Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Israel's Offensive Defense: Attacking Human Rights Organizations and Solidarity Groups as Pressure on Israel from the U.S. Administration Continues
by Sergio Yahni
The Alternative Information Center
August 25, 2009

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
False allegations of being a Zionist organization
False accusations of being part of a lobby or conspiracy

Campus Watch Responds:

Sergio Yahni twists the words of an article written by CW adjunct scholar Asaf Romirowsky in an effort to inject the language of religious purity into a political debate. Along the way, he erroneously charges CW with aiding "Israeli attacks."

Yahni writes:

Israeli attacks on dissenting voices is not limited to NGOs, but, with the assistance of right-wing non-profit organizations, this attack also includes critical voices in the Israel academy, such as Neve Gordon and Oren Yiftachel, who the Campus Watch website describes as "token Jews."

Romirowsky's August, 2008, article, "In Academia, Hiring Token Jews," never questions the Jewish identity of Gordon and Yiftachel. Rather, it addresses the political motives behind universities' decision to hire anti-Israeli Jewish scholars as part of "an attempt to appear balanced in the face of charges of anti-Israel biases....Yet many of these Israeli academics have built their reputation on scholarship that is harshly critical not only of Israeli policy, but of Israel's very existence."

These hiring decisions are based on cynical motives:

Middle East studies departments in the United States are tempted to hire anti-Israeli Israelis: they inoculate the employer against charges of anti-Semitism while seemingly legitimizing their claims of ideological balance gained through presenting an Israeli viewpoint. All this is achieved without changing the radical, anti-Israel, Arabist prejudices of their departments.

Romirowsky's argument has nothing at all to do with the authenticity of anyone's religious identity.

Moreover, pace Yahni's unfounded charge, CW is hardly an Israeli organization. It is a project of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia, Pa., USA. I am its director, and I've yet to take an order from anyone in Israel--or anyone connected with the so-called Israel lobby in America.

Nor do we launch "attacks dissenting voices"--a charge with more melodrama than truth. Rather, we critique the intellectual shortcomings of Middle East studies, a field in which dissenters are more easily recognized by their disagreements with the likes of Yahni and the scholars he defends than by their religious affiliations.

(Posted by Winfield Myers)