Sunday, July 31, 2016

Middle East Studies Implicated in AMCHA's Campus Anti-Semitism Report - Cinnamon Stillwell




by Cinnamon Stillwell

While faculty who help foster campus anti-Semitism hail from all disciplines, the centrality of Middle East studies academics cannot be ignored.

Rabab Abdulhadi
The AMCHA Initiative's recently released "Report on Antisemitic Activity During the First Half of 2016 At U.S. Colleges and Universities With the Largest Jewish Undergraduate Populations" exposes the bias and politicization afflicting the field of Middle East studies.

The report finds a direct correlation between campus anti-Semitism and the "presence of one or more faculty who have endorsed an academic boycott of Israel," which, given the large number of Middle East studies academics who are boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) supporters or organizers, serves as a strong indictment of the field.

Moreover, the report notes a sharp rise in campus incidents that "contained expression opposing the existence of Israel as a Jewish state" and, as an example, cites a March 2016 event in which San Francisco State University's Rabab Abdulhadi--a founding member of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel--proclaimed that "Zionism is racism" and "there can only be peace if Israel is defeated." It also references an event the same month sponsored by Brown University's Middle East Studies Department and featuring its director, Beshara Doumani, and Israeli Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, who declared in her keynote speech that "the main opposition to democracy [in Israel] is the definition of Israel as a Jewish state."

While faculty who help foster campus anti-Semitism hail from all disciplines, the centrality of Middle East studies academics cannot be ignored. Tasked with providing an education based on objective analysis, too many of these professors are instead contributing to a climate in which Jewish and pro-Israel students feel ignored and victimized. They claim their single-minded obsession with the world's lone Jewish state does not constitute anti-Semitism, but when that is the effect, such protestations ring hollow.


Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at stillwell@meforum.org.
Source: http://www.campus-watch.org/blog/2016/07/middle-east-studies-implicated-in-amcha-campus

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