In an attempt to combat what it sees as anti-Israel bias in academe, 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.
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.
The Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, announced the new site, called Campus Watch, on Wednesday.
Organizers of Campus Watch said 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." For instance, it criticizes 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."
Martin Kramer, the editor of Middle East Quarterly, the think tank's journal, said combining scattered material in one location will be useful, but he hopes the site grows over time. "The list [of professors] is actually too short," he said. "It should be much longer. More people would be on the list than off the list."
Mr. Kramer also said the dossiers aren't creating any blacklist. "All the material there is in the public domain," he said. "I don't see how putting together information is wrong."
Eight professors are now listed on the site. The dossiers 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.
Some of the professors who appear on the site derided it as fear-mongering. Mr. Khalidi said the effort "could have a chilling effect if people allow themselves to be intimidated." Campus Watch is part of a "well-financed campaign of black propaganda," he said.
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.
Juan R.I. Cole, a professor of history at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, is also listed on the site. In an e-mail message, he complained that the Campus Watch site had violated copyright law by reprinting some of his writings that he had posted on his own Web site. "This sort of arrogant theft of other people's property is typical of the intellectual hooligans who run the Middle East Forum," he wrote.