A University of Michigan professor is one of eight professors listed on a pro-Israel Web site, set up to monitor professors and universities for pro-Arab, anti-Israel bias. The effort is being decried by some academics as campus McCarthyism and attempted intimidation.
The Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum said it organized the Campus Watch site (www.campus-watch.org) to counter pervasive bias in universities' Middle Eastern studies.
The site names 14 schools and eight specific professors, including Juan Cole, a U-M history professor since 1984. Forum director Daniel Pipes said the think tank hopes eventually to monitor 250 North American academic institutions.
Opponents immediately called the effort "McCarthy-like" and an attempt to stifle opposition to U.S. policy in the Middle East. Professors listed on the site said they have been bombarded with e-mail. In a show of support for those named on the site, about 100 other academics have asked to be added to the list.
Cole said Friday the Web site was designed to insinuate that people on the list are "somehow unAmerican or disloyal."
University of Chicago historian Rashid Khalidi, who is quoted on the Web site as sympathizing with the Palestinian cause, called the site "slimy" and intended to chill opposition.
According to Cole, Pipes has been recruiting college students to "spy on me and report on me to him ... just like what was done in Nazi Germany."
Pipes said he will not remove a "Keep Us Informed" page on the site that opponents say is an attempt to get students to turn in their professors. He said it gives students a place to complain about mistreatment.
The Campus Watch site accuses American Middle Eastern scholars of generally being biased against the United States and being apologists for unfriendly regimes.
The U-M's Cole said Pipes is "associated with the far right wing of the Likudnik Party in Israel" and is largely acting on behalf of a foreign power.
Cole charged that while Pipes and his organization have made inroads in other areas, he has been frustrated by not being able to silence academics who do not agree with him.
Coel said the site amounts to "informal blackballing" of American academics.