Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Zionist Censorship at Colleges and Universities
by George Salzman
May 12, 2009

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
False accusations of being part of a lobby or conspiracy
False allegations of connections to other organizations

Campus Watch Responds:

George Salzman, an emeritus professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, along with being a self-described "anarchist physicist," is a very confused fellow. In a long, rambling piece on his university-hosted web space, Salzman purports to chronicle "Zionist censorship" at various North American colleges and universities. The problem—aside from the extreme paranoia that causes him to confuse criticism with censorship—is that he can't seem to get his facts straight.

In a section on controversial former Bard College professor and author Joel Kovel, Salzman writes that:

His 2007 book, Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, was taken out of distribution by the University of Michigan Press — normally the distributor of the British publisher, Pluto Press — after pressure by the Zionist Thought Police. StandWithUs/Michigan, a branch of the Campus Watch movement founded by Daniel Pipes, assailed the book, and the Director of the U of M Press, immediately caved in.

Obviously Salzman has gotten various members of the "Zionist Thought Police" confused with each other because StandWithUs, whether in Michigan or beyond, has nothing to do with Campus Watch, let alone being a "branch" thereof. Campus Watch is a project of the Middle East Forum, which was indeed founded by Daniel Pipes.

CW never "assailed" Kovel's book, so we can hardly take credit for causing the University of Michigan Press to "cave in." In fact, CW hasn't produced any "Campus Watch Research," or original articles, on Kovel at all. Instead, we've posted outside articles on the subject, as is our habit, in the "Middle East Studies in the News" section of our website.

Middle East Forum Director of Academic Affairs Winfield Myers set the record straight in the course of correcting yet another sloppy piece—this time by Nora Barrows-Friedman— falsely alleging CW's involvement in the Kovel case:

Joel Kovel is mentioned once in our web log archives, and only as an aside in an entry correcting the radical scholar Howard Zinn's false assertion that the organization StandwithUs is 'an offshoot of Campus Watch.'

It seems that Howard Zinn, Nora Barrows-Friedman, and George Salzman have all been drinking the same Kool-Aid.

But it doesn't end there. This is the footnote accompanying the error-filled section on Kovel:

[7] Kovel's correction. The draft of my article had the following incorrect account of the incident with Kovel's book and the Univ of Michigan Press: 'His 2007 book, Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, was at first not going to be distributed by the University of Michigan Press — normally the distributor of the British publisher, Pluto Press — because of threats of legal action by Alan Dershowitz's attorney. However, that initiative of "mad-dog Dershowitz" was unsuccessful: Kovel's book is being distributed in the U.S. as though it were just an ordinary book.'

Following his account, Kovel added, 'That's what I know happened, because I was in the thick of it. But if what you say about Dershowitz is also true I definitely would want to know about it,' to which I responded, [sic] 'Your note immediately put doubts in my mind about my memory, which is not that reliable. I'm sure that I learned about an event with Dershowitz threatening legal action, a threat that failed to suppress a book, but it might have been a threat against a publisher of one of [former DePaul professor Norman] Finkelstein's books.'

Salzman's eagerness to defame the dreaded "Zionists" first led him to create a story about Alan Dershowitz's involvement and then when that backfired, to make up another one about Campus Watch. To say that his memory "is not that reliable" is an understatement; Salzman is living in a fantasy world.

(Posted by Cinnamon Stillwell)