Friday, December 21, 2007
The right-wing, pro-Israel seld-appointed watchdog/group CampusWatch, founded by Rudy Giuliani advisor Daniel Pipes (who does not believe in the current and did not believe in past peace processes between Israelis and Palestinians), features a "Quote of the Month" on its web site. Usually this space is dedicated to attempting to smear American Middle Eastern and Islamic studies academics by selectively quoting them out of context. However, this month the space has been given to a quote from Manfred Gerstenfeld, who slanders these same academics as a whole group (the first sign of idiocy, speaking about an entire group or "generation" as the shameless Gerstenfeld puts it). What are his credentials to speak on the Middle East? By training, he is a chemist and an economist. He is also chairman of the steering committee at the right-wing Israeli institution the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by former Ariel Sharon advisor Dore Gold. His recent work has been devoted to the deflection of criticisms of Israeli government policies by attempting to change the subject to the Holocaust and the alleged "new anti-Semitism" in Europe.
The not so secret "big secret" of CampusWatch and other American right-wing organizations and right-leaning outlets (such as Fox News) is that their calls for "fair and balanced" scholarship, study, or coverage are a lie. These groups really seek to bias coverage of the region toward their own direction while masquerading behind a faux call for "non-partisanship," (see ASMEA, the new Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami-headed Middle East studies association for neoconservatives and their marginalized chickenhawk and Orientalist allies.) Perhaps the saddest fact is that so many Americans believe their lies.
"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."
Comment: Considering that the overwhelming majority of scholars with actual experience and academic background in the Middle East do not tow Gerstenfeld's Lewisian line, it would seem that it is Gerstenfeld and his compatriots who have "failed." Now, they did bring the world the Iraq War...