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Monday, April 5, 2004

Saudi Bribe Money in US Academia, Plus Attacks on Free Speech & Civility

This will be a fairly straightforward article, with two key links --- both to articles published at Frontpage online in the last few days. It deals with the assaults on free speech and civility on campus practiced by certain politically correct students, including, it appears, a fair number of foreign students from the Middle East.

The argument is then fleshed out with some added comments about Middle East Studies in this country, Saudi influence, the ideological and scholarly travesties that mark the Middle East Studies Establishment --- full of self-deception before 9/11 about militant Islamist fundamentalisms (seen as heralding democracy in the Arab world) --- and the mainstream scholarly inability in that discipline, dominated by politically correct types and political agendas, to come to terms with Islamist terrorism ever since. No, not just before 9/11; in the nearly 3 years after it. Such is the set of delusive, self-conning views toward Islamist fundamentalisms, and what inspires the militant frenzied terrorism that feeds on them, in these bankrupt scholarly circles, enjoying US tax dollars for their research . . . never mind, continued Saudi thug-o-cratic largesse.


The Evidence for These Claims?

You'll find it in a few moments. For the time being, note that a good year after 9/11's massacres in the fall of 2002, the members of the Middle East Studies Association assembled for their annual conclave, at which hundreds of papers were read. Only two dealt with terrorism, and then obliquely, with the term put in quotation marks. Don't want to upset the terrorists, you see; victims, apparently, of American imperialism. Believe it or not, our tax money goes to support the research of many of these politically activist in scholarly garb.


Other Failures

Meanwhile, as another point totally inexplicable for most Middle East scholars, the bulk of Arabs go on admiring bin Laden and apparently other forms of mass-killing Arab terrorist movements besides Al Qaeda --- something brought out by survey data in the previous buggy article.

Nor is that all. A Gallup poll in February 2002 even found that 60% of Arabs in 9 countries, roughly 2 out of 3 Arabs, denied that Muslims were involved in the 9/11 massacres. Who were the culprits then? Any buggy visitor knows the answer by now. Conspiratorial paranoia, it seems, is part and parcel of the standard Arab world-view, now suffused with viciously racist anti-Semitism of the Nazi sort now diffused throughout the Arab street and part of popular culture . . . with the conflict of civilizations between modernizers and regressive, terrorist-supporting Islamist movements raging everywhere in the Muslim world, and especially the Middle East.

Not that any of the stellar members of the Middle East Studies Association ever foresaw this conflict, or for that matter, have acknowledged it today . . . any more, than they can explain, given their shallow apologetics and tunnel vision, the hate-charged conspiratorial style that marks the majority outlook in the Arab world. By contrast, the older guard of Middle East scholars like the great Bernard Lewis (cited below) foresaw all these twisted mental developments, marked by rage and a sense of pervasive humiliation in the Arab world. Come to that, scholars like Martin Kramer, Fouad Ajami, Kanan Makiya, Fatima Mernissi, and Daniel Pipes --- all outside the mainstream of Middle East Studies, in the era of Saudi bribe money and politically correct agendas --- have written at length on these topics, both before and after 9/11, in waves of brilliant lumious light. So has a gifted journalist and novelist, who lived in Morocco has a child, David Pryce Jones --- above all, in The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs (reprinted in 2002). So has Stanley Kurz of the Hoover Institute at Stanford, a link to whose writings will soon follow.


The Blind Leading the Blind

Read the mainstream Middle East Studies stuff from 1980 on, or even after 9/11's massacres, and you'd be in the dark about militant Islamism --- and its fervent support for terrorism, plus the conspiratorial paranoid style in Arab life and the conflicts between modernizers and regressive fundamentalisms in the Middle East. You'd also be in the dark, stumbling around in a cumulative mental murk, when it comes to grasping how and why the ubiquitous, thoroughly corrupt Arab dictators have exploited both movements for their own self-serving ends. Nor is that all. Ask the mainstreamers for shafts of light on the raging Nazi-like anti-Semitism in the Arab world, and you'd be like a person stuck in the basement of a skyscraper when the electricity went out. Forever.

