Setting The Record Straight
Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.
In an op-ed on the "restoring civility" meme currently en vogue among the chattering classes, J.J. Goldberg, writing for The Forward, mischaracterizes Campus Watch (CW) and a slew of other organizations:
While CW does, essentially, "monitor the professors," it has nothing to do with "say[ing] the wrong things about Israel." We analyze and, where warranted, critique the field of Middle East studies in five areas: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. That such problems often involve the Arab-Israeli conflict has more to do with the tunnel vision afflicting Middle East studies academia than any desire on our part.
Goldberg then concludes that we "monitors" are intimidating "ordinary folks" and silencing free speech. As he puts it:
If the free flow of information leads to--horror of horrors--the public expressing its concerns to the appropriate authorities, where is the harm in that, exactly? Goldberg may not, as he indicates earlier in his op-ed, like receiving "unpleasant" emails from readers--and politeness and civility are of course to be preferred--but that's democracy in action. He should read some of the emails CW receives!
Moreover, how does publicizing already public material--lectures, papers, books, and so on--"silence" anyone? The answer is, it doesn't. Goldberg, like most CW opponents, falls into the trap of equating criticism with censorship. Ironically, it is he who seems to want to "silence" dissenting voices, not us.
(Posted by Cinnamon Stillwell)
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