This week, 14 Jewish, civil rights and educational groups wrote to Congress expressing their concern over funding to university Middle East Studies departments.
"Our groups have been concerned for years that federal funds are being misused in ways that undermine the purpose for which they have been authorized, which is to strengthen America's national security. Congress now has a real opportunity to prevent manipulation of this program for political purposes."
This concern is warranted. It is undoubtedly true that universities should have departments devoted to the study of every major region of the world including the Middle East. The problem is that Middle East Studies departments are almost totally staffed by anti-Israel Arabists. Try to find an Israeli professor in one of these departments (who is pro-Israel) is like trying to find an apple on an orange tree.
Israel, as I remind the reader, is in the Middle East. Not only that, it is the most democratic, most prosperous, most pro-American country in the Middle East. That it still survives is because it is also militarily the strongest country in the region. Yet, in America, our university Middle East Studies departments will only address it as a country that doesn't deserve to exist. What kind of scholarship is this?
In addition, these departments and their mostly radical professors, directly or indirectly, are responsible for increased anti-semitism on our campuses.
Aside from the anti-Israel bias that permeates these departments, you have people who are devotees of the late Columbia professor Edward Said and his post colonialist theory of Orientalism, a poisonous doctrine that is basically anti-Western.
I am not saying that Said's thoughts should be banned from campus. I am not saying that criticism of Israel should be banned from campus. What I am saying is that we should not be funding academic institutions that are engaged in one-sided propaganda.