Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Targeted for Protesting Israel
by Brian Napoletano
Socialist Worker
June 22, 2010

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
False allegations of suppressing free speech

Campus Watch Responds:

Brian Napoletano, in a June 22, 2010, article in Socialist Worker (yes, it's still around), mischaracterized Campus Watch's mission when he wrote:

Organizations such as Campus Watch, a Middle East Forum project, have already invested substantial resources into identifying and attacking scholars who criticize the Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinian people, and they are still attempting to characterize the growing discontent with Israel's illegal occupation as spontaneous outbursts of 'anti-Semitism.'

Let's deal with each old Left buzzword in order:

First, CW does not, in fact, "attack" anyone for any reason. We critique scholars of the Middle East for politicized scholarship, biased presentations of their subjects, and other epistemological and pedagogical errors. For many on the far left, disagreement comes only in the form of "attacks," as if all who deign to differ with their interpretation of history are necessarily militant by nature. The fruits of false consciousness, one assumes.

Second, we do not even critique scholars who "criticize the Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinian people." Our aims are not political, nor are they petty. Unlike writers for Socialist Worker, however, we critique politically biased scholarship that somehow finds fault with only one side of the Arab-Israeli conflict while turning a blind eye toward atrocities committed by the other. We seek balance in scholarship because that quality, among others, separates true scholarly writing from propaganda.

Third, CW is far more reluctant to accuse anyone of anti-Semitism than Napoletano is to charge us and others with doing so. But on rare occasions when we decide that the charge is warranted, under no circumstances do we mischaracterize objections to Israeli policies as anti-Semitism. Such a charge against us is unfounded and therefore unprovable.

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(Posted by Winfield Myers)