For one well known example, consider the president of the Middle East Studies Association in 2002, Joel Beinen of Stanford. A left-wing radical whose views are close to Noam Chomsky's, he had published a well-known reader called Political Islam in 1997; in his introduction, Beinin scoffed at the notion that radical Islamisms posed any threat to the US. Those who claimed this were, he said, tools of US imperialism, part of the campaign to spread the "evil empire." According to one of Beinin's well-known dissenting opponents, Stanley Kurz. of the Hoover Institute, in the whole 375 pages of the reader on radical Islam, "there is next to nothing about Islamic terrorism,"

So this is the man who America's scholars of the Middle East have chosen to lead them — a man who explains the events of September 11 by pointing to American foreign policy; a man who would cut off aid to Israel; a man who belittled those who were prescient enough to perceive a threat from Islamic extremists long before 9/11 (scholars like Kramer and Pipes); a man who has seriously questioned America's policy of opposition to a government in Iran that is obviously an adversary of this country; and a man who continues to embrace utopian Marxism, long after that dream has been revealed as a sham. This is the man who has the gall to demand that he and his supporters be given a special government subsidy on grounds of "national interest

Then read these other scholars just mentioned, and guess what: floods of glittering light everywhere . . . like Broadway at night. You'd be enlightened and not surprised at the existence of Al Qaeda and other mass-murdering Islamist terrorisms; you'd know the reasons why these blood-soaked terrorists evoke so much admiration in the Arab world and elsewhere in parts of Islam; you'd also be thoroughly familiar with the double-dealing antics of the Kings, Sheiks, and Presidents-Elect For Life throughout the Middle East. As for the conspiratorial style, now rife in Arab popular culture, consider the latest outrages of Nazi-like racism featured in a Syrian TV series to widespread acclamation. A similar series ran on Egyptian television last year.

You wouldn't be surprised at this rampant racism and how and why it flourishes. Read the mainstreamers, including Beinin, and you'd be lucky if you would even find a mention of this. No exaggeration. Even a brief reference in passing.


Latest Buggy Mini-Series Hanging Fire

Note, finally, that we'll return tomorrow or the day after to the mini-series, 4 articles in all, on the new US initiative to push for democracy in the Middle East. Two articles have appeared so far the last week or so. The third, to repeat, will appear shortly, and the fourth will then follow.



The first article, written by an Arab-American journalist, unfolds a commentary I can vouch for personally: it documents the efforts of a group of totalitarian-like students, including foreign ones from the Middle East, who tried to shout down and disrupt a recent speech given by a well-known Italian Muslim Sheik at UC Santa Barbara. See The Islamist Muzzle, April 4, 2004. His offense in their eyes? He has blasted Islamist extremism, fundamentalist intolerance, and Islamist and other support for Muslim terrorisms of all sort.

That disruptive campaign occurred recently. Several of the students who were at the meeting, seeking enlightenment, were in my winter class, political science 129, which dealt with the war on terrorism. Their summary of the meeting and the thuggish, Red-Guard efforts of the catcallers and fist-shaking hooligans chimes with the Frontpage article.

Note that lots of the thuggish protestors --- maybe most --- were foreign students. To the extent that they engaged in these thuggish, totalitarian tactics --- widely used by the Nazis back in the late 1920s and early 1930s before Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazi student movement dominating German universities in that period on the student level --- I myself would not hesitate to report them to the university authorities for punishment and for that matter to the INS. The motive here should be obvious. Either foreign students, like all students, respect the rights of free speech and the need for civility on campus and elsewhere in this country, or they should be deported. Period.



The other Frontpage article, The Saudi Fifth Column on Our Nation's Campuses, documents the extent to which the Saudi Mafioso-like royal family --- headed by 4000 princes who have squandered trillions of dollars worth of oil revenue on their non-stop orgies of luxuriously conspicuous consumption --- have sought energetically, for decades, to use some of that fabulous revenue to export their extremist versions of Wahhabi Islam around the world . . . not least to US universities, mainly by setting up chairs and establishing Middle East Studies Institutes. All, of course --- these wonderfully philanthropic benefactors --- for the sake of joyful learning, nothing else.


Saudi Generosity Examined

More seriously, those chairs and institutes seem to have been financed by the Saudi royal Mafiosos to propagage their extremist, racist messages and symbols, something they started doing in the late 1970s in rivalry with the clerical-fascist Shiite government that had seized power in Iran in 1979. As the Frontpage article notes,

'The Saudis see donations to our universities as a way of promoting their political and religious propaganda. To quote their English language daily, Ain Al Yaqueen: "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz has positively shouldered responsibility and played a promising role in order to raise the banner of Islam all over the globe and raise the Islamic call either inside or outside the kingdom." '



One of those chairs and centers was established at UC Santa Barbara, named after Azis.

