Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Borderline Views: The Politics of Delegitimization
by David Newman
The Jerusalem Post
February 9, 2010

False allegations of suppressing free speech

Campus Watch Responds:

In a Jerusalem Post column excoriating Israeli activist group Im Tirtzu for having the gall to publicly criticize New Israel Fund (the primary funder for organizations that provided 92% of the information in the Goldstone Report) chairwoman Naomi Hazan, Ben-Gurion University political geography professor David Newman manages to sideswipe Campus Watch. He labels Campus Watch, along with various other organizations, with the oldest smear in the leftist playbook: McCarthyism. As he puts it:

In the past I have been attacked for daring to suggest, on the pages of this newspaper, that the politics of delegitimization practiced in recent years by such organizations such as Campus Watch, IsraCampus and, most recently, NGO Monitor have been a contemporary brand of McCarthyism. But if it was unclear until now, this past week's events have highlighted the fact that there is a concerted campaign on the part of these well-funded organizations to silence and delegitimize anyone who holds pro-peace, pro-human rights positions, views which uphold the very best of democratic and Jewish traditions and for which the State of Israel is rightly proud.

As we have reminded our critics over and over again, Campus Watch does not engage in "McCarthyism," but rather, the analysis and where warranted, criticism of Middle East studies academia. We hold no governmental authority to "silence" anyone, nor would we wish to. As for "delegitimizing" these academics, they manage to do that all by themselves with their shoddy and politicized scholarship. All we do is shed light on statements and material that is readily available to anyone with an Internet connection or the desire to attend academic events.

Later on in his column, Newman dredges up the "McCarthyism" card yet again by expressing outrage that students, whether Israeli or American, be encouraged and, worst of all, allowed to share their impressions of their professors:

At the beginning of this academic year, some university student magazines allowed Im Tirtzu to publish (paid) advertisements requesting that students report to them any critical comment which might be voiced by their lecturers in courses dealing with Israeli politics and society. This is a copy of the vicious, anti-democratic campaign instituted some years ago by Campus Watch in North America, which turns students into spies in the name of a specific political ideology. If this is not McCarthyism, then I don't know what is.

There is nothing "anti-democratic" about students reporting their classroom experiences to the outside world. In fact, it is democracy in action. But in the paranoid, insulated, and arrogant world view of academics such as David Newman, any suggestion of accountability for one's work is tantamout to censorship.

No, Professor Newman, this isn't McCarthyism and no, you don't know what is.

(Posted by Cinnamon Stillwell)