Middlebury's Language Schools are a destination for hundreds of determined students each summer. They're intensive programs--students must pledge not to speak English on penalty of expulsion--and the immersion is total. In the classroom, on campus, during meals, it's all-foreign language, all the time.
If you go there to study French, German, Italian, or any of the other languages offered, you'll doubtless benefit tremendously. But if you study Arabic there, as Salameh shows, you'll be bombarded with enough hyper-nationalistic propaganda to either turn you into an Arabist ideologue, or turn you away from this part of Middlebury's language programs.
Maps that didn't include Israel, which showed the Syrian/Lebanese border as "provisional," and which renamed the Persian Gulf the "Arabian Gulf" are only the beginning of the story. The dining hall was halal (adhered to Muslim dietary restrictions) even though only 20 percent of the students were Muslim, students who appeared to be members of the U.S. military were cold-shouldered, and the Arabic School was alone among the language schools in not celebrating the Fourth of July. As Salameh puts it: "Inside the classroom and across campus, administrators and language teachers adhered to a restrictive Arab-nationalist view of what is generically referred to as the 'Arab world.'"
All of this is but a symptom of Middle East studies in America, which is perhaps the most politicized field in academe. Every intellectual malady that plagues history, comparative literature, language study, political science, sociology, and more is found in MES. And all at a time when we most need excellence in this field.