Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

The Massad Tenure Case: Time for the Campus Thought Police to Close Up Shop
by Hussein Ibish
Ibish Blog
May 28, 2009

Misc. Corrections
False accusations of being part of a lobby or conspiracy

Campus Watch Responds:

Writing at his blog, Hussein Ibish makes several untrue assertions about Campus Watch.

He lumps Campus Watch in with other organizations, describing us all as a cabal intent on denying tenure to Columbia University professor Joseph Massad. As he puts it:

The significance of the Massad tenure case really is that it was the ultimate test for the new ultra-right wing, pro-Israel campus thought police established in the past few years to enforce a new orthodoxy in American academia on Middle East affairs. Organizations like Daniel Pipes' notorious "campus watch,"... the "David Project," David Horowitz's various organizations and others have gone after numerous professors, but none provided a more obvious test case of their potential ability to intervene in tenure battles than that of Joseph Massad.

Campus Watch is a project of the Middle East Forum, a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization, and is in no way related to any outside organizations. We do not "go after professors," nor do we push thought control or any sort of orthodoxy. We provide analysis and criticism of Middle East studies academia based not on political persuasion or one's views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but rather, on the five problems addressed in our mission statement:

Analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students.

Ibish's claim that Campus Watch has sought to "intervene in tenure battles" involving Joseph Massad and other academics is entirely false. As noted in the "Campus Watch Policy on Employment Decision" statement at the "CW Positions on Speakers and Tenure" page at our website:

Campus Watch does not take positions for or against specific candidates for tenure or employment at educational institutions. It affirms its right to critique teachers, instructors, and professors at any point in their careers based on professors' publications, statements, and teaching, not on their career paths.

Demonstrating further that Ibish has neglected to do his homework, he makes the following allegation:

Organizations like Daniel Pipes' notorious "campus watch," which had in its initial mission statement an overtly racist complaint about the number of Arab and Middle Eastern professors in Middle East studies departments...

Campus Watch's mission statement has never contained any language pertaining to the ethnic background of Middle East studies professors. Ibish is likely referring to an article co-authored by Norvell B. De Atkine and Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes in 1995, long before Campus Watch came into existence, titled, "Middle Eastern Studies: What Went Wrong?" The article examines the benefits and problems associated with the growing number of academics of Middle Eastern origin in the field of Middle East studies, none of them based on racist language or assertions.

Lastly, Ibish, based on the false premise that Campus Watch is devoted to denying tenure to Middle East studies academics, reaches this bizarre conclusion:

The project overall is clearly a failure. Campus Watch, the David Project and the others have wasted the money of their contributors and failed to produce the goods. It's time for them to face the facts and close up shop once and for all....they should admit failure and be gone forever.

Given that Campus Watch has no stake in denying tenure, we can hardly be accused of having failed at anything. Campus Watch continues in its mission of providing rigorous analysis to the field of Middle East studies and has no reason to "close up shop" based on the outcome of tenure battles or any other developments, for that matter.

If the perpetual paranoia and desperately false accusations of people such as Hussein Ibish are any indication, Campus Watch is a force to be reckoned with.

(Posted by Cinnamon Stillwell)