On May 30, the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association, an organization that says it represents academics focusing on the Middle East, wrote a letter condemning Iran's detention of Iranian American scholars Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh.
How sad it is, then, that the organization remains silent on the Iranian government's calls for the murder of and its renewal of a bounty on British author Salman Rushdie. Whatever one thinks of his writing, the man is an author and one would think that professors would look askance at any regimes' calls for the murder of writers.
Then again, this is the same organization that saw nothing wrong with its former president, Juan Cole, calling for the FBI to investigate why a television network (MSNBC) hired a respected academic and expert (Walid Phares) over himself to be a commentator.
Such subjectivity, and a tendency to conflate criticism with censorship, is what has transformed MESA into a mockery of its stated principles.