We Couldn't Have Said it Better
"If misinformation is both a cause and a consequence of political passion, then good teaching is the antidote. Good teaching, in turn, requires the presence on campus of scholars who exemplify both academic excellence and nonpartisan professionalism. And it requires students that are unwilling to permit their political passions to get in the way of a good education."
Ron Hassner, Helen Diller Family Chair in Israel Studies at UC Berkeley, on the results of his survey of 230 UC Berkeley undergraduates, which showed that the most passionate students about the "Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories" were the most uninformed about the subject and overconfident; The Times of Israel, November 25, 2019. (link to source)
"Then, in 1978, the entire field of Middle Eastern Studies was revolutionized by the late professor of English comparative literature at Columbia University, Edward Said, with the publication of his book, 'Orientalism.' The treatise was that no one could speak with any degree of scholarship and authenticity about the Middle East unless he or she was a native of the region (i.e., an Arab or a Muslim). . . . A cannon of almost biblical proportion developed. Edward Said was the grand master, and his disciples include (among many others) Rashid Khalidi, Hamid Dabashi, and Joseph Massad at Columbia, and Hatem Bazian, the founder of Students for Justice in Palestine, which has known links to terrorist organizations."
Sarah N. Stern, founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), in the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS), August 21, 2019. (link to source)
"Universities are supposed to foster critical thinking skills, but critical thinking involves open-minded analysis of the merits of multiple arguments. [San Francisco State University] Professor [Rabab] Abdulhadi, and all other professors who have transformed their departments into antisemitic indoctrination centers, are destroying what it means to be an honest intellectual."
Zac Schildcrout, campus adviser and online editor for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), in the Algemeiner;
July 17, 2019. (link to source)
"There has been an exponential growth of tenured positions and well-funded Middle East Studies departments. But this trend has fostered a new orthodoxy of opinion about the subject. Far from a bastion of impartial study, these departments became a preserve of those devoted to whitewashing radical Islam, bashing Israeli policies, critiquing and undermining support for Zionism, and supporting the Palestinian Arab war to destroy the Jewish state. In Mideast studies, only one point of view about Israel is welcome."
Jonathan Tobin, Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) editor-in-chief, in "Is There Room in the Academy for Honest Scholarship on Israel?"; JNS, May 23, 2019. (link to source)
"[I]nstead of reinforcing the best practices of traditional education while generating fresh approaches . . . the expansion of Jewish studies—which did also give rise to much fine scholarship and spirited teaching—witnessed a decline in Jewish moral confidence. For the most part, younger scholars followed academic trends, including those openly hostile to Judaism, while senior scholars shirked their duty behind the excuse of academic neutrality."
From the memoirs-in-progress of Ruth R. Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University; Mosaic Magazine, May 3, 2019. (link to source)
"[A]nti-Israel activists in the audience will certainly spread the film's message while they take courses on the Mideast conflict. It also suggests that academic departments support a deeply one-sided, anti-Israel narrative, which can discourage students who hold a different view from speaking out."
Debra Glazer, StandWithUs Orange County representative, on UC Irvine hosting a screening of the propaganda film "1948: Creation and Catastrophe," with a panel moderated by anti-Israel Middle Eastern history professor Mark LeVine; Jewish Journal, February 27, 2019. (link to source)
"What we're seeing is that fashionable anti-Israel ideologies on college campuses are trickling down to the high schools. Yesterday's college students are today's high school teachers. Misinformation learned in biased college classrooms is now being taught in social-studies classes in public schools."
Andrea Levin, executive director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), in "Analysts Warn of Anti-Israel, 'Negative Feedback Loop' in American High Schools, Colleges"; JNS, January 17, 2019. (link to source)
"Islamophobia has become a standard topic in Middle East studies and Islamic studies courses, often presented in conferences and publications as a great threat to the well-being of Muslims in North America. In reality, government statistics on religion-oriented hate crimes indicate that Jews are by far the most targeted group -- and many of these cases are perpetrated by Muslims. Muslims are targets in a small minority of cases."
Philip Carl Salzman, professor of anthropology at McGill University, in "'Islamophobia' Invention has Served its Purpose Spectacularly Well"; PJ Media, January 15, 2019. (link to source)
"[I]t is but one in a series of events where major US universities recognized and promoted pro-regime views and individuals, despite widespread criticism of human rights supporters and legitimate Iranian dissidents of all backgrounds. . . . There is no shortage of such academics, influencers, pundits, analysts, and pro-regime sympathizers affecting the discourse in the direction of Iran."
Irina Tsukerman, human rights and national security lawyer, on a University of Maryland poll conducted by researcher and University of Tehran analyst Ebrahim Mohseni whose results are favorable to the Iranian regime; Diario Judio, February 20, 2018. (link to source)
"If Columbia University's Center for Palestine Studies gets any more anti-Israel than it already is, it will have to register as a foreign agent."
Malcolm A. Kline, executive director of Accuracy in Academia, on the AMCHA Initiative's research demonstrating consistent anti-Israel bias among faculty in Columbia University's Center for Palestine Studies and Middle East studies departments; Accuracy in Academia, January 2, 2018. (link to source)
"What is of great concern here is whether Oxford University would have acted similarly if it was another professor who was not perhaps sitting in the Qatar chair, and who had no political affiliations? The consensus among academics – both in Oxford and outside – is that Oxford should have suspended Ramadan as soon as the allegations were first made. Westminster has expelled politicians for much lesser crimes. And you'd expect a university like Oxford to be one step ahead in putting down the moral foot."
Ghanem Nuseibeh, senior visiting fellow at King's College, London, on Oxford's response to charges of rape and sexual assault against Tariq Ramadan, the Qatari-funded H.H. Shaykh Hamad bin Khalifa Chair in Contemporary Islamic Thought; "An Oxford Quad Falls Silent Amid Tariq Ramadan Rape Allegations"; The National, November 9, 2017. (link to source)
"The anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is notorious for campus violence and disruption directed at Israelis and pro-Israeli students and faculty. . . . The teaming of the BDS and Antifa [anti-fascist] movements is the single most dangerous development I have witnessed in the many years I have been covering campus BDS. Antifa will give BDS even more muscle to intimidate and threaten those who oppose the BDS agenda."
William A. Jacobson, Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and founder of the Legal Insurrection blog, on the co-founding of the Campus Antifascist Network by Stanford University professor and BDS activist David Palumbo-Liu; Legal Insurrection, August 17, 2017. (link to source)
"The process [of indoctrinating youth with anti-Israel, pro-Islamist material] often starts with federally-funded university centers for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, many of which have also been generously supported for years by multi-million dollar gifts from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states, and are top-heavy with faculty at the forefront of the anti-Israel movement, and who favor anti-Western perspectives."
Miriam F. Elman, associate professor of political science at Syracuse University, in "Palestinian Propaganda Is Infiltrating U.S. Public Schools"; The Algemeiner, August 7, 2017. (link to source)
"MESA, for all its grandstanding, is fast becoming a hate group rather than a true academic umbrella, and universities themselves have become unanchored. If knowledge is the true goal, perhaps it's time to go back to the basics: recognize that political theories can never supplant reality, free discourse means dealing with people and ideas who disagree, and people only boycott when they know they cannot win on the merits of their own arguments."
Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, on the extreme politicization of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA); "The Hypocrisy of the Middle East Studies Association," AEIdeas, June 30, 2017. (link to source)
"[Juan] Cole has earned a reputation for vitriolic criticism of the United States and even more vitriolic hatred of Israel. He is a poster child for everything that is wrong with Middle Eastern studies in US universities."
