Academic Watch List

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Yale may have extricated itself from one controversy when it rejected the application for a Bachelor’s degree from a former Taliban official already taking classes at the new Haven campus. Nonetheless, today’s sons of Eli foster an atmosphere in which indulgence of terrorism can flourish.

“Yale Assistant Professor of genetics Mazin Qumsiyeh, who is also the co-founder of the group ‘Palestinian Right of Return Coalition,’ made many Jewish students feel targeted when he obtained a list of students whom he labeled a ‘pro-war cabal’ and circulated their names,” the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR) found. “The ‘pro-war cabal’ was no more than the Yale pro-Israel student membership list.”

“Qumsiyeh claims not to have known this; however, explanations for how he obtained the list and why he thought it was appropriate to label each sudent a war monger are absent.” Qumsiyeh still serves on the faculty at Yale.

The IJCR published its findings in a book entitled The Uncivil University. The Uncivil University was written by Gary A. Tobin, Aryeh K. Weinberg and Jenna Ferer. Perhaps not too surprisingly, Yale’s president, Richard Levin, refused to join 300 college and university presidents in signing a letter attacking anti-Semitism.

“I just felt that while I am not out of sympathy with the people who wrote the letter, on the other hand we have to be mindful of all forms of discrimination and prejudice,” Levin reportedly said.

In similar fashion, University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann touched raw nerves when she posed for a Halloween photograph with a student dressed as a suicide bomber. Although Gutmann has apologized for the photo, the undercurrent at Penn has been running against Israel and U. S. policy in the Middle East for some time now.

“The University of Pennsylvania Muslim Student Association celebrated ‘Islam Awareness Week’ by inviting ‘Reverend’ William W. Baker, ‘a former chairman of a racist and anti-Semitic organization, the Populist Party,’ to speak on October 9, 2002,” Tobin and associates report. “Baker is the founder of Christians and Muslims for Peace and has a history of racism and anti-Semitism.”

“In 1983, speaking before the Christian Patriot Defense League in Missouri, Baker expressed ‘his disgust at traveling to New York City, getting off the plane to meet ‘pushy, belligerent American Jews.’” Penn spent five grand on the shindig at which Baker was a star attraction, the authors reveal.

Tobin and the IJCR fellows have amassed a wealth of data on anti-Semitic occurrences in academia, be they classroom lectures or special events. As might be expected, much of their data is from California, the epicenter for such trends, and where the IJCR itself is based.

“I cannot fully express what it feels like to walk across campus daily, past maps of the Middle East that do not include Israel, past posters of cans of soup with labels on them of drops of blood and dead babies, labeled ‘canned Palestinian children meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites under American license,’ past poster after poster calling out ‘Zionism=racism,’ and ‘Jews=Nazis,’” Laurie Zoloth, a former Jewish Studies professor at San Francisco State University writes.

As Tobin and his co-authors point out, most of the professors surveyed by IJCR are not anti-Semitic. But university bureaucrats and faculty members enable those who are, frequently aided by federal funds.

“We get more money from the federal government,” Nezar Alsayyad, chair of the Middle East Studies Department at Berkeley, says. “That does not mean we do what the federal government says.”

“As academics, we have academic freedom,” Alsayyad declares. “That’s our God-given right.” Actually, the department Alsayyad chairs is funded by a secular agency—the U. S. Department of Education.

The program which subsidizes Berkeley, and Penn and Yale is Title VI of the Higher Education Act, designed to encourage the study of languages government officials may need to know. And how are they doing?

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly has over 120,000 hours of pre-September 11 ‘terrorism-related’ recordings that have yet to be translated, indicating a significant need for qualified translators,” Tobin writes. “Yet in an evaluation of America’s anti-terror capabilities, The 9/11 Commission Report; Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United Statesrevealed that only six undergraduate degrees in Arabic were earned in 2002.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.