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Academic Mafia

Academic Mafia

Scholars sympathetic to Israel and critical of radical Islam are treated as pariahs in Middle East studies.


American Jews have spent a lot of time worrying about the difficulties facing college students in recent years. As a result, American Jews have put their money and ingenuity to work on behalf of programs would combat assimilation on campus.

We have poured more funds into Hillel organizations. The Birthright Israel project was created to bring students to Israel for their first trip to the Jewish state. And philanthropists have endowed Jewish studies and Holocaust-education programs that have proliferated across academia. All of these initiatives have had positive effects on Jewish college life.

But despite this, we have witnessed an upsurge in anti-Israel activity across North American campuses that has mixed traditional anti-Semitism with the vicious protest tactics of the far left.

While academia has long been a stronghold of the left, the main focus of collegiate extremists has rarely been on Israel in the past. But Jewish students, parents and concerned citizens are only just now coming to realize that there is no greater stronghold for hatred of Israel than American colleges and universities.

The core of this anti-Israel cadre is the growing body of academics in the field of Middle Eastern studies. In his authoritative study of this genre published last year, Ivory Towers on Sand, scholar Martin Kramer detailed the abyss of partisanship into which this discipline has fallen. Far from a bastion of impartial study, Middle East studies is 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.

Though you might think this field boasts of scholars with differing sentiments, in Middle East studies, only one point of view is welcome. Scholars sympathetic to Israel and critical of radical Islam are treated as pariahs in Middle East studies and an endangered species elsewhere in the academy. Even worse, much of this so-called scholarship is being funded by the federal government or by donors from Islamic countries.

Muslim and Arab student organizations are making campuses hotbeds of anti-Israel protest.

Muslim and Arab student organizations, aided by their leftist allies, are making campuses hotbeds of anti-Israel protest. In response, the Jewish community can and should devote energy and money on educating Jewish kids to be informed pro-Israel activists.

But no student can expect to hold his own against a professor determined to indoctrinate a class with anti-Zionism and hatred for Israel. The issue of what students are being taught in class about Israel may turn out to be far more important than whether or not Jewish students can be effective advocates.

The good news is that a Philadelphia-based think tank, the Middle East Forum which is led by scholar and author Daniel Pipes, is seeking to begin the work of monitoring anti-Israel activity on the campus with a new Web site ( that has provided a vital store of information on the topic.

Predictably, the response from academia has been swift and vitriolic. Academics and institutions that have been listed on the site, as well as others who share their feelings, have come out swinging, falsely accusing Campus-Watch of "McCarthyism" and suppressing academic freedom.

The truth is just the opposite.

The academic mafia that controls Middle East studies is now seeking to ensure that any criticism of their work is branded as extremist.

It is, in fact, the campus Israel-bashers who have sought to banish any scholar who disagreed with them from the discipline. Having effectively blacklisted a brilliant scholar like Pipes from a major academic post, the academic mafia that controls Middle East studies is now seeking to ensure that any criticism of their work is branded as extremist.

But it is not Pipes, but the pro-Arab and anti-Israel academy that is creating a hostile environment for Jewish students. Bringing their biased work and course offerings to a wide audience, as Campus-Watch has done, isn't intimidation. It is merely exposing nefarious activity to the light of day, where donors to universities and taxpayers can properly evaluate it.

The Middle East Forum and the invaluable Daniel Pipes are to be commended for taking this initiative, and for braving the vituperation of both the academics and their mindless cheering section in the national press. But, unfortunately, no major Jewish organizations, including Hillel or the Anti Defamation League, has chosen to support Pipes' stand or to criticize those seeking to stigmatize him.

Pipes is taking the heat on this issue, but he and his colleagues at Middle East Forum and Campus-Watch should not stand alone. Anyone who values academic integrity, as well as the struggle against the growing scourge of anti-Semitism, needs to stand with him.

December 14, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 7

(7) Bob Hilliard, December 29, 2002 12:00 AM

Teaching the Holocaust in New Jersey Public Schools

I thoroughly enjoyed your article on "Academic Mafia."

There is a line in the musical, South Pacific, that says, "You've got to be taught to hate." That is a truism. College/university students didn't just become anti-Semites when they enrolled on campus. Whether they knew it or not, they became anti-Semites as kids. They learned it from their parents as they were growing up. They heard the anti-Semetic comments, the sneers, the jeers, the "Christ-killer" words, the Protocols of Zion lies, and all the rest. They heard it from the likes of Henry Ford, probably the greatest anti-Semite this country has ever known. He was at the very least the most famous.

There is a bit of history that you might like to explore and do an article on as well. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, United States Congressman Robert Kean, the father of former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, was the first member of Congress to get up on the floor of the House of Representatives repeatedly and tell our Nation what Hitler was doing to the Jews. Of course, no one believed him. By the time they did, six million of our people had perished.

New Jersey has a very large Jewish population, many of whom survived the Holocaust. Israel did not forget what Robert Kean tried to do for the Jews. While Tom Kean was Governor, the Nation of Israel invited Tom Kean and his entire family to Israel where they honored his father at Yad Vashem. All of Tom Kean's family went to Israel for the ceremonies.

Today, New Jersey is the only state in the Union where The Holocaust must be taught in the public schools! And it is. Every year, at the various school grade levels, there is clasasroom time devoted to the study of The Holocaust. It is hoped that by this means young people will learn just how bad hatred can be and particularly against many of their Jewish classmates. In towns like Livingston, New Jersey, where there is a large Jewish population they even close public schools on Jewish Holidays. Kids get a whole different perspective on hatred and the Jews.

This doesn't mean that anti-Semitism has disappeared in New Jersey. We still have our share of hate crimes, but believe that New Jersey does an excellent job of seeking out those who commit such acts. We can only hope and pray that by teaching about The Holocaust we can have some impact upon the young minds and that when they grow up they will have been taught how not to hate.

Thanks for listening.


Bob Hilliard

(6) Steven, December 18, 2002 12:00 AM

We first

It is up to us to first educate ourselves and be very strong about it. Too many of us don't even admit of being Jews. We hide ourselves. The muslims and and american arabs scream outloud the so cold Jewish crimes. They are very slowly winning the media fight. Yes, the american left is also easy to convince. I live in Europe now and how often do I hear "those poor palestinians" story but once you start explaining, they put wax in ears. For too many of them the kipah on my head is like a thorn in you know what. I am making progress though, there are spaniards who after a short conversation understand and smell the coffee. Let us be heared louder!!!


(5) Mordechai ben Aaron, December 17, 2002 12:00 AM

Hate and Ignorance

The ignorance is at this moments, the cruel base of our societies, moreover, the mass-media don't know the reality of the historical context to understand many factors applied in it. But, true or not, our communities are suffering this kind of feeling.

(4) al puglisi, December 16, 2002 12:00 AM

not just jewish students

You wrote in the article that the Jewish community must work to educate Jewish students to be aware and indentify anti-activists. I think you also,perhaps moreso, need to educate non Jewish studensts about this. Israel is losing the propaganda campaign among gentiles. A quick survey of your typical college student will reveal he does not know ALL the facts concerning the creation of Israel.Their professors do not allow them to,definitely the media does not, and I would not count on the Bush administration either.Get to those gentile kids...just like MLK got to those white kids.

(3) Anonymous, December 16, 2002 12:00 AM

Contact Jewish Orgs.

Contact Jewish organizations that can help put out the word on the information contained herein. The general Jewish population should know what is going on...not just the Jewish students on the college campuses of America.

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