Charles Lipson, University of Chicago political science professor, commenting on an article from University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole titled, "Ariana Grande Understands Counterterrorism Better Than Jim Mattis"; ZipDialog, June 1, 2017. (link to source)
"Georgetown University is the home of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and its Bridge Initiative, both of which label energetically to propagate the fiction that honest analysis of the motivating ideology of jihad terrorists is 'Islamophobia,' and to smear and demonize all who engage in it. And they're doing it with a massive bankroll from a Muslim Brotherhood organization [the International Institute of Islamic Thought] dedicated to 'eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.'"
Robert Spencer, author and director of Jihad Watch, on the Muslim Brotherhood-linked International Institute of Islamic Thought giving $750,000 to Georgetown University in 2015; Jihad Watch, May 15, 2017. (link to source)
"The movement to remove 'non-political' is designed to make it easier for the organization not only to condemn Israeli policies but also, perhaps, to work collectively for the elimination of the Jewish state."
Cary Nelson, former AAUP president and prof. of English at the Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, arguing (contra U. of London visiting prof. Neve Gordon) that the Middle East Studies Association should continue describing itself as "non-political" in its bylaws; Chronicle of Higher Education, March 6, 2017. (link to source)
"MESA [Middle East Studies Association] hardly lifts a finger to condemn the almost total ban among many states—including those subject to Trump's proposed ban—regarding Israelis. . . . Most ironic, however, is that MESA appears ready to embrace if not endorse BDS—effectively banning Israeli scholars and students and denying access to Israel with university grants—and yet opposes Trump's ban. That shows that intellectual consistency—something in which academics should take pride—is absent among MESA's leadership and probably the vast majority of its membership which now unapologetically places politics above scholarship."
Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), in "The Unbearable Hypocrisy of MESA"; Commentary, February 8, 2017. (link to source)
"You have to find a strategy that makes you stronger and makes the enemy weaker and hitting them [Israelis] frankly doesn't make them weaker, not this people. . . . They are way ahead of us. The Arab countries are sitting there, fighting this medieval Sunni-Shia stupid conflict, and Israel is in the 21st century, doing deals and technology and military hardware with the whole world."
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, in an interview with the Arab Weekly in Beirut; January 8, 2017. (link to source)
"The boycott movement's most prominent national and international advocates have all urged the actual elimination of the Jewish state. Although the majority of boycott supporters may not realize it, denying the right to political self-determination to 8 million Israelis is an anti-Semitic project. . . . [T]he agenda to abolish the State of Israel, which is fundamental to the BDS campaign, certainly is anti-Semitic."
"The Reality of Academic Boycotts," by MLA [Modern Language Association] Members for Scholars' Rights, written in response to a memo titled "Myths and Facts" published by the MLA Members for Justice in Palestine. December, 2016. (link to source)
"[Martin] Kramer's warnings about the politicization of the field have been more than amply validated by the steady movement of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) toward casting off its frayed commitment to being a 'nonpolitical' organization, and endorsing—it has not done so yet—the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel."
Jonathan Marks, professor of politics at Ursinus College, reviewing Middle East scholar and Shalem College professor Martin Kramer's new book, "The War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East"; Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), October 18, 2016. (link to source)
"Interestingly, the web page advertising the course specifies that it's open to all students and that 'no prior knowledge is necessary.' Judging by the themes examined in course facilitator Paul Hadweh's course, along with the set textual readings, he might just as well have said 'prior knowledge unwelcome.' In this course, students are expected to behave like blank pages upon which an uncontested, single truth is engraved – and anyone who says otherwise must, by definition, be a racist, a colonial sympathizer, or a Zionist."
Ben Cohen, Jewish News Service (JNS) columnist and senior editor of the Tower Magazine, on the University of California, Berkeley's controversial student-led course, "Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis"; JNS.org, September 21, 2016. (link to source)
"[I]t comes with little surprise that many of [Edward] Said's disciples currently teaching at U.S. universities are also supporters of the BDS movement, as that movement is inherently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. Yet it is extremely troubling that a number of the Said disciples, and the pro-BDS programs organized by their respective Middle East studies centers, are supported by U.S. taxpayer dollars under Title VI of HEOA [Higher Education Opportunity Act]."
Jennifer Dekel, director of research and communications at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), on reports that programs and faculty in the Middle East National Resource Centers funded under Title VI advance the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement; The Weekly Standard, September 13, 2016. (link to source)
"The Turkish academic purge raises a test for the anti-Israel academic boycotters. Will they devote themselves this coming academic season to an academic boycott of Turkish Universities, in addition to other majority-Muslim nations where minorities are repressed and academic freedom stifled?"
William A. Jacobson, Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and founder of the Legal Insurrection blog, on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's post-coup purge of Turkish academics; Legal Insurrection, July 20, 2016. (link to source)
"[Bernard] Lewis's honesty and rejection of sycophancy are partly what have earned him so many enemies, not only in university departments of Middle East studies and in the corridors of Western officialdom but also among Islamic intellectuals of the left who cling stubbornly to their blame-America-first shibboleths in order to avoid any criticism of their own societies."
Amir Taheri, Iranian-born author, journalist, and commentator, marking the occasion of the 100th birthday of Bernard Lewis, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University; "The Imperialism of Western Guilt," Mosaic Magazine, June 20, 2016. (link to source)
"Time after time, Western institutions lend academic credibility and a platform to extremists who operate unchallenged through the guise of interfaith dialogue. By legitimizing a die-hard regime supporter like [visiting scholar Ali Akbar] Alikhani as a voice of Shia Islam, Harvard is betraying the thousands of authentically moderate Iranian Muslims working to free their faith from the tyranny of the violent Iranian theocracy."
Sam Westrop, Americans for Peace and Tolerance research director, on Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies employing University of Tehran associate professor and Iranian regime proponent Ali Akbar Alikhani as a visiting scholar; Washington Free Beacon, June 2, 2016. (link to source)
"I have loved my life. I have had a rewarding career. Thirty-two books translated into twenty-nine languages isn't bad. I have explored places and cultures and been able to play with fifteen languages. Even those who dislike me or with whom I have heartily disagreed are usually interesting and sometimes even stimulating. I have a family and devoted friends whom I cherish. I have been, and am, very fortunate."
Bernard Lewis, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, in the closing lines of his 2012 autobiography, "Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian," p. 349. Lewis celebrated his 100th birthday May 31, 2016. (link to source)
"[A]nti-Zionist academics exist in a self-sustaining world of conspiracy theories and outlandish interpretations of history, and that when challenged, their stock-in-trade response is to cry 'Persecution!' . . . We and only we are right, their logic goes, and therefore we are morally justified in ignoring the rules that apply to ordinary mortals."
Ben Cohen, Jewish News Service (JNS) columnist and senior editor of the Tower Magazine, in "Lies, Damn Lies, and Faculty Lies"; JNS.org, April 21, 2016. (link to source)
"One might think that the phenomenon of contemporary genocidal anti-Semitism in the Arab and broader Muslim world would be deemed worthy of some attention in Middle East studies departments; but one would be wrong. It is the exception among such departments to address the issue and, for example, an undergraduate in most universities which offer Middle East studies degrees can earn such a degree without the matter ever having been addressed in any of his or her classes."
Kenneth Levin, psychiatrist, historian, and author of "The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege," at FrontPage Magazine; April 15, 2016. (link to source)
"We may be witnessing a broadening of the anti-Israel propaganda effort. What once was common only on college and university campuses now appears to be working its way into public high schools and elementary schools."
Jonathan Levin, attorney and former counterterrorism analyst, in "Anti-Israel Propaganda Reaches Public Schools"; Legal Insurrection, April 12, 2016 (link to source)
"We . . . believe that real pressure to shut down lectures and events, block speakers, and silence faculty or students in recent months has come mainly from BDS-supporters on campuses. . . . Those who believe in academic freedom and free speech need to understand the real threat posed to reasoned intellectual exchange on our campuses."
