Campus Watch

Last month, Dateline ran a story on the US-based Campus Watch, “a project of the Middle East Forum, [which] reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America, with an aim to improving them”. Established by one of Australian President George Dubya’s favourite academic poodles, Daniel Pipes, the Watch functions to help silence dissenting voices within the US academy in relation to US foreign policy in the region.

DANIEL PIPES, DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST FORUM: I have a feeling that universities have been hijacked. In other words, the people I went to school with in the late ’60s, early ’70s, my contemporaries, who were the revolutionaries as students, did not achieve their goals of taking over and changing the country, but they did take over and change the universities.

ASSOC. PROFESSOR JOSEPH MASSAD, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Remember, there’s a right-wing effort across America today to silence any criticism of Israel and of the US Government. So the Israel lobby found this an opportune time to enter the university and silence the critics of Israel because of this prevailing mood. And therefore the real attack is on academic freedom.

More hereSee also Vincent/Danby Interview with George Negus (November 8, 2006); Defend our universities!; ‘Mideast studies accused’, Rebecca Weisser, The Australian, November 22, 2006; ‘Watching the Watchers’, Jamie Hyams, Australia/Israel Review, December 2006; ‘It’s Academic: Anti-Zionism in Australian academia’, Ted Lapkin, Australia/Israel Review, August 2006; ‘Intellectuals, democracy and empire’, Robert Blecher, Evatt Foundation, May 2003.

And on a somewhat related note: ‘The Seductions of Islamism: Revisiting Foucault and the Iranian Revolution’, Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson, New Politics, Vol. 10, No. 1, Summer 2004:

IN THE TWO AND A HALF DECADES since 1979, the tremors set off by the Iranian Revolution helped in no small way to spark an international series of Islamist movements. Radical Islamists have taken power or staged destructive civil wars in a number of countries, from Algeria to Egypt and from Sudan to Afghanistan, in the latter case with U.S. support. These regimes and movements have been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and for numerous setbacks to women’s rights throughout the Muslim world. Islamism gained such power and influence during a period when equally retrogressionist Christian, Hindu, and Jewish religious fundamentalist movements were also on the rise, all of them inimical to women’s rights. The September 11 attacks were a dramatic and horrific example of the dangers of such religious fanaticism…

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2023 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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7 Responses to Campus Watch

  1. sparx says:

    Campus Watch Saves the Middle East from Itself.

    Whenever I ring the Federal Government’s ‘alert but not alarmed’ Terrorist Hotline, I always ask to talk to Stewart. Stewart only works on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I only ever ring on Tuesdays and Fridays. But I ring every Tuesday and Friday, so by now I consider Stewart a friend and call him ‘Stew’. Often we talk about what was on TV the night before. On Tuesdays, we usually talk about last night’s Sopranos and on Fridays we discuss NYPD Blue. We both agree that Homicide: Life on the Street was by far the best American drama series ever produced. And we talk about terrorism. Stew tells me a bit about the other calls he gets – pranks, mostly, and people wanting definitions of “suspicious behaviour” and to know the difference between being ‘alert’ and being ‘alarmed’. And I tell Stew about some of my concerns, namely, that I might be guilty of ‘suspicious behaviour’ myself and that my suspicious behaviour may one day take a terrifying turn. (Stew used to be a professional mediator, and before that, a school counsellor, so if he feels I need it, he gives me little exercises to boost my self-esteem.)

    I tell Stew that I have trouble ‘trusting’ the United States when it comes to the Middle East. I tell him that I have trouble ‘trusting’ the very people who invented nuclear weapons and facilitated Iraq’s acquisition of chemical weapons, when they say that they only want to disarm Iraq to make the world a safer place. Sometimes I tell Stew – and this is only after a lot of coaxing – that I think it’s kind of hypocritical for America to get so worked up about Iraq’s weapons programmes and Iraq’s violations of UN resolutions when Israel has nuclear weapons and has been violating numerous UN resolutions for decades. And I say that I think that the Australian government is wrong to be supporting the United States so unquestioningly and I say that I think that the Australian government is wrong to be taking such a hardline on the Iraqi regime while treating the refugees who have escaped that regime so cruelly.

    Stew listens attentively before responding and – inevitably – dismissing my concerns. He says that while my thoughts are indeed serious, and probably do render me statistically more likely to commit an act of terror sometime in the future, there’s not really anything the ‘alert but not alarmed’ Terrorist Hotline can do. “We can monitor the websites you visit,” he tells me, “and the books you buy and the phone calls you make, but beyond that…” The problem, Stew insists, is that up to this point, all my crimes been ‘thought crimes’, and the ‘alert but not alarmed’ Terrorist Hotline simply doesn’t have the resources to crack down on thought crimes under the current funding arrangement.

