America's radical professors are up in arms about "Campus Watch," a Web site founded by Daniel Pipes to monitor bias in programs of Middle East Studies. (Pipes writes regularly for The Post.) Prominent Palestinian scholar Rashid Khalidi, for example, says that Campus Watch is using "McCarthyite" tactics to impose "a uniformity of view" on campus debates about the Middle East.
Funny thing is, professor Khalidi made his accusations on "The Electronic Intifada," a Web site set up to monitor pro-Israel bias in the media. In fact, Khalidi's attack on "Campus Watch" was on a special section of The Electronic Intifada called "Israel Lobby Watch."
It's tough to see any difference between the supposed McCarthyism of "Campus Watch" and the activities of "Israel Lobby Watch." So why does "Campus Watch" get attacked, while "Israel Lobby Watch" gets a free pass?
With Columbia University now offering Rashid Khalidi a prestigious endowed chair, we're in a position to learn something about whether Campus Watch or its critics have a better handle on the academy's problems.
Professor Khalidi says he's worried about "uniformity" in campus debate. Yet Middle East Studies at Columbia University is already top-heavy with extremist critics of Israel:
* At least 16 Columbia University scholars of the Middle East have signed an anti-Israel divestment petition.
* Khalidi is being offered a chair named after Edward Said, the radical scholar and Palestinian activist who taught for years at Columbia.
* Khalidi is an historian of the modern Middle East, but Columbia already has a professor with that specialty: Joseph Massad, yet another Palestinian radical and follower of Said.
So if Khalidi accepts the Edward Said chair, the professor and his like-minded friends will have a lock on what passes for debate in Columbia's program of Middle East Studies.
That, in a nutshell, is why Pipes founded Campus Watch: It's the only way left to force a debate about the Middle East in an academy where no true disagreement now exists.
Shortly after 9/11, Khalidi was writing that America itself was to blame for the attacks. No need to look at Islam's culture or history to explain terrorism, he said: The answer could be found in U.S. support for Israel andU.S. sanctions against Iraq, plus U.S. backing of Muslim foes of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (the same people who later turned against America).
Yet in 1994, Khalidi argued that centuries of Western history had built an unshakable anti-Arab hostility into American culture - a hostility that would endure even if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was settled. Apparently, it's OK to find anti-Arab bias in America, but not to find a culture of anti-Americanism among Arabs.
According to Khalidi, no matter what happens politically in the Middle East, Americans are going to hate Arabs. But if Arabs are trying to kill Americans, it's only U.S. foreign policy that's making them do it.
Pretty interesting example of bias, isn't it? I found the contradiction by going to Campus Watch's Web site and reading Khalidi's writings.
Campus Watch didn't point out this example of bias. It simply posted some of Khalidi's work and invited readers to consider the problems for themselves. That doesn't look like McCarthyism to me.
But in today's academy, scholars like Khalidi never speak to anyone but like-minded radicals - so even the most limited criticism now qualifies as "police-state tactics." This hysterical response to legitimate discourse only shows how badly the academy needs a site like Campus Watch.
Of course, Campus Watch wouldn't be necessary in the first place if scholars like Pipes weren't on the outside looking in. What we really need are campuses that have room for both the Pipeses and the Khalidis of this world.
So how is it that, in the wake of 9/11, Columbia is bringing yet another in a long line of Palestinian radicals on board? Why isn't it courting Pipes, or some other scholar of the Middle East who has a critical perspective on the one-sided radicalism that rules the academy?
The Khalidi appointment is the last straw. The time has come for alumni and supporters of Columbia University to draw the line. Unless and until they withhold their contributions, the current regime of one-sided political radicalism will continue unchecked.
Is this "McCarthyism?" No way. If anyone is being "McCarthyite" here, it's the radical scholars who long ago drove anyone who questioned them out of programs of Middle East studies.
We owe a vote of thanks to Daniel Pipes and to Campus Watch for reminding us that things don't have to stay that way.
Stanley Kurtz is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.