Kenneth Waltzer, former director of Jewish Studies at Michigan State University, in "BDS Scholars Defend the Indefensible"; The Times of Israel, March 13, 2016. (link to source)
"The interesting thing is that phobia means an irrational fear. People who are Islamophobic probably don't consider themselves Islamophobic. They say, 'Well, my fear is rational. . . . Look at who's committing all these bombings. Look at who can't stop fighting in the Middle East.'"
Ryan M. Calder, an assistant professor in Islamic studies and sociology at John Hopkins University, speaking on a panel about how to combat "Islamophobia"; JHU Office of Multicultural Affairs, February 16, 2016. (link to source)
"This is at the core of what makes [UC Riverside professor] Reza Aslan probably dangerous in discussions about Islam, terrorism, and human rights in Muslim countries. He aggressively helps to enforce an overbearing political correctness among intellectuals, politicians, and media about Islam which makes it nearly impossible to criticize certain strands of bad ideas in the world without being labeled an Islamophobe. . . . In a post-Enlightenment world, any idea itself should be subject to criticism."
David Pakman, television, radio, and internet host, on UC Riverside creative writing professor Reza Aslan; The David Pakman Show, January 11, 2016. (link to source)
"To be politically correct is to lie, and political correctness about Islam can be dangerous. Parents are tired of the lies, and they're tired of double standards. Protesting parents aren't phobic. They want truth and fairness. A true education requires nothing less."
David French, National Review staff writer, on the accusation that parents who raise objections to the biased or inappropriate teaching of Islam in public schools are fearful bigots; National Review Online, December 22, 2015. (link to source)
"Political correctness in academia means that there are certain things which you can't say even if the evidence and the documents tell you that that's what happened. . . . The problem is the moment you start paring down the truth of what the documents are telling you, you end up with history that isn't true. You end up with a distorted view of what actually happened. I think this happens in some Western academics' approach to the Middle East."
Benny Morris, Ben-Gurion University history professor, from an interview with Northern Michigan University professor Gabriel Noah Brahm; Fathom Journal, Autumn, 2015. (link to source)
"I have a hard time believing they are going to study Sharia [Islamic law] in any critical way that exposes its antipathy, its direct contradiction of the U.S. Constitution in so many ways. Then we have to ask – have wealthy U.S. Christians or Jewish donors ever been permitted to endow an academic center for the study of the Talmud or the Catholic Canon in Saudi Arabia? It only goes one way."
Clare Lopez, vice-president of the Center for Security Policy, on Yale University's Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization, which was founded with a $10 million donation from a Saudi Arabian banker; Gulf News Journal, October 29, 2015. (link to source)
"[The Middle East Studies Association is an] extremely unfriendly place for anyone who has anything to do with Israel other than to criticize it as an apartheid, racist state. The Syrian Studies Association does not boycott Syria. I wouldn't boycott Saudi Arabia, even though I don't agree with many of its policies. That's not my job as an academic."
Norman Stillman, director of Judaic studies at the University of Oklahoma, in "Boycott Israel? Faculty Caught Up in BDS Dispute," J. (Jewish News Weekly of Northern California), October 15, 2015. (link to source)
"There is great value in teaching children the history of the Islamic faith and its basic beliefs. If the public doesn't know who Mohammed is — much less the difference between Sunni and Shia Islam — it's much more difficult for them to understand the world and our jihadist challenge. There is no value, however, in skewing that instruction to be respectful of one faith and dismissive of others, including the Christian faith of the vast majority of the students."
David French, National Review staff writer, on the controversy surrounding the teaching of Islamic history in Tennessee public schools; "Can Tennessee Seventh Graders Be Required to Declare That There Is No God but Allah?" National Review Online, September 10, 2015. (link to source)
"Professors, think tanks, Middle East studies programs, films, student conferences [who have demonized Israel] . . . have forcefully indoctrinated American students (and the media) into believing that the earth is flat. Now, anyone who does not hew to such politically correct junk science, will be physically intimidated, jeered, cursed, economically punished, censored, and possibly fired."
Phyllis Chesler, author and emerita professor of psychology at the City University of New York, in an interview with Breitbart News; "The Growing Cognitive War Against Israel," June 3, 2015. (link to source)
"[I]n the Western social sciences, there's a holy trinity that tries to explain all social phenomena through the lens of one of three analytical categories: race, class, and gender. . . . And I often see many colleagues who want to push very hard against the idea that ISIS is a religious movement or that Islam has anything to do with the Islamic State. . . . [I]f you look at the cultural production, the intellectual production, the legal and theological production of ISIS, which is plentiful on the Web, there is no question that this is a movement that's drawing on a very particular strain or trend within the Islamic intellectual history, legal history, theological history."
Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern studies and director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia at Princeton University, speaking at the Ethics & Public Policy Center's May 2015 Faith Angle Forum; "The Islamic State: Understanding its Ideology and Theology," May 3-5, 2015. (link to source)
"The desire to avoid an Orientalist bias generated an aversion to making judgments, except in contexts where the Middle East may have outperformed Europe, such as that of agricultural or scientific productivity in the early Middle Ages. As a result, Middle East experts avoid identifying deficiencies and do not explain their causes."
Paul Rivlin, senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University and professor in the Interdisciplinary Program in Philosophy and Jewish Thought at Shalem College in Jerusalem; "The Blame Game, Part 2," "Iqtisada: Middle East Economy," 5, no. 3 (March 19, 2015). (link to source)
"[T]hose who use this word ['Islamophobia'] are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology. The charge of 'Islamophobia' is used to silence people."
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in an interview with the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg that took place prior to the January 7, 2015 Islamic terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo; The Atlantic, January 16, 2015. (link to source)
"Apparently, they believe that the First Amendment protects them against the unappetizing prospect of hearing views different than their own. . . . When Middle East Studies centers refuse to provide a podium for speakers who challenge their anti-Israel politics, they are the ones who stifle free speech on campus."
Kenneth L. Marcus, president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, responding to an op-ed from UCLA's Sondra Hale and UC Hastings law student Bekah Wolf, in which they equate the campaign to hold Middle East studies programs accountable for providing the "diversity of perspectives" required by Title-VI federal funding with stifling free speech; Letter to the editor, The Hill, December 8, 2014. (link to source)
"The myth of the professor conducting research, unfettered by political or social considerations—indeed—enwrapped in the warm embrace of academic freedom, emerging from solitude only to shore up bright young neurons and speak her conscience, is regrettably common and is, moreover, encouraged by the profession itself. In reality, one finds in academia as many careerists keen on fitting in with prevailing professional cultures as in any other job."
Mark S. Wagner, associate professor of Arabic at Louisiana State University, reviewing "The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel"; Telos, Winter 2014. (link to source)
"MESA [the Middle East Studies Association] meets once every three years in Washington, to demonstrate its relevance to the powers that be. University-based Middle East centers feed at the taxpayers' trough, and so it's important to show up every few years at the doorstep of Congress, in an effort to prove that academe is 'relevant' to the national interest."
Martin Kramer, president of Shalem College, on the occasion of MESA's 2014 annual conference; "Me and My MESA," Commentary Magazine, November 23 2014. (link to source)
"To say that ISIS doesn't have anything to do with Islam is just the statement of an ignoramus or an apologist. There is support for the things that ISIS does inside the Koran. There's support for things like beheading and different exemplary punishments that you can easily find."
