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Leftist Historians respond....

Reader comment on item: Defund Middle East Studies

Submitted by Alexis Z (United States), Mar 22, 2004 at 16:40

As a "lurker" on a listserv promoted by a professor at my college, "Historians Against the War" (HAW), here is their response to the proposed HR3077 (I have edited out parts of the posted article in the interest of length). Take note of their 'warning' in the "Important Note" listed in the last paragraph.

Israeli Lobby Slips Anti-Free Speech Bill Through House
By Michael Collins Piper
www.rense.com/general50/israelilobbyslips.htm

> The Israeli lobby has launched an all-out drive to ensure
> congressional passage of a bill (approved by the House and now
> before a Senate committee) that would set up a virtual federal
> tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism of Israel on American
> college campuses.

> This bill is dangerous - a direct affront to the First Amendment and
> the product of intrigue by a small clique of individuals and
> organizations which combines the "elite" forces of the powerful
> Israeli lobby in official Washington.

> There are absolutely no grass-roots organizations supporting this
> measure whatsoever. Instead, leading the push for Senate approval of
> the House-originated bill, are the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of
> B'nai B'rith, the American Jewish Congress, and the American Jewish
> Committee.
>
> Also lending its support is Empower America, the neo-conservative
> front group established by longtime pro-Israel publicist William
> Kristol, editor and publisher of billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Weekly
> Standard which is said to be the "intellectual" journal that governs
> the train of foreign policy thinking in the Bush administration.

> H.R. 3077 is innocuously worded and quite bureaucratic in its tone,
> decipherable only to those with the capacity to wade through
> legislative linguistics , but essentially it would set up a seven-
> member advisory board that would have the power to recommend cutting
> federal funding for colleges and universities that are viewed as
> harboring academic critics of Israel.

> In fact, the primary individuals promoting this effort to control
> intellectual debate on the college campuses are known for having a
> political axe to grind: they are all prominent and outspoken
> supporters of Israel and harsh critics of the Arab and Muslim
> worlds. They are:
>
> * Martin Kramer, a professor of Arab studies at The Moshe Dayan
> Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel;
>
> * Stanley Kurtz, a contributor of ex-CIA man William F. Buckley
> Jr.'s bitterly anti-Arab National Review Online and a research
> fellow at the staunchly pro-Israel Hoover Institution; and
>
> * Daniel Pipes, founder of the pro-Israel Middle East Institute and
> its affiliate, Campus Watch, an ADL-style organization that keeps
> tabs on college professors and students who are-or are suspected of
> being-critics of Israel.
>
> Hiding behind the banner of defending America, these three-along
> with the Israeli lobby affiliates promoting H.R. 3077-are claiming
> that they are fighting "anti-Americanism" as it is being taught on
> the college campuses.
>
> Republicans in Congress have joined this chorus, preferring to allow
> their constituents to think that this is an "America First" measure
> when it is anything but that.

> The promoters are also suggesting that this legislation would-in the
> words of the American Jewish Committee-"enhance intellectual freedom
> on campus by enabling diverse viewpoints to be heard," when, of
> course, the legislation would do precisely the opposite.
>
> Lisa Anderson of the Columbia University School of International and
> Public Affairs says in response that "this plan . . . is not about
> diversity, or even about the truth." Unfortunately, she doesn't
> choose to tackle the Israeli lobby head on.

> Instead, she targets her ire at the Republican conservatives who are
> acting as the Israeli lobby's surrogates and says that this plan
> is "about the conviction of conservative political activists that
> the American university community is unsufficiently patriotic, or
> perhaps simply unsufficiently conservative." What she should be
> saying is that these Republicans who are carrying water for Israel
> are concerned that universities are "unsufficiently pro-Israel."
>
> The Republican House members who originally joined Hoekstra in co-
> sponsoring this dangerous legislation should be named for the
> record. They are:
>
> * John A. Boehner (Ohio)
> * John R. Carter (Texas)
> * Tom Cole (Oklahoma)
> * James Greenwood (Penn.)
> * Howard (Buck) McKeon (Calif.)
> * Patrick J. Tiberi (Ohio)
> * Joe Wilson (South Carolina)

> Critics say this is a new form of what has been known in the past
> as "McCarthyism" and no matter what you may think about the late
> Sen. Joseph McCarthy whose name rightly or wrongly inspired that
> terminology, the truth is that this legislation is "McCarthyism" by
> virtue of the popular definition.
>
> The only chance to destroy this legislation and stop it dead in
> tracks is for enough gras-roots citizens to rise up and demand that
> H.R. 3077 be put to rest. And believe it or not, the onesenator who
> may be able to stop it is Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy of Massachusetts.
> (See accompanying story).

> SIDEBAR
>
> Contact Senate Members.
> Urge that H.R. 3077 be shelved.
>
> The Israeli lobby's pet project, H.R. 3077, innocuously named as The
> International Studies in Higher Education Act of 2003-and popularly
> known as "Title 6"-is now before the Senate's Committee on Health,
> Education, Labor and Pensions.
>
> This committee is controlled by the Republican majority who are
> likely to support the bill, but the ranking minority member is
> powerful Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) who has been-perhaps to
> the surprise of many, including even AFP readers-an outspoken critic
> of Daniel Pipes, one of the leading proponents of H.R. 3077.
>
> Although it is not well known, Kennedy's second wife is an Arab-
> American and he has become quite attuned to Arab-bashing of the type
> that Pipes engages in. As such-despite what one may think of
> Kennedy's views on other issues-he is seen as a possible roadblock
> in the way of final approval by the Senate committee of H.R. 3077.
>
> For this reason, AFP recommends that those who want to work for the
> defeat of this Israeli measure contact the offices of the following
> senators-all of whom are Democrats with the exception of independent
> James Jeffords of Vermont-and urge them to oppose H.R. 3077.
>
> IMPORTANT NOTE: Be very precise in your language. Simply tell the
> senators to oppose H.R. 3077-that it is an infringement upon the
> First Amendment and a threat to academic freedom in America. Do not
> lecture the senators about the power of the Israeli lobby or give
> them the "facts" that have been reported in AFP. Rest assured that
> the senators are well versed in the realities of the situation.
> Simply give them the opportunity to say publicly that they have
> received a flood of calls, letters and e-mails urging them to oppose
> H.R. 3077. The list of senators is as follows:
Submitting....

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