Important QUOTES

“A man cannot be secular and Muslim at a time…We are not in favor of democracy, democracy is for Jews and Christians”


Walter Russell Mead

“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)

Seth J. Frantzman

“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)

Armin Rosen and Jordan Hirsch

“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)

Jay Nordlinger

“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)

Dom Giordano

“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)

Michell Bard

“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)

Josef Olmert

“. . . 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)

Newt Gingrich

“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)

Steven Plaut

“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)

Jay Nordlinger

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)

Joel Beinin

“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)

Caroline Glick

“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)

Seth J. Frantzman

“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)

Jonathan Rosenblum

“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)

Donna Robinson Divine

“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)

Virginia H. Aksan

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)

Michael Rubin

“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

“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)

Don Emmerson

“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)

Stanley Fish

“[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)

Gregory Gause

“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)

Jonathan Schanzer

“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)

Robert Irwin

“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)

Bernard Lewis

…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)

Thomas Hegghammer

“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)

Manfred Gerstenfeld

“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)

Richard Miniter

“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)

Richard Landes

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)

“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)

Jehuda Reinharz

“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)

Victor Davis Hanson

“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)

Gilles Kepel

“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)

Gilles Kepel

“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)

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