David Cook, associate professor of religion at Rice University, as quoted in "Is ISIS a Faith-based Terrorist Group?" by Christopher Massie; Columbia Journalism Review, September 17, 2014. (link to source)
"[W]hile we ought to fiercely insist on protecting our scholars' freedom to say whatever they please, we should also insist that speech, like action, have consequences. . . . Until academics live up to this obvious condition, until they realize that, like the rest of us, they operate in a community and enjoy no special license to speak and act with utter impunity, until they understand that public engagement is not a privilege but a responsibility, they will continue to find themselves marginalized."
Liel Leibovitz, visiting assistant professor of media, culture and communication at New York University, commenting on the Steven Salaita affair; "Tweets Cost a Professor His Tenure, and That's a Good Thing," Tablet Magazine, August 29, 2014. (link to source)
"[P]olitical struggles are ultimately battles about ideas and their meaning. What begins in the universities and enjoys the prestige associated with them filters into journalism, the highbrow journals of opinion, the editorials of the media, and the policy think tanks in Washington. In the process, it fosters at best a language of moral equivalence regarding Israel and Hamas. It is also reflected in courses taught in the universities, which in turn have an impact on coming generations."
Jeffrey Herf, professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park, on the anti-Israel ideas behind the open letter to President Obama and Congress signed by "Historians Against the War" denouncing Israel's actions in Operation Protective Edge; "A Pro-Hamas Left Emerges," The American Interest, August 26, 2014. (link to source)
"What state of intellectual life have we reached in the United States when a reputable American university press – Stanford University Press – sponsors a blog about Israel and Gaza and publishes only one-sided essays critical of Israel? . . . Is it appropriate for a University Press to sponsor one-sided political opinion? Don't we have opinion journals for that? What does it do for the name of the university?"
Kenneth Waltzer, director of Jewish studies at Michigan State University, in "Stanford University Agitprop Press"; The Times of Israel, August 1, 2014. (link to source)
Academics today who cover Islamic civilizations and history almost uniformly teach that early Islamic rule was enlightened. If they cover the jizyah and 'dhimmitude' at all, they are soft-pedaled. Rather than conquer by the sword, most residents of those areas brought into the Islamic Empire joined voluntarily, it is said. . . . Perhaps it is time for a little less hagiography toward Islamic history in American and European institutions, and a little more common sense."
Michael Rubin, senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, in "Islamic State's Reality Check on Dhimmitude"; Commentary Magazine, July 21, 2014. (link to source)
"[T]he critique of Orientalism has often resulted in a set of taboos and restrictions that inhibit critical thinking. They pre-emptively tell us to stop noticing things that are right under our noses, particularly the profound cleavages in Middle Eastern societies—struggles over class and sect, the place of religion in politics, the relationship between men and women; struggles that are only partly related to their confrontation with the West and with Israel."
Adam Shatz, a visiting professor at New York University's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, in "Writers or Missionaires," an essay adapted from the 2014 Hilda B. Silverman Memorial Lecture at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies; The Nation, July 15, 2014. (link to source)
"Ajami's greatest sin in the eyes of many in his field was that he took his own people to task, summoned them to acknowledge the non-Arabs in their midst and valorize the non-Muslims among them, challenged them to take stock of their own failings and pointed them in the direction of the unthinkable in Middle East Studies quarters: that Arabs and Muslims are indeed masters of their own fate, proficient at cracking their whips at their own and skilled in the fundaments of their own despotism and brutality and decadence, without the benefit of Western perfidy and scheming."
Franck Salameh, associate professor of Near Eastern studies at Boston College, recalling the late Fouad Ajami in "The Lights Are Dimmer over Middle East Studies Tonight"; Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2014. (link to source)
"According to many of my colleagues, an orientalist is a person who writes about the Middle East from a 'western perspective,' which is when one does not unquestioningly support and affirm Middle Eastern and Islamic culture. This does not mean that westerners are excluded from writing about the Middle East and Islam. A westerner can do so successfully so long as their research is void of criticism. Write anything else and you will find yourself labeled an orientalist and no graduate course will touch your work with a ten-foot pole."
M.G. Oprea, PhD candidate in French linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin, in "The Closing of the Academic Mind"; The Federalist, April 21, 2014. (link to source)
"The Middle East studies elite in America is responsible for educating the public and providing advice and guidance to the U.S. government. . . . Unfortunately, because of past influence generated by petrodollars and . . . sympathies to the Muslim Brotherhood and [the] Iranian regime, America was failed by its specialized scholarship on the region, at least the largest segment of this academic community."
Walid Phares, adjunct professor of jihadist global strategies at the National Defense University, discussing his book, "The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid," at a Middle East Forum event; March 25, 2014. (link to source)
"I have seen the theoretically-sloppy, politically-charged moniker of 'Islamophobe' tossed around with alarming ease by some in our field, who label as 'racist' academics whose sole 'mistake' is to approach Muhammad as Albert Schweitzer did Jesus. This often ends with an effigy of the (usually) white, Western, male . . . 'Orientalist' sacrificed at the postcolonial altar, with any serious academic engagement neatly deflected by appeals to 'identity.'"
Carl J. Stoneham, a Ph.D. student preparing for candidacy in the graduate program in religious studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, commenting on the state of Islamic studies following a public disagreement between University of Rochester Jewish studies professor Aaron W. Hughes and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Islamic studies professor Omid Safi; Bulletin for the Study of Religion, February 5, 2014. (link to source)
"Another thing that made him [Barry Rubin] unhappy was the politicization of his field of Middle Eastern studies. He remarked that when he was a student, he had teachers that strongly disagreed with his pro-Israel politics, but never allowed that to affect their evaluation of his work. Today, he thought, that would not be the case. And today, someone like Barry, despite his qualifications, would have a hard time being hired in a Middle East studies department."
Vic Rosenthal, editor of the Fresno Zionism blog, in a tribute to the late Middle East scholar Barry Rubin (pictured); Fresno Zionism, February 3, 2014. (link to source)
"There is no university more supportive of the Arab nationalist (historically), Islamist, and anti-Israel line in the United States than Georgetown's programs on Middle East studies. Every conference it holds on the Middle East is ridiculously one-sided. The university has received millions of dollars in funds from Arab states, and it houses the most important center in the United States that has advocated support for a pro-Islamist policy."
Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, in "How to Turn a Campus into an Indoctrination Center," PJ Media, September 27, 2013. (link to source)
"[B]ecause Lustick is a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, one of our most prestigious universities, and because the New York Times has chosen to amplify his view, it is worth considering as a symptom of the depravity of the anti-Israeli left, as what passes for sober commentary in that crowd."
Jonathan Marks, professor of politics at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, on University of Pennsylvania political science professor Ian Lustick's New York Times op-ed, "Two-State Illusion"; Commentary Magazine, September 15, 2013. (link to source)
"[I]f you look at Middle East studies, you will not find a single person in the faculties in the Middle East studies departments that works on terrorism. Some of them dabble in it, but nobody specializes in it."
Thomas Hegghammer, Zuckerman Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI) in Oslo, on the refusal of Middle East studies departments to hire scholars who study terrorism in spite of the clear threat posed by terrorists. Quoted in Beth McMurtrie, "Terrorism Experts Are Sought by the Public but Not by Academe," Chronicle of Higher Education, June 24, 2013. (link to source)
"[I]t is important to study the Middle East, but not in the way that it is currently being done. It needs to be done in a way that you actually learn; that you actually gain some insight, a marketplace of ideas. It shouldn't be only one opinion. And oh, you can't challenge it if you don't have a Ph.D. That's not how it works. Students also have academic freedom and my academic freedom should be respected just as much as anybody else."
