Monday, August 08, 2005

Columbia: The Epicenter Of Academic Apologists

How does fanaticism develop? What are the circumstances that allow the mentality of the suicide bomber to take root? One could (and many have) write a book on that subject, yet surely one mode to the acceptance of barbaric measures is the demonization of your enemies. When the source of the vitriol has an outwardly acceptable veneer, the insidious virus of hatred takes hold so much the easier. It should come as no surprise, then, that when we examine the roots of Islamic fascism, we discover much of the fuel coming from the world of academia, which, under the rubric of Middle Eastern Studies, promotes an ideology of hatred, and, yes, anti-Semitism (and by extension, anti-U.S. sentiment, as well, since we are identified with our allies, the Israelis).

An excellent article in Commentary by Efraim Karsh provides much of the backstory of how Columbia University came to epitomize this unfortunate trend. A sample:
It is difficult to overstate the tenacity of the resulting infestation of Arab dogmatism in Middle East studies as a field. Over the last two decades, one would be hard-pressed to find books on the Arab-Israeli conflict issuing from Middle East-studies departments that present the Jewish state in a dispassionate, let alone a positive, light, and hardly any such items appear on course reading lists. Thus, at Columbia, the syllabus for Joseph Massad's fall 2004 survey course on the Middle East included, in addition to readings from the canonical Edward Said and the subtler Orientalist Albert Hourani, a single work on Israel: a three-decades-old screed by the French Marxist historian of Islam, Maxime Rodinson, whose title, Israel, a Colonial-Settler State?, says it all. Scholars daring to defy the general stigmatization of Israel have been attacked and marginalized.
Highly recommended...

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