Middle East Forum - Criticism

Criticism

In 2002 Juan Cole, a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan who has been a target of Campus Watch, criticized MEF in Salon magazine, writing that "The Middle East Forum is not really a forum. Somebody rich in the community has set Pipes up with a couple of offices and a fax machine and calls him a director." Salon noted that "aside from Pipes, the Middle East Forum has a single researcher, whose job, according to the Web site, extends into fundraising." As of 2009 the MEF website lists over 20 staff members, the majority of whom are described as engaging in research or activism.

Professor Joel Beinin, professor of Middle East History at Stanford University and a former President of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) of North America, who is named on the Campus Watch website, offered this criticism:

Another effort to police dissent is focused on those who teach Middle East studies on college campuses. Middle East Forum, a think tank run by Daniel Pipes and supportive of the Israeli right wing, has established a Campus Watch website. After failing in his own pursuit of an academic career, Pipes has evidently decided to take revenge on the scholarly community that rejected him. ... Campus Watch notes that:

"Middle East studies in the United States has become the preserve of Middle Eastern Arabs, who have brought their views with them. Membership in the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the main scholarly association, is now 50 percent of Middle Eastern origin."

Some Americans have foolishly believed that all U.S. citizens have equal rights regardless of their country of origin and that pointing to peoples' country of origin to discredit them is a form of racism. This too, is outmoded thinking according to Campus Watch. But imagine the uproar that would be created by the suggestion that because Daniel Pipes is Jewish he may be more loyal to Israel than to the United States.

One recent project of Pipes and his Middle East Forum is Campus-Watch, a website designed to police dissent on university campuses. Campus- Watch’s original statement of purpose, which was subsequently removed from the website due to criticism of its character, was to "monitor and gather information on professors who fan the flames of disinformation, incitement, and ignorance." Campus-Watch alleged that Middle East scholars "seem generally to dislike their own country and think even less of American allies abroad. The reason was that "Middle East studies in the US have become the preserve of Middle Eastern Arabs, who have brought their views with them".

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Famous quotes containing the word criticism:

    ... criticism ... makes very little dent upon me, unless I think there is some real justification and something should be done.
    Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962)

    Parents sometimes feel that if they don’t criticize their child, their child will never learn. Criticism doesn’t make people want to change; it makes them defensive.
    Laurence Steinberg (20th century)

    When you overpay small people you frighten them. They know that their merits or activities entitle them to no such sums as they are receiving. As a result their boss soars out of economic into magic significance. He becomes a source of blessings rather than wages. Criticism is sacrilege, doubt is heresy.
    Ben Hecht (1893–1964)