Rachel Avraham, graduate student in Middle Eastern studies at Ben-Gurion University and content manager for United with Israel, speaking at an Israel Academia Monitor conference in Tel Aviv on May 3, 2013. (link to source)
"[Edward] Said made clear that his indictment was aimed not at this or that individual but at 'Orientalists' per se, which, as we have seen, was a category in which he included all Westerners who said anything about the Orient. . . . Why did Said choose to paint with such a broad brush? Because he knew that if he had asserted merely that some Westerners wrote pejoratively or condescendingly or misleadingly about the East while others did not, his argument would have lost much of its provocation."
Joshua Muravchik, a fellow at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, on the late Columbia University professor Edward Said and his book, "Orientalism," which continues to negatively influence the field of Middle East studies; World Affairs Journal, March/April 2013. (link to source)
"Apologists for brutal regimes invariably emulate the habits of the regime they serve. The Leveretts, in their book, and in their rejoinder to my review show they have all too well picked up the habits—incivility, scandalous personal attacks in lieu of principled political discourse, the belief that repeating lies turns them into truths, the embrace of a paranoid-conspiratorial worldview—of their 'interlocutors' in Iran."
Abbas Milani, Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford, on Flynt Leverett, professor of international affairs at Penn State, and his wife Hillary Mann Leverett, senior lecturer at Yale's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and their book, "Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran"; The New Republic, March 28, 2013. (link to source)
"I have known such academics, and heard of many more, who parrot the Hamas playbook and identify with a broad coalition of victim-hoods. I wonder what prompts them to bestow the angelic halo of 'freedom fighter' upon satanic barbarians. . . . Perhaps it is as simple as the academic seeing the terrorist as a person of action, something he aspires to be in his Mitty'esque fantasies – the equivalent of wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt under the tweeds."
Mark S. Miller, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach, CA, on academia's penchant for romanticizing terrorism; "When Evil is in the Eyes of the Beholder," The Times of Israel, December 30, 2012. (link to source)
"It is appalling that CCSU [Central Connecticut State University] students were used as props in a public relations campaign to legitimize one of the most murderous regimes in the world today. I seriously doubt that any professor at CCSU, or at any other college or university in America, would arrange a dinner for students with a kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan. And yet dining with a genocidal anti-Semite who wants to kill six million Jews is perfectly acceptable."
Jay Bergman, professor of history at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), objecting to CCSU political science professor Ghassan El-Eid accepting the Iranian government's invitation to bring a group of his students to New York to dine with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2012; The Litchfield County Times, November 13, 2012. (link to source)
"It has become increasingly apparent in the last decade . . . that the most serious problem faced on campus is not from student activities, but from faculty. While the pro-Israel community has focused on incidents outside the classroom, anti-Israel faculty have assumed dominant roles in Middle East studies departments throughout the country. These professors, along with like-minded faculty from other disciplines, habitually abuse their academic freedom and have turned their classrooms into bully pulpits to advance the Arab Lobby agenda."
American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE) executive director Mitchell Bard and campus liaison Jeff Dawson in the AICE study, "Israel and the Campus: The Real Story," Fall 2012. (link to source)
"Those scholars who have the courage to deal with this issue [Islamic anti-Semitism] fear that they will not get jobs, or get promoted, or get published in the right journals. . . . If you go against the grain, you're out."
Charles Small, Koret Distinguished Scholar at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and founding director of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, during a lecture at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research in which he addressed academia's aversion to studying Islamic anti-Semitism; The Canadian Jewish News, October 2, 2012. (link to source)
"There are similarities between China studies and Middle East studies. . . . As Chinese money affects China studies, Middle Eastern money—particularly Gulf money—affects Middle East studies."
Jay Nordlinger, senior editor for National Review, in "Scholars with Spine: Notes from the Field of China Studies," August 18, 2012. (link to source)
"Today a generation of tenured Saidians, locked for life in a decaying intellectual fashion, work hard to produce more Saidians."
Robert Fulford, Toronto author and journalist, on the baleful influence of Columbia University professor Edward Said's book "Orientalism"; "Robert Fulford on Bernard Lewis: The Most Eagerly Consulted Historian in the World," National Post, July 28, 2012. (link to source)
"'Orientalism' is the shield erected around all the countries of the world to say that only the official court historians may explain the actions of the court, and the outsider must not question it. It is a shield of ignorance and despotism, a shield for the abuse of women, for slavery, racism, genocide and all manner of things. It is a shield against critique, the same critique that was responsible for the advancement of the West and the advancement of the concept of individual and human rights."
Seth J. Frantzman, a PhD researcher at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, on the distortion of the term "Orientalist" that originated with Columbia University professor Edward Said and was adopted by Middle East studies scholars in the West; The Jerusalem Post, July 4, 2012. (link to source)
"It is an unfortunate reality that in Middle Eastern studies sometimes politics trumps academic ideals."
Kamran Scot Aghaie, associate professor of Islamic and Iranian history and director of the Center for Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas at Austin, in the wake of the university's decision to cancel a book project over Arab authors threatening to pull out because of the inclusion of two Israeli contributors; CNN's Schools of Thought blog, June 18, 2012. (link to source)
"Middle Eastern studies in this country is dominated by the Saidians. The situation is very bad. Saidianism has become an orthodoxy that is enforced with a rigor unknown in the Western world since the Middle Ages. If you buck the Saidian orthodoxy, you're making life very difficult for yourself."
Bernard Lewis, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, lamenting the influence of the disciples of the late Edward Said, in an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, April 22, 2012. (link to source)
". . . since the 1960s, trillions of petrodollars have flowed into the Islamic Middle East, not just ensuring that Israel's enemies now were armed, ascendant, and flanked by powerful Western friends, but through contributions, donations, and endowments also deeply embedded within Western thought and society itself. Universities suddenly sought endowed Middle East professorships and legions of full tuition-paying Middle East undergraduates. Had Israel the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, then 'occupied' Palestine might have resonated at the UN about as much as Ossetia, Kashmir, or the Western Sahara does today."
Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover Institution classicist and military historian, on how foreign funding based on oil revenues has helped fuel anti-Israel sentiment in Middle East studies; "The New Anti-Semitism," The Hoover Institution Journal, March 28, 2012. (link to source)
"How about the centers for 'Islamic-Christian understanding' that have been established — with Saudi money — at such universities as Harvard and Georgetown? Do they suppose there is nothing here to understand — no need for any academic scrutiny of the Saudi/Wahhabi perspective on church-burning and relations with terrorist groups?"
Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, writing on a recent declaration of Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, the grand mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who told members of a Kuwaiti terrorist group that it is "necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula"; National Review Online, March 22, 2012. (link to source)
"The lingering influence of Edward Said's concept of Orientalism has meant that academic departments of Middle East studies have become closed societies, where myopic mandarins, heavily imbued with postcolonial suspicions, create a world-view of Islam, the Arab world, and particularly of Israel and the Palestinians, that is at odds with how other scholars—with less ideological baggage—view the same facts on the ground."
Richard Cravatts, president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), discussing his book, "Genocidal Liberalism: The University's Jihad Against Israel & Jews," in an interview with Frontpage Magazine; February 29, 2012. (link to source)
"That is what happens with academics, intellectuals, and journalists; sometimes these dictators and governments give them this access to be able to convey their message, but it's like a deal with the devil. They only show you the side they want to . . . ."
Amichai Magen, Visiting Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and Director of the Institute for Democracy, Law, and Diplomacy at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, responding to the disclosure that Trinity University Middle Eastern history professor David Lesch tried to help Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime improve its image in the West; San Antonio Express, February 12, 2012. (link to source)
"It is sobering to observe how few professors of Middle East studies at American or European universities seem able or willing to grasp the true nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, let alone display any interest in its visceral anti-Westernism or ferocious anti-Semitism. Today, very few academics seek to elucidate its core ideology or long-term goals, let alone acknowledge their incompatibility with liberal democracy, human rights, or a stable world order."