    “But,” Stew told me during our final conversation, “there may be an alternative.” Stew knew that I’m a student and so he told me about Campus Watch. Campus Watch was established on September 18, 2002 by the neo-conservative, pro-Israeli Middle East Forum which describes itself as a “think tank that works to define and promote American interests in the region and to shape the intellectual climate in which U.S. policy is made.” (Middle East Forum, 21/10/02) Both the MEF and Campus Watch are run by the two-man lobby team of Daniel Pipes and his buddypal, Martin Kramer. Pipes is a part-time U.S. Defence Department ultra-hawk, who wrote in a 1990 article that, “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene… All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” (cited in The Nation 11/11/02) Perhaps noting that Pipe’s training is in medieval European history, not the contemporary Middle East puts this quote in perspective. Kramer, on the other hand, is notorious for, amongst other things, his book Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America which proposes that all federal resources for Middle East studies in American universities be rerouted to the Defence Department.

    So, what’s the idea behind Pipes and Kramer’s Campus Watch, and what’s that got to do with Stew and me? Stew quoted Pipes from a Los Angeles Times (27/12/02) article, “American universities have turned into hotbeds of opposition, and it’s time to take them back… The country needs its universities to become more mature, responsible and patriotic.” Which still doesn’t explain what that has to do with me, I must say. It just kind of confirms that Pipes wants to stifle academic debate and turn universities into right-wing think-tanks, along the line of his right-wing think-tank. Stew quoted Pipes again, (from the Washing Report on Middle East Affairs 12/02) “Middle Eastern studies at most universities presents only one interpretation, left-leaning groupthink.”

    I told Stew that I didn’t really see where all this was headed and that all I really wanted was for someone to do something before my thought crimes got out of hand. Stew told me that Campus Watch had assembled ‘dossiers’ on dozens of academics in North America who they felt weren’t sufficiently pro-American and pro-Israeli. “For me, ‘dossier’ was just a French word for ‘file'” (WRMEA 12/02) Pipes insisted, trying to downplay accusations of McCarthyism. While I don’t support McCarthyism, I told Stew, I didn’t really see what this has to do with me.

    (“Since the dossiers were first posted, the targeted professors have been inundated with hostile spam, rendering their e-mail accounts almost useless, and most have been victims of “spoofing,” in which their identities are stolen and thousands of offensive e-mail messages sent out in their names. More than one scholar has received telephone death threats.” – Kristine McNeil, ‘The War on Academic Freedom’, The Nation 11/11/02.)

    “After all,” I said to Stew, “Campus Watch is after the big fish, like Edward Said, and the medium sized fish, like John Esposito from Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. But what’s that got to do with me? I’m no-one.” Stew asked me if I had been doing the self-esteem building exercises he told me about and I admitted that I hadn’t.

    “It’s not just about the big and medium sized un-American American fish,” Stew insisted. “Campus Watch is nothing if not ambitious… and interactive. If you visit you’ll see that there’s a section called ‘Keep us Informed’, that’s where people all over the world can inform on academics who don’t toe the Pipes-Kramer ideological line. But it’s not just that,” Stew continued, “they also want to know about other things, like lectures, demonstrations, articles in local and student press – ”

    ” – but what about my THOUGHTS,” I gushed, “what about these THINGS that I’m THINKING, the vile and treacherous apologetics that are bouncing around in my head?”

    (“I want Noam Chomsky to be taught at universities about as much as I want Hitler’s writing or Stalin’s writing,” – Daniel Pipes, 30/9/02.)

    “My friend,” Stew said to me, “the sooner Campus Watch is informed about the thoughts in your head, the better. We’ve established that these thoughts of yours, these ‘vile and treacherous apologetics’ as you correctly label them, are yet to manifest in a physical act of terror… but I wonder… I wonder if you’ve expressed these thought crimes in any other way… verbalizing them, for example… or through some form of written communication, writing for example, or pictograms.”

    “Well,” I said, “sometimes I do discuss my thoughts… my feelings… about these matters with other people. Sometimes as many as two or three other people. And sometimes I write things, on walls or whatever.”

