Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Whose Land Is It Anyway?
by Alice Bach
The Huffington Post
November 29, 2010

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
False allegations of suppressing free speech
False allegations of attacking critics of America's policy in the Middle East
False allegations of being a Zionist organization
False accusations of being part of a lobby or conspiracy
False allegations of connections to other organizations

Campus Watch Responds:

In "Whose Land Is It Anyway," a self-congratulatory, error-ridden Huffington Post essay from November 29, Alice Bach, who teaches religious studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, mischaracterizes Campus Watch, attributes a false quote to it, and presents herself as a stalwart defender of truth victimized by evil conspirators.

Bach is terribly upset by claims that new rules pertaining to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act could prohibit institutions from receiving federal funds should they be found guilty of countenancing anti-Semitism. Such institutions are already subject to rules which forbid discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. But while Bach doesn't seem disturbed by those strictures, the possibility that federal tax dollars may be withheld in the case of anti-Semitism is enough to cause her to bleed almost 1,800 words of purple prose.

Let's take a look at her mentions of CW in the order of their appearance. First:

A large research university, such as the one at which I teach, is the beneficiary of many funds from federal agencies, and could lose this funding if it is found that we have discriminated on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and voluntary compliance cannot be achieved. Thus, if the ZOA's report that anti-Semitism is to be an emendation to Title VI is accurate, once again we shall be in the tactical sights of the Campus Watchers. Anti-Semitism is undoubtedly despicable, but it is miserable to be subjected to false charges of anti-Semitism merely for presenting Palestinian voices.

Actually, it doesn't take governmental action for professors who politicize their subjects to, "be in the tactical sights of Campus Watchers," does it?


How many professors will decide it's not worth the trouble to challenge the narratives of the well-organized Hillel, AIPAC, ZOA, Campus Watch, and other right-wing, pro-Israel groups that descend upon those who teach interpretations different from the Israeli hardline?

CW is neither pro-Israel, per se, nor right-wing. We're opposed to tendentious scholarship and teaching from professors who descend upon those they teach and bully those whose interpretations are different from the academic hardline. Moreover, we are not connected in any way with the organizations with whom she groups us, which are all quite different from and much larger than CW.

And finally, here is Bach at her self-congratulatory (and inaccurate) best:

In spite of the Campus Watch groups, started by Daniel Pipes, in which right-wing student informers report on "pro-Palestinian" lectures, classes, or campus events, many of us persist in trying to offer our students views other than those from Hillel, ZOA, and the newly minted Christians United for Israel (CUFI), CUFI on Campus.

As far as I know (and one would think I might), CW doesn't actually have any groups. We do have allies, of course--sympathetic students and professors tired of and bored by the unified field theory of Middle East studies: America bad; Israel bad; allies bad; West bad; terrorists the downtrodden of the earth; jihad an inner struggle; social woes in the region easy to ignore.

Bach puts quotation marks around the term "pro-Palestinian," which leaves the reader with the impression that she is quoting CW material. She is not: such material doesn't exist, since we've never asked anyone to report on "pro-Palestinian" scholars. CW opposes such biased, tendentious studies, and her use of quotation marks here is misleading and inaccurate.

Note the language Bach employs to describe the dissidents in her world (and dissidents they are, for despite Bach's self-portrait as a brave loner struggling against impossible odds, hers is by far the majority opinion in academe): "right-wing student informers." Right-wing? An epithet in faculty lounges nationwide, spat forth like a curse from our open-minded seeker of truth. Aside from its manifest inaccuracy--one needn't be "right-wing" to tire of distorted teaching--why would the politics of any student matter? Why the opprobrium?

And "informers"--yes, those nefarious schemers lurking in the shadows, scribbling notes to pass to the enemy. This from a self-proclaimed champion of academic freedom? Yet for a certain type of academic leftist, one doesn't simply disagree or hold differing opinions: one spies, goes underground, jabs a dagger in the back. A conservative under every bush.

Yes, you are being watched. Those obscure articles in campus newspapers are now available on the Internet, and they will be harvested. Your syllabi, which you've also posted, will be scrutinized. Your websites will be visited late at night. And to judge from the Campus Watch website, the people who will do the real watching will be none other than your students—those young people who pay hefty tuition fees to sit at your feet. Now they have an address to turn to, should they fall victim to intellectual malpractice. (Martin Kramer, 2002)

(Posted by Winfield Myers)