When it comes to Israeli nationalism, however, the Pentagon's hawks can't compete with Daniel Pipes. The founder of the Middle East Forum's controversial "Campus Watch" web site, Pipes is now taking his attacks on academics who question Israeli policy out of the virtual world. In a Jerusalem Post opinion column, Pipes suggests that America's academic freedoms need some wartime pruning:
"Of course, professors have every right to express their opinions, however cranky and mistaken. Yet the relentless opposition to their own government raises some questions.
The time has come for adult supervision of the faculty and administrators on many American campuses. Especially as we are at war, the goal must be for universities to resume their civic responsibilities.
This can be achieved if outsiders (alumni, state legislators, non-university specialists, parents of students and others) take steps to create a politically balanced atmosphere, critique failed scholarship, establish standards for media statements by faculty, and broaden the range of campus discourse.
While Pipes' 'wartime' logic may be new, his arguments are familiar. And while the medium may be modern, Kristine McNeil argues in The Nation that the "Campus Watch" blacklisting site serves only as "a showcase for the signature distortions on which Pipes has built his twenty-five-year career."
"He twists words, quotes people out of context and stretches the truth to suit his purpose. John Esposito, director of Georgetown's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and an expert on militant Islam, is depicted as a Hamas apologist and blamed, without evidence, for the State Department's decision to refuse crucial Sudanese intelligence on Osama bin Laden before September 11. Joseph Massad, an assistant professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia, is maligned for signing a letter to the editor of the Columbia Spectator in defense of Edward Said in 2000. The letter, co-signed by Columbia colleagues Hamid Dabashi (a fellow blacklistee) and the late Magda Al-Nowaihi, is presented as self-evident in its taint. Stanford history professor and Middle East Studies Association (MESA) president Joel Beinin (not on the list but singled out elsewhere on the site) is quoted completely out of context and said to blame 'US foreign policy for the attacks of September 11, 2001, rather than militant Islam.'"