Robert S. Wistrich, professor of modern history and director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in his article, "Post-Mubarak Egypt: The Dark Side of Islamic Utopia"; Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, January, 2012. (link to source)
"It was predictable that Middle East Studies programs praising authoritarian regimes won't 'predict' the demise of the 'donors.' And it is now projected that expertise influenced by the rise of the Islamists, and looking forward to similar support in the future, won't spend much time and energy advising government and educating lawmakers as to engaging the secular opponents of the Islamists."
Walid Phares, adjunct professor of jihadist global strategies at the National Defense University, in a blog post titled, "Questions About Middle East Studies' Unreadiness for the Arab Spring"; History News Network, December 4, 2011. (link to source)
"What is clear is that the [Harvard University Center for Middle Eastern Studies] Outreach Center is not a reliable purveyor of objective information on the Middle East and in particular, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At a time when schools are forced to streamline their budgets, sending teachers to ideologically-tainted workshops or introducing curricula of questionable content does not reflect a responsible use of funds. School systems that choose to utilize the resources of the Outreach Center and its parent Center for Middle East Studies need to be made aware that their teachers are receiving incomplete and unscholarly information."
Steven Stotsky, senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), on the Outreach Center of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University; December 13, 2011. (link to source)
"Historians . . . are supposed to work in the realm of facts. . . . But exactly like poets, clergymen, or politicians, historians have habitually transferred allegiance to some foreign cause, compromising their reputation and even trading upon it by placing themselves at the service of something fanciful and unrelated to their scholarship. To each professor his cause, from each professor his bias."
David Pryce-Jones, author and commentator, on the politicization of historiography; "The Past is a Foreign Country," The New Criterion, September 2011. (link to source)
"Kurds, the Amazigh, and Kabyle people (the real majority population of 'Arab' North Africa on lands that Arabs refer to merely as 'purely Arab patrimony') and others as well have had their own languages and cultures outlawed--and those who dared to protest were slaughtered or jailed. Yet, even most experts in the Ivory Tower (let alone those alleged voices of morality in the UN and elsewhere) could only act deaf, dumb, and blind to all that was going on."
Gerald Honigman, educator and author, on the willful myopia of the Middle East studies establishment; "Berber Autumn," Ekurd.net, August 29, 2011. (link to source)
"Poor Juan Cole. The University of Michigan professor never had a chance against the vast powers arrayed against him over the last several years. It seems the academic was the target of a conspiracy, engineered by the Bush administration, with the connivance of the intelligence community and that other pillar of the military industrial complex devoted to ensuring the hegemony of the right wing thought machine, Yale University."
Lee Smith, author and visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, on the recent allegation that the Bush administration tasked the CIA with trying to discredit University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole and that he was rejected for an appointment at Yale University in 2006 as a result; The Weekly Standard, July 11, 2011. (link to source)
"If former YIISA director Charles Small is the equivalent of Stokely Carmichael, heaven knows where that leaves Columbia's tenured anti-Zionist, Joseph Massad, or the London School of Economics, which carried out research funded by the Gadhafi Foundation."
Columnist Ben Cohen putting Charles Small, the former director of the recently closed Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA), in perspective after Yale University sociology professor Jeffrey Alexander told NPR: "it would be as if you had a center for the study of, let's say, racism, organized by, let's say, the Black Panther movement"; The Forward, June 21, 2011. (link to source)
"Having directed Jewish Studies programs in universities for most of my career I can assure you of this: If Israel were to inflict the type of violence on Palestinians that Arab regimes (and Iranian ones) casually inflict on their own dissenting populations in the course of one day, many colleges across America would be virtually shut down."
Jacques Berlinerblau, director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University, in his opinion piece, "The 'Arab Spring,' Israel, and the Silence of the Academy"; Chronicle of Higher Education, May 1, 2011. (link to source)
"When he lived, [Vittorio] Arrigoni maintained that he was doing what his grandfather had done before him: The grandfather had fought the Nazis; Arrigoni would fight the Israelis. That is a belief inculcated in many Europeans: the belief that the Israelis are like the Nazis, and the Palestinians like the Jews under the Third Reich. . . . In thinking about Arrigoni, and the path he chose, I thought of the atmosphere in Ann Arbor, Mich., when I was growing up there. I heard much of the same stuff. I particularly heard it in the Near Eastern Studies department of the University of Michigan. The Palestinians were innocent victims; the Israelis embodied iniquity. You know the deal."
Jay Nordlinger, author of the column "Impromptus" at National Review Online, on Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian pro-Palestinian activist and member of the International Solidarity Movement who was kidnapped in Gaza and strangled by the Palestinian terrorist group Jihadist Salafi; April 19, 2011. (link to source)
"There has been no tyrant so bloody, no dictator so unscrupulous in the last 100 dismal years of world history that he hasn't found a plethora of American intellectuals to serve as unpaid flacks. . . . Gaddafi too has found his clueless American defenders. Inviting a series of American intellectuals and scholars to Libya as part of a typical PR offensive, the kind of tactic they teach in the Techniques of Tyranny 101 intro course, Gaddafi gave them the kind of snow job that Hitler and Stalin used to give visiting foreigners — and too many of them fell for it."
Walter Russell Mead, James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Editor-at-Large of the American Interest magazine, in "The Mead List: World's Top Ten Gaddafi Toads;" Via Meadia, March 3, 2011. (link to source)
"In coming years we will all be treated to the 'expert' opinion of Western academics that the Egyptian dictatorship was propped up by the West, and that any rise of the Muslim Brotherhood was the 'fault' of the US and Israel. Before that happens, it should be recalled that whatever support the West provided Egypt's government, that collaboration was matched by the Western academy, which has consistently turned a blind eye to tyranny in the Middle East. If the academy and its democracy-loving humanists truly supported democracy, they would have long ago stopped shipping legions of students to these countries, and stopped propping up institutions in the Middle East."
Seth J. Frantzman, a PhD researcher at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, on the implications of study abroad programs in the Middle East; in "Terra Incognita: Deathly Silence," the Jerusalem Post, February 1, 2011. (link to source)
"Of course, there is nothing wrong with gathering a broad-based community of scholars behind a new academic initiative. . . . But, unaccompanied by a dedication to real expertise, the CPS [Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University] will be little more than a clique of like-minded academics whose defining commonality is hostility toward Israel. In its current form, it's likely that the first Palestine Center at an American university will lead the way not in 'a new era of civility,' but, rather, in politicizing Middle East studies further than ever before."
Armin Rosen (L), a freelance writer, and Jordan Hirsch (R), assistant editor at Foreign Affairs--both recent Columbia University graduates--on Columbia University's Center for Palestine Studies (CPS), The New Republic, December 16, 2010. (link to source)
"I'm tempted to think that there will never again by anyone like [Bernard] Lewis — that he is the last of a certain type of scholar. The last of the first-class scholars. But this cannot be true. ... Nonetheless, I can't imagine another scholar — another scholar of the Middle East — like Lewis. The [Middle East Studies Association] crowd long ago took over Middle East Studies. As Lewis once told me, this was similar to the takeover of Chinese Studies by Maoists."
Jay Nordlinger reflecting on Princeton Middle East studies scholar Bernard Lewis; in his National Review Online column "Impromptus," November 23, 2010. (link to source)
"My analysis is that Siddique is just the latest hater to hide behind the skirts of academic freedom. The Holocaust is a fact. No one has academic freedom from the facts."
Dom Giordano, Philadelphia talk radio host, on Kaukab Siddique, a Lincoln University of Pennsylvania professor and Holocaust denier; Philadelphia Daily News, November 2, 2010. (link to source)
"You have a whole generation of faculty in Middle East studies who have seen their role as being one to use their positions for political platforms rather than objective scholarship. . . . The Saudis and some of the other Arab governments have invested in American universities in the hope that those investments will lead to teaching about the Middle East and Islam in a way that's more consistent with the Arab view of history and theology."
