Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Truth or Neo-Consequences
by Morgan Strong
Middle East Online
May 1, 2008

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
False allegations of attacking critics of America's policy in the Middle East
False accusations of being part of a lobby or conspiracy

Campus Watch Responds:

In his article attacking critics of recently-tenured Barnard College anthropologist Nadia Abu El-Haj, Morgan Strong makes two errors: he mischaracterizes Campus Watch and our treatment of Abu El-Haj, and he is wrong in his depiction of CW founder Daniel Pipes's role in El-Haj's tenure battle.

Regarding Campus Watch, Strong, a former professor of Middle East studies at Mercy College and SUNY, wrote:

Campus Watch, a right-wing organization that monitors the teaching of Middle Eastern studies in the United States, joined in the attacks on El-Haj. Campus Watch was founded in 2002 by Daniel Pipes, a prominent neoconservative and son of Richard Pipes, a key figure in the Cold War-era Committee on the Present Danger.

Campus Watch is not a "right-wing organization" that "attacks" professors, and we didn't "attack" Abu El-Haj. We critique Middle East studies without regard to the politics of the professors in question. We commissioned work on Abu El-Haj, and we took a critical view of her scholarship. But our critiques were fact-based and reasoned, and our concern was with the tendentious and inaccurate nature of her scholarship about the Middle East, and not with her personal politics, left or right.

Additionally, per Campus Watch policy, we did not take a position on the question of whether or not Abu El-Haj should have received tenure.

Which leads to Strong's second error. In discussing Dhaba "Debbie" Almontaser, former principal of Khalil Gibran International Academy, Strong writes:

Some of the leaders of the battle against Almontaser – such as Daniel Pipes – also participated in the anti-tenure campaign at Barnard against El-Haj, reflecting how these activists view the marginalizing of Muslims as a coordinated national struggle.

In fact, Daniel Pipes did not lift a finger against Abu El-Haj. His involvement was limited to commissioning--in 2002--a review of Abu El-Haj's book, Facts on the Ground, for the Middle East Quarterly. That review appeared in 2003, years before Abu El-Haj's tenure battle erupted.

(Posted by Winfield Myers)