Its excesses, over the years, have been documented in the media, including the sponsorship of an assemblage of supposed experts on Islam of a conference in the early part of this decade on how Islam should be taught in US schools. There were five of these specialists: one, the Pakistani-born Marxist editor of the New Left Review in London, not only hates the US, but has extolled Iraqi and other Islamist terrorists who have killed US soldiers and civilians in Iraq. Another is a British journalist, Robert Fisk, so notorious for his lopsided reportage out of the Middle East that he has spawned a widely used neologism named after him, to Fisk an article in order to bring out its hidden messages and make sense of its extravagant, ideologically charged rhetoric. A third, a Pakistani novelist, had no other qualification it seems than that she hates the US too, and openly said after 9/11 that we had deserved to be attacked and have 3000 US citizens or residents killed. A fourth, Edward Said --- the guru of cultural studies (Orientalism his key work) --- was a Palestinian Christian in origins who systematically distorted his upbringing: reared by a rich family, the father making a fortune in the US and then returning to the Middle East, he grew up in Cairo and went to an exclusive private school; played tennis with the rich at private clubs; and scarcely lived in a relative's Jerusalem home from which, he had claimed publicly, he had been driven by the Israelis. He had said even before 9/11 that only someone who believed in the revelations of Mohammed was fit to discuss the Arab world and Islam. See the buggy article on Said, published last fall.

And this, remember, was a crew assembled to enlighten US educators, at US taxpayer expense, on the complexities of Islam. Those who can find scholarly balance in its membership must have revelatory insights denied ordinary human beings. Only those who know what the excesses of politically correct ideologies have created on far too many of our campuses can, by contrast, make sense of this lopsided misuse of public funds, never mind the rippling affront to scholarly commitments.

The whistle was finally blown on the Center in the summer and fall of 2002, when it was discovered that it was republishing, verbatim, vicious Nazi-like Jew-hating propaganda out of the Middle East and forwarding it in its own publications under its own name. Since then, it's only fair to add, the Center has promised to clean up its act and do what academic centers and chairs are supposed to do: promote disinterested scholarship of high quality, not serve as a conduit for political pieties of any sort . . . never mind Jew-hating racism or vicious anti-Americanism.



Keep in mind that the Middle East Studies Establishment was rightly lambasted in a book that came out shortly after 9/11 by Martin Kramer: Ivory Towers on Sand. It documented the utter failure of the Establishment --- which reflected a mix of Saudi money, skewed scholarship, self-deluding nonsense about how Islamist fundamentalisms heralded grass-roots democracy in the Arab world, and Said's ideologically charged views about Orientalism --- to predict anything like the outbreak of extremist terrorism of the bin Laden sort. In its 2001 Conference held a couple of months after 9/11, not one paper dealt with terrorism. A year later, only 2 out of hundreds of papers read at the Conference did, and only tangentially and apologetically in the worst sense of the term.

Here, more specifically, is an excerpt from the buggy professor article on Said that deals with this:

On the heads-in-the-sand denials to confront the realities of Islamist-extremism and support for terrorism, see the gordon-newspost article on the Middle East Studies Association's annual conference . . . held in late November 2002, almost 15 months after the 9/11 attack. Hundreds of papers and dozens of panels were held on a variety of topics on the Middle East, only two of which dealt with terrorism . . . and even then the word in the papers' titles was put in quotation marks, presumably not to offend terrorist sensibilities. Only one paper ever mentioned Al Qaeda. Note to worry though. There were rousing panel discussions that involved luminous works like "Rug Producing bazarris of the Holy City of Qum," along with such exciting topical matters as "Ceramic Production & Consumption in Almohad Seville." Very conveniently to for the chronic apologists of Islamist subjugation of women, only one paper dealt with Islamist views here. Feminism is rife in US cultural studies, sometimes with fatuous results, other times with more scholarly work. Apparently, out of deference for dogmatic shibboleths that prevail in the Middle East Studies Association, its influence seems essentially nil.

Fortunately, the days in which these pulpit-pounding excesses, scholarly failures, and propaganda-conduits were allowed to flourish on many US campuses are now being exposed for what they are by a vigilant media.



Probably the greatest scholar of Islam and the Middle East in the last half century, first at the University of London, then for decades at Princeton, Bernard Lewis --- one of the targets of Edward Said's polemical book, Orientalism, reviewed it in the New York Review of Books Here are some excerpts from the lengthy review. They give you an idea of the lopsided argument, ideological motives, and sheer errors in the Said book.

