Recently, UCLA professor of English and advocate of a single state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict Saree Makdisi spoke in the student union at the University of Pennsylvania. The lecture, sponsored by the Penn Middle East Center (MEC), the English Department, the Greenfield Intercultural Center, and the Penn Arab Student Society, represented another in a series of events sponsored by the university-funded Middle East Center that brought known anti-Israel speakers to Penn, including UCLA's James Gelvin, Stanford's Joel Beinin, artists Reza Kanazi and Radio Rahim, and numerous film screenings. To get a better sense of the level of bias at MEC, consider the following: in the first four months of 2011, the MEC underwrote eight events co-sponsored by Penn for Palestine and associated groups, but none by the Penn Israel Coalition or other pro-Israel campus groups. Moreover, by inviting an English professor like Makdisi, whose academic specialty is eighteenth and nineteenth-century British poetry, MEC privileges his anti-Israel politics over his lack of specialized knowledge of the Middle East.
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