Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Israel Lobby Censors Academic Honesty
by Kyle Szarzynski
Badger Herald (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
September 11, 2007

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
False allegations of suppressing free speech
False allegations of attacking critics of America's policy in the Middle East

Campus Watch Responds:

[Ed: The following entry was adapted from the Campus Watch blog post, "Pipe Dream at Binghamton, Badger Herald at Wisconsin Misrepresent Campus Watch"]

Kyle Szarzynski's op-ed, "Israel Lobby Censors Academic Honesty," is (as the title suggests) tendentious and inaccurate on several levels.

Appearing in the Badger Herald of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the piece is a defense of former DePaul professor Norman Finkelstein. Of more interest to me, however, is his inaccurate description of Campus Watch:

Dr. Finkelstein's case is not an isolated one. Indeed, it is indicative of an increasingly hostile atmosphere for pro-Palestinian and leftist academics. A perfect example of this trend is the founding of Campus Watch in 2002, a right-wing think tank designed to monitor and silence critics of Israeli and American policy in the university.

First, Campus Watch is not in and of itself a think tank, but rather a project of the think tank mentioned above, the Middle East Forum.

More importantly, CW is not designed to "monitor and silence critics of Israeli and American policy in the university," as Mr. Szarzynski erroneously claims.

We do indeed monitor scholarship in Middle East studies, but not for criticism of Israel or America. Rather, we critique Middle East studies for shoddy scholarship, abuse of students, and the general politicization of academic life common in that field at many North American universities.

And we do not, and cannot, silence anyone. As I noted above, we have no capacity or desire to do so. Our critiques of Middle East studies are performed with an eye to improving them, and we insist on our right to do so, just as we respect the rights of others to disagree with us. How this amounts to silencing anyone, or engaging in censorship, is a mystery.

(Posted by Winfield Myers)