2010 Jewish Political Studies Review—an Institute for Global Jewish Affairs publication—features a report titled "Watching the Pro-Israeli Academic Watchers" by British academic Leslie Wagner. While offering a sympathetic and largely accurate portrayal of Campus Watch, Wagner makes a few errors.
On several occasions, Wagner describes Campus Watch (CW) as focusing solely on "anti-Israel" bias in Middle East studies:
In fact, CW is not concerned primarily with anti-Israel bias, but with promoting non-politicized scholarship that doesn't substitute tendentious or shoddy work for rigorous work. For instance, CW has produced research on apologetics towards the Iranian and Syrian regimes; academic press self-censorship; U.S. institutions devoted to Islamic studies; the intersection of Middle East studies and women's and gay rights; academics who espouse Islamist principles; and biased, inaccurate religion and history textbooks.
In the following passage—where, again, the "anti-Israel" focus is mistakenly emphasized—Wagner is partially correct in including non-specialists in CW's purview:
However, even the academics CW examines who aren't trained in Middle East studies must write or teach about the Middle East in some significant manner. We have a category of articles devoted to such academics titled "Moonlighting: Non-Specialists in the News."
Wagner makes the following claim:
CW does not cover the activities of nonacademics, except, occasionally, members of think tanks, but even then an academic background—and preferably current employment—is required. We also concentrate—with rare exceptions—on professors in North America.
About CW's mission, he writes:
As noted previously, CW's interest is not in combating "pro-Muslim and anti-Israel bias," but in promoting rigorous, objective scholarship untainted by political, ethnic, or religious agendas.
(Posted by Cinnamon Stillwell)
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