It's not the most easy to remember url: www.eusccr.com. But it is a significant one, for it is the site of a public education campaign by the United States Commission on Civil Rights against campus anti-Semitism. The Web site reports on the commission's findings, including that "anti-Semitic bigotry is no less morally deplorable when camouflaged as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism" and that "substantial evidence suggests that many university departments of Middle East studies provide one-sided, highly polemical academic presentations and some may repress legitimate debate concerning Israel." It also gives suggestions to students on how to react to anti-Semitic incidents.
These columns have documented the problems at Columbia University's Middle East studies department, and the evidence suggests that the problems are not confined to Morningside Heights. Columbia's Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of Arab Studies and director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, is scheduled to speak Saturday at Princeton University at an event sponsored by, among others, the United Nations Association of the Trenton-Princeton Region and the "Princeton Committee on Palestine." His topic will be "International Law, Legitimacy and the Palestinian Question." We are not calling Mr. Khalidi an anti-Semite; if you want our full assessment, please see our August 5, 2004 editorial, "What the UAE Bought." The University of California at Irvine has had its own welldocumented problems.
The Civil Rights Commission's new Web site has already won praise from both the Zionist Organization of America and the Anti-Defamation League. The battle against anti-Israel sentiment on campus will be a long struggle and not an easy one, for the tendencies are related to the anti-American sentiment that also all too often obtains among college professors. But recognizing that much of it is motivated by old-fashioned bigotry and in fact is oldfashioned bigotry is part of a winning strategy for Israel's friends on campus and even for those who merely believe that no student in an American university should be discriminated against based on religion.