I count 16 attacks on me penned by one Richard Silverstein during the past four years, or one every three months; is it fair to say that this leftist is obsessed with me? I make a habit of ignoring him, but his latest screed in London's Guardian, "Uninvited Guests," contains not one but two errors, so here follow my corrections.
(1) Silverstein writes that Tariq Ramadan's visa to teach at Notre Dame "was revoked in part because Daniel Pipes and other neocons lied, claiming Ramadan was a supporter of Islamic terror."
Reply: On Ramadan being "a supporter of Islamic terror": Sorry Silverstein, but the Department of Homeland Security established that he donated funds to the "Comité de Bienfaisance et Secours aux Palestiniens" and the "Association de Secours Palestinien." Further, Ramadan acknowledges having donated funds "totaling approximately $900 to a Swiss Palestinian-support group that is now on the American blacklist."
On the matter of my role in Tariq Ramadan's exclusion from the United States, Ramadan himself cannot make up his own mind on this subject, having both blamed me and absolved me of responsibility.
But I have been unequivocal and consistent on this topic, pointing out that I had no connection to the Ramadan exclusion. See "Tariq Ramadan, the Chicago Tribune, and Me," where I explain how it was Ramadan's blaming me for his exclusion, actually, that got me to write about him, not the other way around.
If Silverstein thinks this too a lie, I challenge him to document what my role in the exclusion was. (Incidentally, this is not the first challenge my colleagues and I have proposed to Silverstein; in August 2007, in "Richard Silverstein's Fictions about Campus Watch, Paula Stern, and Nadia Abu El-Haj," we asked him to show just how Campus Watch got Paula Stern, a Barnard College alumna, to circulate a petition to deny tenure to Barnard anthropologist Nadia Abu El-Haj. Over a year later, we have yet to receive his documentation.)
(2) Silverstein writes about Rashid Khalidi that he was "similarly smeared while he was under consideration for an endowed chair at Princeton and also fired from teaching a course to New York public school teachers about the Middle East, because of false charges made by Daniel Pipes of supporting Arab radicalism."
Reply: As always, I am delighted to be ascribed the power to deny a so-called professor like Khalidi positions at Princeton University and the New York City Department of Education. Thank you, Silverstein.
But how amusing that Silverstein should deny Khalidi's support for Arab radicalism. The best proof was his having served as a spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization a quarter century ago, when it was still on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations. That fact has been publicly known since Asaf Romirowsky and Jonathan Calt Harris wrote it up in 2004 at "Arafat Minion as Professor," and which reemerged recently with the focus on Khalidi's relationship to Barack Obama.
As for Khalidi's writings, they certainly strike me as "supporting Arab radicalism." To take one nearly at random: In a recent Nation article, "Palestine: Liberation Deferred," Khalidi demonstrates his usual apologetic attitude towards Palestinian "resistance" (i.e., terrorism) and callousness towards its Israeli victims:
Many Palestinians understandably cling to the legitimate right of any people under occupation to resist their oppressors. They see only the extensive, continuous violence directed by Israel against the Palestinians, much of it structural and integral to the maintenance of the occupation. They cannot understand that because of Israel's cloak of permanent victimhood, its massive violence remains either invisible or justified in the West, while every Israeli casualty seems to be mourned there with infinite sadness and is taken as another sign of the inherent barbarity of the Palestinians.
Comment: Who can take my critics seriously when they persist in getting simple facts wrong? Why do they so often shoot themselves in the foot this way? (June 6, 2008)
Feb. 24, 2014 update: Chloé Valdary eviscerates Silverstein as she replies at " In defense of liberty" to his racism and bigotry.