Professors "who fan the flames of disinformation, incitement, and ignorance" and "actively dissociate themselves from the United States" are in the cross-hairs of a Web site that monitors their rantings and ravings and publishes them on the Internet.
According to Scott Smallwood of the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Middle East Forum has created a new Web site that lists faculty members it is monitoring and allows students to report on their professors who display an anti-Israel bias and denigrate the U.S.
The Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, has announced the new site, called Campus Watch (http://www.campus-watch.org), where organizers say they plan to monitor and gather information "on professors who fan the flames of disinformation, incitement, and ignorance." The site targets professors who "actively dissociate themselves from the United States."
Among the eight academics already cited for mention by Campus Watch is Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Near East languages and civilization at the University of Chicago, for dedicating his study of the Palestine Liberation Organization to "those who gave their lives during the summer of 1982 ... in defense of the cause of Palestine and the independence of Lebanon."
Another academic among the eight listed, M. Shakid Alam, was cited by the Boston Herald for shocking Northeastern University with a defense of a suicide bomber
The dossiers of the eight professors include short biographies and reprints of a variety of materials - articles about the professors, as well as letters to editors and essays written by the professors themselves.
In response to Campus Watch, Khalidi said the effort "could have a chilling effect if people allow themselves to be intimidated." Campus Watch, he added is part of a "well-financed campaign of black propaganda."
Another of the listed professors, Hamid Dabashi, chairman of the department of Middle East and Asian languages and cultures at Columbia University, said the project seeks to create fear that students will be spying on professors. That won't affect him, he said, but it could be a "horrible development" for junior faculty members. "In the tenure culture, it could be damaging to the healthy relationship that has to govern the classroom," he said.
Others, including the Muslim Public Affairs Council, suggest that the project is "basically a hate Web site" and that posting "dossiers" on faculty members amounts to a blacklist. And some professors who are listed on the site are denouncing it as hateful and inappropriate.