The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), a plaintiff in the legal challenge blocking President Trump's Executive Order (EO) on immigration, has responded to the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing partial reinstatement by continuing to employ the misleading label "Muslim ban"; recommending that academic institutions "continue to solicit and process applications from the affected countries" and "admit refugee students and hire refugee scholars" by helping them meet the new exemptions, which, they helpfully note, "should be applicable to many MESA members" and to "current students"; and, worst of all, by advising university administrators to direct campus police "not to participate in immigration enforcement."
Meanwhile, MESA contends that the citizens of the six Muslim-majority, largely failed states named in the EO "have suffered enormous violence and dispossession, and the Middle East Studies academic community has both a professional and an ethical responsibility to defend their rights." MESA seems to have forgotten that American citizens have also suffered "enormous violence" at the hands of jihadists hailing from those nations (or whose predecessors did so), and that they also have rights that need to be defended, namely the expectation that the government will protect their safety and uphold the rule of law.
It's clear that MESA's March vote to remove "non-political" from its bylaws---which was widely seen as a prelude to passing a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution against Israel, the one nation in the Middle East whose rights MESA sees no need to defend---was unnecessary. The organization is transparently political.
As a party to the initial EO challenge, MESA claimed that the temporary ban would cause it to lose $18,000 in annual conference attendance fees, demonstrating that it is both cynically looking out for itself and working against America's interests. Then again, it's been a long time since the interests of America and MESA were the same.
Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.