"Imagine," Bernard Lewis observed at the outset, "a situation in which a group of patriots and radicals from Greece decides that the profession of classical studies is insulting to the great heritage of Hellas, and that those engaged in these studies, known as classicists, are the latest manifestation of a deep and evil conspiracy, incubated for centuries, hatched in Western Europe, fledged in America, the purpose of which is to denigrate the Greek achievement and subjugate the Greek lands and peoples. In this perspective, the entire European tradition of classical studies—largely the creation of French romantics, British colonial governors (of Cyprus, of course), and of poets, professors, and proconsuls from both countries—is a long-standing insult to the honor and integrity of Hellas, and a threat to its future. The poison has spread from Europe to the United States, where the teaching of Greek history, language, and literature in the universities is dominated by the evil race of classicists—men and women who are not of Greek origin, who have no sympathy for Greek causes, and who, under a false mask of dispassionate scholarship, strive to keep the Greek people in a state of permanent subordination.

"The poison," Lewis goes on to say, "has spread from Europe to the United States, where the teaching of Greek history, language, and literature in the universities is dominated by the evil race of classicists—men and women who are not of Greek origin, who have no sympathy for Greek causes, and who, under a false mask of dispassionate scholarship, strive to keep the Greek people in a state of permanent subordination. The time has come to save Greece from the classicists and bring the whole pernicious tradition of classical scholarship to an end. Only Greeks are truly able to teach and write on Greek history and culture from remote antiquity to the present day; only Greeks are genuinely competent to direct and conduct programs of academic studies in these fields. Some non-Greeks may be permitted to join in this great endeavor provided that they give convincing evidence of their competence, as for example by campaigning for the Greek cause in Cyprus, by demonstrating their ill will to the Turks, by offering a pinch of incense to the currently enthroned Greek gods, and by adopting whatever may be the latest fashionable ideology in Greek intellectual circles. Non-Greeks who will not or cannot meet these requirements are obviously hostile, and therefore not equipped to teach Greek studies in a fair and reasonable manner. They must not be permitted to hide behind the mask of classicism, but must be revealed for what they are—Turk-lovers, enemies of the Greek people, and opponents of the Greek cause.

"Those already established in academic circles must be discredited by abuse and thus neutralized; at the same time steps must be taken to ensure Greek or pro-Greek control of university centers and departments of Greek studies and thus, by a kind of academic prophylaxis, prevent the emergence of any further classical scholars or scholarship. In the meantime the very name of classicist must be transformed into a term of abuse. Stated in terms of classics and Greek, the picture is absurd. But if for classicist we substitute "Orientalist," with the appropriate accompanying changes, this amusing fantasy becomes an alarming reality. For some years now a hue and cry has been raised against Orientalists in American and to a lesser extent European universities, and the term "Orientalism" has been emptied of its previous content and given an entirely new one—that of unsympathetic or hostile treatment of Oriental peoples. For that matter, even the terms "unsympathetic" and "hostile" have been redefined to mean not supportive of currently fashionable creeds or causes".



Martin Kramer's Ivory Towers made a huge splash, still washing over the Middle East Studies Establishment, when it came out shortly after 9/11. A closely argued book, it shows how the combination of ideology, cultural studies of the politically correct sort, sheer tendentiousness and knuckle-headed self-deception combined in the Middle East scholarly community since the late 1970s to produce an essentially worthless, self-conning and other-conning form of make-believe writing about Islamist fundamentalisms, the Arab countries, and the Middle East conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

See Kramer's chapter here on Said and his nefarious influence. As for the controversies that have swirled around Ivory Towers over the last two years, you'll find a full depiction of them at another Kramer-maintained site at this link.

Needless to add, the Establishment in Middle East Studies has been agitated into a lather by the criticisms levelled at its failures and activism, both before and after 9/11. Recall the article by one of the dissenters, Stanley Kurz at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, on the efforts by the Establishment to shout McCarthyism and claim they're being persecuted. As Kurz notes, that's nonsense. Not one professor in Middle East Studies, remember, has been removed or even has his or her career threatened by what they have written; not one has presumably suffered in any way, save a professor at the University of South Florida who was dismissed and then charged with aiding Islamist terrorism. What apparently agitates the Establilshment is that their failures and activist agendas have been publicly exposed, little else. See Kurz's article here.

Kurz does wonder, rightly, why the US government would continue to fund the research of these incompetents and activists. Who wouldn't?