Mitchell Bard, author of "The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America's Interest in the Middle East," in an interview with the Jewish Ledger, September 15, 2010. (link to source)
". . . among students, anti-Israel sentiment is its strongest in Middle Eastern studies departments and research centers, decades ago hijacked by anti-Israel teachers, and in many cases funded by Gulf Arab states. Frighteningly, present students and researchers are the future staffers of the U.S. State Department and the intelligence community - they are the America's future foreign policy makers. Clearly, the anti-Israel sentiment on campus is dangerous not just for Israel and her supporters, but for the future direction [of] American foreign policy worldwide."
Josef Olmert, adjunct professor in American University's School of International Service, writing at the Jewish Policy Center Blog, September 1, 2010. (link to source)
"You can respect your adversary without agreeing or giving in. They have profound, deeply held beliefs and one of the great challenges for secularists is they can't understand the level of passion that a belief which is derived from an underlying religious form leads one to have, which is why, frankly, deeply believing Christians and Jewish Americans have a much better understanding of what's going on than do secular intellectuals in deracinated universities looking out of their ivory tower or trying to wonder what it is that would lead people to kill themselves and having no comprehension of the emotions and the depth of passion engaged."
Newt Gingrich, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, speaking on "America at Risk: Camus, National Security and Afghanistan," July 29, 2010, at AEI in Washington, D.C. (link to source)
"Academic freedom continues to be destroyed by the tenured Left. Academic freedom today increasingly means that faculty members have the right to agree with radical leftists and Marxists but not the right to disagree with them. And criticism of radical leftist academics is never permitted. It is considered 'McCarthyism.'"
Steven Plaut, associate professor of finance and economics at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Haifa, in his op-ed "A Tale of Two Professors," Frontpage Magazine, July 19, 2010. (link to source)
The other day, I was saying how all the flotilla types regard Israel as an 'apartheid state.' They talk about Israel's 'apartheid system,' 'apartheid wall,' and so on. And flotilla types aren't found only in flotillas: They are found on pretty much any American campus, especially as you near those MESA-controlled Middle East Studies departments.
Jay Nordlinger, senior editor for National Review, writing at The Corner (Blog of National Review Online), June 9, 2010. (link to source)
"Do I think that it's really gonna be a great thing for the Palestinians if they get their own state, wherever it's gonna be? No. It'll probably be a miserable state with dictatorial tendencies and all sorts of corruption and other horrible things that I will be one of the first people to criticize."
Joel Beinin, Stanford University history professor and former president of the Middle East Studies Association, speaking at Stanford University on June 2, 2010. (link to source)
"Some argue that what happens on the campuses is not important. What really matters is what happens in the grown-up world. Unfortunately, we see that the depraved moral blindness of the classroom has brought about a situation where political leaders cannot recognize the moral depravity of the international community."
Caroline Glick, writing for the Jerusalem Post, on the wider consequences of not defending Israel on moral grounds on U.S. college campuses, May 3, 2010. (link to source)
"Those who today claim they are victims of McCarthyism dream of being victims; they want to be the lone voice standing up to the government. ...Those who cry McCarthyism want attention. They are fear-mongers and extremists with little understanding of the concept of free speech and less understanding of history."
Seth J. Frantzman, a PhD researcher at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, on academic leftists who cry "McCarthyism" when they are criticized; in "Terra Incognita: McCarthyism!," the Jerusalem Post, March 30, 2010. (link to source)
"Many on the Left employ a double standard concerning free speech. They want their own advocates or professors immunized from criticism – thus Prof. Newman's outrage at groups, such as Campus Watch, which publicize what professors say in and outside the classroom. On the other hand, they develop an elaborate set of rules to disallow the speech of others as incitement, Islamophobia, homophobia, sexism, racism, or McCarthyism."
Jonathan Rosenblum, Jewish Media Resources Director and Jerusalem Post columnist, responding to a Jerusalem Post column by Ben-Gurion University political geography professor David Newman, February 19, 2010. (link to source)
"The feelings stirred up by the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis are so volatile that it is difficult to examine it without taking sides even within the halls of the academy. But in the classroom, the terrible toll exacted by this hundred years' war should command intellectual analysis, not political advocacy. . . . The classroom is no battleground and the lectern no soapbox. The responsibility of an engaged intellectual is to bring clarity and substance to the issues probed."
Donna Robinson Divine, director of Middle East studies at Smith College, on "How to Teach All Sides of the Arab-Israeli Conflict Without Taking Sides," History News Network, January 18, 2010. (link to source)
Our additional problem as a scholarly community is that we remain deeply aggrieved and frozen in time around the Palestinian question....Most of us, however, find it difficult, terrifying perhaps, to insert ourselves into the Punch and Judy shows that the Palestinian-Israeli debate has become on our campuses....We do not want to be interpreters, accused when we speak out of bias or misinformation. We want to be educators, and our subjects and our passions to be foundational to knowing the Middle East in North America.
Virginia H. Aksan, McMaster University history professor and president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), in the 2009 presidential address to MESA's 43rd annual meeting, November 22, 2009. (link to source)
"This is all about Iran laundering their policies through academe. And the ivory tower is prostituting itself for money."
Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, on the revelation that the Iranian government-controlled Alavi Foundation has been funding Middle East and Persian studies at Columbia University and Rutgers University, including $100,000 to Columbia after it hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2007, New York Post, November 22, 2009. (link to source)
"Jytte Klausen of Brandeis University says she is disappointed that to see [Yale University] 'roll back our own principles' and faulted the school for relying on 'various anonymous experts' in making their decision. 'I regard the experts' advice to the university as alarmist and misplaced,' said Klausen, who noted that the scholars consulted by Yale 'never read my book (and) had no idea what my intentions were.'"
Jytte Klausen, author of the forthcoming Yale University Press book "The Cartoons that Shook the World," a study of 12 Danish cartoons of Muhammad; as reported by Fox News, August 13, 2009. Yale Press removed all illustrations of Muhammad after soliciting the opinion of experts, among which were professors, diplomats, and counterterrorism specialists. (link to source)
"No quality control is evident in either the film or, if I may say so, in the book."
Don Emmerson, Director of the Southeast Asia Forum at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and an affiliated scholar with the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University, speaking to Georgetown University professor John Esposito about the film version of his co-authored book, "Who Speaks For Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think," during the question and answer portion of a May 13, 2009 screening at Stanford University. (link to source)
"[I]f academics did only the job they are trained to do - introduce students to disciplinary materials and equip them with the necessary analytic skills...the various watchdog groups headed by David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, and others would have to close shop."
Stanley Fish, Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Humanities and Law at Florida International University, in his book, "Save the World on Your Own Time," Oxford, 2008, page 153. (link to source)
"Most Americans would probably think that if there were rockets being fired into Vermont from Canada, we'd have the right to respond to that."
Gregory Gause, director of the University of Vermont's Middle East Studies Program, commenting on Israel's strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza to Fox News 44 of Burlington, Vermont, December 30, 2008. (link to source)
"As for the academy, this conflict [between Hamas and Fatah] has made it even clearer to me that Middle Eastern studies is a corrupted field. By not addressing this issue, professors of Palestinian history have shown that they are more interested in sniping at Israel and America than analyzing a significant problem that requires serious scholarship if peace is ever to be achieved in the Middle East. This bodes poorly for the future of a critical field."