    (“Middle East studies in the United States has become the preserve of Middle Eastern Arabs, who have brought their views with them. Membership in the Middle East Studies Association, the main scholarly association, is now 50 percent of Middle Eastern origin.” –

    “What you’re doing, in effect,” Stew told me, “is creating a volatile situation whereby right-thinking defenders of Israeli and American interests are scared – terrified – to confront the pervasive pro-Arab hegemony that you have personally created at your university.”

    “I never knew…” I whispered, “why didn’t someone tell me? Why didn’t you call me? WHY didn’t YOU call ME?!”

    “It’s not just about you,” Stew countered, “I mean, you’ve probably got academics at that university of yours, haven’t you?”

    “I guess,” I said.

    (“I have recently learned that your organization is compiling dossiers on professors at U.S. academic institutions who oppose the Israeli occupation and its brutality, actively support Palestinian rights of self-determination as well as a more informed and intelligent view of Islam than is currently represented in the U.S. media. I would be enormously honored to be counted among those who actively hold these positions and would like to be included in the list of those who are struggling for justice.” – Judith Butler, requesting to be added to the Campus Watch blacklist, New York Times 27/09/02.)

    “It’s probably well past time for someone to turn them in,” Stew insisted. “For example, how many of your lectures have publicly condemned Palestinian suicide bombers?”

    “It’s never really come up,” I said.

    (“You describe the Middle East Forum, of which I am the director, as ‘a pro-Israel research and policy group.’ In fact, the Middle East forum has as its slogan ‘Promoting American Interests.’ The forum believes in strong ties with Israel, Turkey and other democracies in the Middle East as they emerge. It is not pro-Israel; it is pro-American.” – Daniel Pipes, letter to the New York Times 03/10/02.)

    “So they’re giving de facto support to the terrorists, are they?” Stew asked. “Do they even care about defending Western Civilisation from those who wish to destroy it? And what about September 11? Did any of your lecturers denounce the attacks of September 11 and clearly blame political Islam and the rogue nation’s who support terrorism for those terrible, terrible events that stopped the world?”

    “Uh… not in so many words,” I said.

    (“The list [of professors] is actually too short. It should be much longer. More people would be on the list than off the list.” – Martin Kramer, quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education 19/09/02)

    “Then I think you’ve got some e-mailing to do, my friend,” Stew said before telling me that he’d be leaving the ‘alert but not alarmed’ Terrorist Hotline to spend more time developing his website. “It’s always been my dream to review episodes of Star Trek for a living and my website is going to make that dream a reality,” he said. I told Stew that I was glad to have him as a friend and he told me to be alert but not alarmed.

  2. @ndy says:

    Thanks sparx.

    Say “G’day” to Stew for me.

    Correction :

    “The problem, Stew insists, is that up to this point, all my crimes HAVE been ‘thought crimes’, and the ‘alert but not alarmed’ Terrorist Hotline simply doesn’t have the resources to crack down on thought crimes under the current funding arrangement.”

    Alert Level :

    The current level of alert for Australia is


    Useful numbers :

    1800 123 400 — 24 hour National Security Hotline

    Terrorist Organisations :

    There are 19 organisations now officially listed. They are:

    1) Abu Sayyaf Group – Listed 14 November 2002, re-listed 5 November 2004 and 3 November 2006

    2) Al Qa’ida – Listed 21 October 2002, re-listed 1 September 2004 and 24 August 2006

    3) Al-Zarqawi – Listed 26 February 2005

    4) Ansar Al-Islam – Listed 27 March 2003 and re-listed 23 March 2005

    5) Armed Islamic Group – Listed 14 November 2002, re-listed 5 November 2004 and 3 November 2006

    6) Asbat al-Ansar – Listed 11 April 2003 and re-listed 11 April 2005

    7) Egyptian Islamic Jihad – Listed 11 April 2003 and re-listed 11 April 2005

    8 ) Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades – Listed in Australia 9 November 2003, re-listed 5 June 2005 and 6 October 2005

    9) Hizballah External Security Organisation – Listed 5 June 2003 and re-listed 5 June 2005

    10) Islamic Army of Aden – Listed 11 April 2003 and re-listed 11 April 2005

    11) Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan – Listed 11 April 2003 and re-listed 11 April 2005

    12) Jaish-i-Mohammed – Listed 11 April 2003 and re-listed 11 April 2005

    13) Jamiat ul-Ansar (formerly known as Harakat Ul-Mujahideen) – Listed 14 November 2002, re-listed 5 November 2004 and 3 November 2006

