Writing at the blog of Reason Magazine, managing editor Jesse Walker assumes that articles posted under "Middle East studies in the News," one of the categories under which we archive articles on Middle East studies, should be critiqued by CW before being posted. Walker is particularly upset that we archived a letter from Paula Stern as it was reprinted on the blog Avraham's One Village back on November 6, 2006. The letter dealt with the tenure battle on Barnard College anthropologist Nadia Abu El-Haj.
The campaign has attracted some press coverage, and Stern's charges have been uncritically reprinted by the conservative pressure group Campus Watch.
At the bottom of the very piece with which Walker takes issue appears the following disclaimer:
Note: Articles listed under "Middle East Studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
The only articles that Campus Watch necessarily endorses are those that are either written by CW staff and fellows, or commissioned by CW for publication (we do not self-publish). These are collected under the category "Campus Watch Research." They may, or may not, agree with with the views or research found in articles written by outside sources and archived elsewhere on the site.
Update: Jesse Walker yesterday posted comments for Richard Silverstein, who has mendaciously charged that CW sponsored Paula Stern's petition drive against Nadia Abu El-Haj in order to keep our "fingerprints" off the "murder weapon" (I commented on this absurd lie earlier).
Responding to a reader who notes my denial of Silverstein's absurd charges, Silverstein writes:
Besides the fact that CW as a site is built on a tissue of lies and distortions against its "enemies," let's assume that Campus Watch isn't behind the petition. The fact is that Campus Watch & Frontpagemagazine have been on the warpath against Abu El Haj for months. If Stern & these sites aren't in direct collusion then they're a loose alliance of the like-minded with the same agenda: to smear Abu El-Haj in order to advance their own ideological agenda.
Three comments: 1. Without admitting that he made up his original charge whole cloth, Silverstein has now backed down completely from his assertion that CW had used Paula Stern as a "shill," a charge that is both untrue and insulting to Stern. He has now moved from that conspiracy theory to a new one: that we're a "loose alliance of...like-minded" people, a charge so broad as to be simultaneously baseless and applicable to millions of individuals involved in countless projects worldwide.
2. CW is not on the "warpath" against anyone, including Abu El-Haj. We have sponsored work that is critical of her research, but nowhere have we taken a position on the question of whether or not she should be granted tenure.
3. Jesse Walker took issue with CW for, in his words, "uncritically" reprinting a source, despite our disclaimer on all articles that we archive, and yet he agreed to post such scurillous material from Richard Silverstein.