It’s not hard to find out who sets the terms of debate and parameters of discussion concerning the Middle East on American campuses today.
As we have reported, our friend Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s Amcha Initiative at UCLA did a report last year on the anti-Israel bias on that campus. In a letter to the U. S. Secretary of Education, a sextet of groups headed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) took issue with the Amha report. The other five groups which signed onto the letter were:
- The Asian Law Caucus of Asian-Americans Advancing Justice;
- The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee;
- The Center for Constitutional Rights;
- Palestine Solidarity Legal Support; and
- The National Lawyers Guild.*
The groups, led by CAIR, go on for pages in their letter to Arne Duncan asserting that diversity already exists in Middle East studies and programs in academe today. Yet and still, they disclose just how narrow their definition of diversity is in a very revealing footnote at the bottom of page 2 of their letter to Arne Duncan:
2 Amcha’s report lists examples of anti-Semitism in Appendix F. See supra 1 at 21. The examples are statements that do not, in and of themselves, demonstrate racial or religious animus. For example, Amcha claims it is anti-Semitic that “A speaker claimed that Zionism views Palestinians as ‘subhuman, undesirable, a population that should not exist,’ and accused Israel of ‘denying the absolute basic inalienable human rights of Palestinians,’” and that, “A speaker stated that Israel was created through colonialism, and that ‘colonialism and settler colonialism are both inherently unequal and unjust systems.’ Another speaker asserted that ‘Colonialism and colonization is not a civilizing mission, it’s a violent mission of ethnic cleansing.’” These are views within the broad scope of reasonable debate, not examples of bigotry.
(It would be interesting to see if CAIR spokesmen felt the same way if the same accusations were leveled at their group.—ed.)
*Cliff Kincaid, in a column for our big sister group Accuracy in Media, noted that “the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), cited as a Communist Party front organization by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. It remains the U.S. affiliate of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the old Soviet front.”