Jonathan Schanzer, adjunct scholar at Campus Watch and director of policy at the Jewish Policy Center, in an interview with FrontPage Magazine on his new book, "Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine." (link to source)
"So many academics want the arguments presented in Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) to be true. It encourages the reading of novels at an oblique angle in order to discover hidden colonialist subtexts. It promotes a hypercritical version of British and, more generally, of Western achievements. It discourages any kind of critical approach to Islam in Middle Eastern studies. Above all, Orientalism licenses those academics who are so minded to think of their research and teaching as political activities. The drudgery of teaching is thus transformed into something much more exciting, namely 'speaking truth to power'."
Robert Irwin, writing for The Times Literary Supplement, on "Edward Said's Shadowy Legacy," May 7, 2008. (link to source)
...Middle Eastern studies programs have been distorted by "a degree of thought control and limitations of freedom of expression without parallel in the Western world since the 18th century, and in some areas longer than that....It seems to me it's a very dangerous situation, because it makes any kind of scholarly discussion of Islam, to say the least, dangerous. Islam and Islamic values now have a level of immunity from comment and criticism in the Western world that Christianity has lost and Judaism has never had."
Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University, delivering the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa. As reported in Congressional Quarterly, April 27, 2008. (link to source)
"Middle East scholars on both sides of the Atlantic had long shunned the study of Islamist militancy for fear of promoting Islamophobia and of being associated with a pro-Israeli political agenda. In these communities, there was a tendency to rely on simple grievance-based explanations of terrorism and to ignore the role of entrepreneurial individuals and organizations in the generation of violence. This is part of the reason why the main contributions to the literature on al-Qaeda in the first few years after 9/11 came from investigative journalists, not academics."
Thomas Hegghammer, postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton and research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment in Oslo, in "Jihadi Studies," an essay in the Times Literary Supplement, April 2, 2008. (link to source)
"The 1968 generation wanted to conquer the world. They went nowhere. So they took refuge in academia, the only part of the world where they found a real home. This often failed generation ended up in that one refuge, where they could promote each other - and bring in their buddies. This is, among others, particularly true of Middle Eastern studies departments in the United States."
Manfred Gerstenfeld, author of "Academics Against Israel and the Jews," in an interview published in the Jerusalem Post, December 12, 2007. (link to source)
"After 9/11, we simply can't leave Middle East studies to partisans. We need genuine scholars to train future diplomats, analysts and officers. The government and the press rely on professors to explain events in the Arab world."
Richard Miniter of the Hudson Institute, writing in the New York Post, November 20, 2007. (link to source)
Today's Middle Eastern studies more closely resembles the kind of atmosphere that dominated the late medieval university (inquisitorial) than a free and meritocratic culture committed to honesty.
Richard Landes, professor of medieval history at Boston University and director and co-founder of the Center for Millennial Studies, writing about tenure in Middle Eastern studies in the comments section of the article "A Call to Defend Academic Freedom" at Inside Higher Education, October 23, 2007. (link to source)
"In a college course on Islam, you are more likely to be assigned Edward Said's historiography, as the theory and method of writing history is known, than an actual history textbook. Learning this way is like wearing jeans with a button and a zipper, but no denim: quite impossible."
Travis Kavulla, in "Ignorance of Islam," on the poor job that Harvard and other American universities do in educating undergraduates about Islam, writing in National Review Online September 13, 2007. (link to source)
"Sometimes I go to the Middle East Studies Association, say, to panels like 'The Deconstruction of the Palestinian State from a Gender Perspective,' and I think, well, give me back some solid, philological, boring orientalist scholarship."
Gabriel Piterberg, during a discusion on "Orientalism Now: The Legacy of Edward Said," held at the British Museum and co-sponsored by the London Review of Books. (link to source)
"I went to a fourth-year Arabic class at the University of Michigan...They were learning what we did in the first semester."
Sergeant First Class David Villarreal, chief military language instructor at the Defense Language Institute's Middle East School III, comparing defense language training and academic instruction, August 25, 2005. (link to source)
"As far as I can tell, the Palestinian leader he most admired was George Habash, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a Marxist internationalist."
West Chester University Professor of History Lawrence Davidson, commenting on the late Georgetown professor and intellectual historian Hisham Sharabi, spring 2005. George Habash was the Marxist-Leninist founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Among the PFLP's best known attacks was the hijacking of four airplanes in September 1970. (link to source)
"My problem is not the anti-Zionism or even that many of them are anti-American, but that they are third-rate...The quality of the people [in Mideast studies] is unlike any of the qualities we expect in any other field."
Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz commenting on the state of Middle Eastern Studies, Feburary 27, 2005. (link to source)
"As a rule of thumb in matters of the Middle East, be very skeptical of anything that Europe (fearful of terrorists, eager for profits, tired of Jews, scared of their own growing Islamic minorities) and the Arab League (a synonym for the autocratic rule of Sunni Muslim grandees and secular despots) cook up together. If a EU president, a Saudi royal, and a Middle East specialist in the State Department or a professor in an endowed Middle Eastern Studies chair agree that the United States is "woefully naïve," "unnecessarily provocative" or "acting unilaterally," then assume that we are pretty much on the right side of history and promoting democratic reform. "Sobriety" and "working with Arab moderates" is diplo-speak for supporting or abetting an illiberal hierarchy. "
Classicist and military historian Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institution, commenting on changes in the Middle East brought about by changes in American policy, February 18, 2005. (link to source)
"In the past ten years or so, American universities have hardly accumulated any knowledge at all about the Middle East."
Gilles Kepel, professor and chair of Middle East studies at Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris, commenting in a 2002 memoir on the American understanding of Islam and the Middle East. (link to source)
"As 2004 comes to a crashing halt, one of the groups that, arguably, most deserves to fly through the windshield is the Middle East academic priesthood in the United States."
Michael Young, opinion editor at the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut, commenting on Giles Kepel's rebuke of Middle Eastern Studies in American universities, December 29, 2004. (link to source)
"Mr. Ramadan's appointment earlier this year by the University of Notre Dame in Indiana to a key post caused bewilderment in European academic circles, almost as if an American tel-evangelist had been offered a post at the London School of Economics or the Sorbonne."
Gilles Kepel, professor and chair of Middle East studies at Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris, on the abortive appointment of Tariq Ramadan to a visiting position at Notre Dame University, December 23, 2004. (link to source)
"if Middle East scholarship is as extreme, hermetic and intolerant as Pipes claims, that may only prove how insignificant it is in the wider theater of ideas. Bernard Lewis' books are bestsellers; Kramer has ready access to the Wall Street Journal opinion pages; Pipes is a fixture in print and electronic media. The Middle East professors, by contrast, are in the same position as postwar academic composers of serial music, who responded to popular indifference by making a virtue of their own marginalization."
Tim Cavanaugh, web editor of Reason commenting on the scholars who support Campus Watch in comparison to Middle East professors, October 28, 2002. (link to source)
"One of the most enjoyable aspects of this engaging book is observing how Kelly uses his literary talents to take on his shallow and capricious peers in the field of Middle Eastern studies. His disdain for 'political panderers' and 'guilt-ridden ex-diplomatists' is only matched by his abhorrence of the 'bogus scholar' and the 'type of journalist who drifts occasionally into the Public Record Office to see whether any newsworthy items have been brought to light lately' (p.67). As a prolific reviewer of books himself, he has a particular issue with fellow reviewers on Middle East works whose 'sole acquaintance with the subject under discussion derives from the books they are reviewing' (p.77). The ignorant and uninformed may frustrate him but he is positively enraged by those who know the truth but instead choose, in the interest of ideology or professional advancement, to pander to the received doctrines of the day."
Rory Miller, Professor of Government at Georgetown University in Qatar, on the second volume of J.B. Kelly's "The Oil Cringe of the West"; "Middle Eastern Studies," January 2016. (link to source)