[Ed. Note: On July 12, 2011, Rob Sobhani, the subject of the letter to James J. O'Donnell immediately below, sent Campus Watch a rebuttal. It is posted in its entirety at the bottom of this document.]
To: Georgetown University, Office of the Provost Georgetown University Office of the Provost
Professor James J. O'Donnell Suite 650,
Bunn Intercultural Center Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057-1014 Voice: 202-687-6400 FAX: 202-687-5103
email : email@example.com
Dear Professor James J. O'Donnell,
It should be brought to your attention that one of your professors, Mr. Rob Sobhani, has been slandering Iranians on repeated occasions. On May sixth, at a seminar sponsored by the Hudson Institute and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and again on May seventeenth, at the University of Washington in Seattle, Mr. Sobhani delivered a speech that included a very damaging, untruthful, and anti-Iranian statement. The specific comment of concern can be found below, highlighted and in bold.
Rob Sobhani: "There's a young lady here in the United States who is in her mid thirties. She's a Deputy Secretary of Education in the United States, an American Iranian. That same 30-something in Iran has to prostitute herself to make ends meet."
Mr. Sobhani's irresponsible and inappropriate statement implies that Iranian women are prostitutes, however competent they might be. His allegation is both false and malicious. What is more, the statement was made on two separate occasions, indicating that its use was not a careless, accidental, or isolated incident but was part of a systematic, deliberate attempt to defame a targeted community.
The Iranian-American community is outraged. Legal action against Mr. Sobhani is under consideration.
Where Georgetown University is concerned in this matter is in the extent that the institution supports Mr. Sobhani, financially, academically, and publicly. Mr. Sobhani has been hurting the Iranian community for years. The offensive and profane comment in question is only one example of Mr. Sobhani's persuasive technique. His manner of argument uses the degradation of the image of Iranians to that of a helpless, backward people as a tactic to gain support for his political agenda. The consequences of Mr. Sobhani's method are that he demonizes the Iranian people, generating hate, racism, and prejudice. By hiring Mr. Sobhani, Georgetown University is providing him with a platform from which to speak and to propagate his views. Mr. Sobhani's public presence and authority as an "expert on Middle Eastern affairs" is founded on the academic prestige of a Georgetown University professorship. In giving Mr. Sobhani's voice legitimacy, Georgetown University contributes to his anti-Iranian campaign.
We, the undersigned, request that Georgetown University expel adjunct professor Mr. Rob Sobhani and to ask that Georgetown University publicly announce that the institution does not support or share Mr. Sobhani's views.
Rebuttal from Rob Sobhani, dated July 12, 2011.
For the last eight years Campus Watch has posted a link choreographed by Koorosh Arfaian demanding a petition for my expulsion from the faculty staff of Georgetown University.
The petition failed because it lacked the semblance of any credibility; however, it is noteworthy that it was an idea conceived by a coterie of now well-known and identified apologists for and supporters of the clerical regime of Iran. Grossly misrepresenting and cleverly spinning out of context my words from various speaking engagements and media interviews, these elements continue, to this day, their attempts to undermine my efforts to shed light on the horrors of a regime that has not hesitated to crush into silence its own citizenry since its inception. I am, regretfully, not the only victim of such patterns of intimidation, character assassination, and campaigns to destroy opponents of the theocracy in Iran, as the regime regularly employs such tools of violence crushing free thought, free speech, and dissent of any kind.
In recent years, the regime's desperate efforts to consolidate its power have reached new levels of sophistication. Masters of "dividing and conquering," the regime's elements in the United States and Europe employ well-funded campaigns to cleverly disguise themselves as representing the "true views" of the Iranian Diaspora, always pushing positions and talking points that have one common denomination: that which best promotes and serves the interests of the clerical regime of Iran. This methodology seeks to achieve two goals: 1) confusing the international community; and 2) dividing, and conquering, the Iranian Diaspora.
As a Kansas-born American of Iranian descent I feel blessed by the freedoms with which I have been endowed and am proud of my principled stands taken on Iran: namely the need for freedom and democracy for the people of Iran, irrespective of intimidation tactics and campaigns thrown my way at the direction of the militant paymasters of Tehran.
As for my fifteen year tenure at Georgetown University, I am particularly proud of having been consistently ranked as one of the most popular professors until my business commitments and international travel limited my time to dedicate to the world of academe.