Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Sheldon Adelson Looks to Stamp Out Growing US Movement to Boycott Israel
by Chris McGreal
The Guardian
June 5, 2015

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
False allegations of suppressing free speech
False accusations of being part of a lobby or conspiracy

Campus Watch Responds:

In an article on a recent meeting hosted by Sheldon Adelson to strategize on ways to counter the growing Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) campaign, Guardian reporter Chris McGreal falsely characterized Campus Watch and the Middle East Forum without providing an opportunity for CW to comment:

Conservative thinktank the Middle East Forum has targeted university lecturers considered too critical of Israel by encouraging students to report teachers, books and lectures they regarded as hostile to the Jewish state. The forum runs a website, Campus Watch, which has been accused by academics of "McCarthyesque" intimidation.

The Middle East Forum defends American interests in the Middle East; this does not make it "conservative," since it freely criticizes both Democratic and Republican administrations and politicians. Its mission is apolitical and nonpartisan.

Moreover, neither the Forum nor Campus Watch target professors "considered too critical of Israel." Rather, CW critiques Middle East studies for biased, politicized scholarship and teaching, whether or not Israel is mentioned. Again, the Forum's sponsored writings contain myriad examples of criticism of Israel. What they do not contain is bias, politicized writings, and apologias for terrorism and anti-Semitism.

Campus Watch indeed invites comments from students, who are free to comment to anyone on any matter. It is a matter of record that the same administrators and professors who furrow their brows over criticism directed at them champion students who report what they consider unacceptable (i.e., politically incorrect) comments by fellow faculty to reporters or other organizations. The Guardian implies that students who stray from the PC line should be intimidated into silence by their professors, administrators, and the press. CW is happy to provide an outlet for those who buck the establishment, sometimes at considerable risk to their grades and reputations.

The hackneyed cliché that CW is "McCarthyesque" will apparently never run its tired course. If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, the cry of "McCarthyism" is the last gasp of the intellectually vacuous. CW in no way interferes with the First Amendment rights of anyone to say anything at any time. Nor (one might think this would be obvious) does CW possess the capacity to do so (you see, Joe McCarthy was a US senator who could bring down the power of the state on his victims). Nor would CW behave in such a way even if it could. But it can't.

Finally, the Guardian should have contacted CW for comment rather than smear it with the passive voice. That would have required a degree of fairness and balance--of real journalism--one is not accustomed to seeing from this august publication. CW will look for that level of professionalism in the same era its critics cease and desist calling it "McCarthyesque."

(Posted by Winfield Myers)