Pro-Israel Web site causes furor among academics
PHILADELPHIA (AP - 29 Sept) -- A pro-Israel organization has set
up a Web site to monitor professors and universities for
pro-Arab, anti-Israel bias -- a move some academics are
decrying as campus McCarthyism and attempted
The Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum said it
organized the Campus Watch site (www.campus-watch.org)
to counter pervasive bias in universities' Middle
The site names schools and specific professors. Forum
director Daniel Pipes said the think tank hopes
eventually to monitor 250 North American academic
"Our goal is to monitor, critique and improve Middle
East studies," Pipes said. "We're not at universities
because our views are not welcome. We're trying to
create an alternative voice within the field."
Scholars whose articles are compiled into dossiers on
the Web site include Hamid Dabashi and Joseph Massad of
Columbia, John Esposito of Georgetown, Juan Cole of the
University of Michigan and Snehal Shingavi of University
of California at Berkeley. Dossiers are also listed on
those institutions as well as a dozen others, including
Stanford, Northeastern, the University of Chicago and
the University of North Carolina.
Opponents immediately called the effort "McCarthy-like"
and an attempt to stifle opposition to U.S. policy in
the Middle East. Professors listed on the site said they
were bombarded with e-mail over the weekend.
In a show of support for those named on the site, about
100 other academics have asked to be added to the list.
Judith Butler, a gender theorist at Berkeley, wrote that
she would like to be included in the list of U.S.
academics "who oppose the Israeli occupation and its
brutality, actively support Palestinian rights of
self-determination" and support an informed view of
The Campus Watch site accuses American Middle Eastern
scholars of generally being biased against the United
States and being apologists for unfriendly regimes.
University of Chicago historian Rashid Khalidi, who is
quoted on the Web site as sympathizing with the
Palestinian cause, called the site "slimy" and intended
to chill opposition.
"What they're trying to do is exclude from public debate
opinions that go against the neo-conservative consensus
that dominates discussion of policy on Iraq or policy on
the Israeli conflict by smearing us and calling us
aliens," he said.
Pipes said he will not remove a "Keep Us Informed" page
on the site that opponents say is an attempt to get
students to turn in their professors. He said it gives
students a place to complain about mistreatment.
"What you have in university is exclusion of alternate
points of view," Pipes said. "You've got to subscribe
to the party line and then you can make your career; if
you don't, you're out." USA TODAY, 30 Sept