    14) Jemaah Islamiyah – Listed 27 October 2002, re-listed 1 September 2004 and 24 August 2006

    15) Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)* – Listed 17 December 2005

    16) Lashkar I Jhangvi – Listed 11 April 2003 and re-listed 11 April 2005

    17) Lashkar-e-Tayyiba – Listed 9 November 2003, re-listed 5 June 2005 and 6 October 2005

    18) Palestinian Islamic Jihad – Listed 3 May 2004, re-listed 5 June 2005 and 6 October 2005

    19) Salafist Group for Call and Combat – Listed 14 November 2002, re-listed 5 November 2004 and 3 November 2006

    *Afaik, the only secular, non-Islamic organsiation deemed to be ‘terrorist’.

    Thought For the Day :

    “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.”

    — Noam Chomsky, c.1990—-.htm

  3. The Salafist Group for Call and Combat?

    More like the Salafist Group for Colour Clashes.

    No style.

  4. paradigm says:

    sparx, you’re piece had me on the floor laughing. i didn’t know whether it was real or not and i still don’t. stew sounds like what i imagine a person on the end of the terrorist line would sound like. complete to the demeanour and the tone of voice. this is easily the best article i’ve read today. you’re a damn good writer. wish others could read this and write as well as you do.

  5. @ndy says:

    “sparx, YOUR piece had me on the floor laughing.”

    On the Salafists, Algeria and terrorism :

    ‘Who staged the tourist kidnappings? El Para, the Maghreb’s Bin Laden’
    Salima Mellah and Jean-Baptiste Rivoire
    Le Monde Diplomatique
    February 2005

    “The mysterious El Para affair in Algeria may prove that the Maghreb has become a target for the United States in its military and political redeployments. Could the Algerian government be arranging events, such as the kidnapping of foreign tourists in the Sahara and inventing its own Osama bin Laden, to capture Washington’s attention and ensure attendant arms sales?

    THE Algerian government launched a major diplomatic offensive early in 2003 to obtain financial and military support from Washington. Its efforts were given an enormous boost by Abderrazak “El Para”, a former Algerian special forces officer who had gone over to the Salafist Group for Preaching [“Call”] and Combat (GSPC). On 4 January, the day before a high-level United States military delegation arrived in Algiers to discuss the resumption of arms sales to Algeria as part of the fight against terrorism, El Para’s group attacked a military convoy near Batna, killing 43 soldiers…”

    Many of the listed organisations are CIA chickens…

  6. Caspar says:

    He he he heeeeee heeeeee heeeeee. Sparx, that was hilarious!

    I haven\’t had such a good laugh in a long time. Someone once told me they rang up the terrorist hotline to report the Howard Government for terrorism; to wit, colluding with the Indonesians to sabotage the SIEV X (the boat that sank with 353 people in Australian waters, which we mysteriously didn\’t detect in time, in spite of having the DSD (Defence Signals Directorate), a highly advanced surveillance operation constantly in place, which was reported as eavesdropping on Federal Labor politicians). This came out in the media, how ASIO were colluding with TNI to sabotage refugee vessels before they departed Indonesia.

    Anyway, this person\’s \’Stew\’ apparently replied that terrorism was defined as an act of violence committed with a political objective. My friend replied to Stew that our government was fulfilling its political agenda of keeping refugees out by employing ASIO to commit acts of violence against refugees. Stew kept my friend talking for quite some time, obviously in a vain attempt to trace the call (my friend was calling from a public phonebox, he isn\’t stupid) and keep tabs on him from that point on.

    Whilst my friend felt rather chufffed with himself for \’sticking it to the man\’ in such a fantastically humourous and satirical fashion, he has since been dogged by a persistent sense of paranoia, like ASIO are on to him and know that he knows about them and is on to them.

    I guess sarcastic wit comes at a price, but we all have to have our moment in the sun don\’t we.

  7. @ndy says:

    PS. On Joseph Massad:

    Doug Ireland has recently reviewed a new book, UNSPEAKABLE LOVE: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East by Brian Whittaker (University of California Press, 2006).

    In it, he writes:


    One of the most useful chapters in the book is Whitaker’s dissection and refutation of the arguments of Joseph Massad, a controversial Columbia University professor and author of a widely-circulated essay (‘Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World’, Public Culture, Spring, 2002) complaining that gay rights in Arab and Muslim countries is an imperialist ‘missionary’ project orchestrated by what he calls the ‘Gay International’.

    In concluding his dissection of Massad, Whitaker writes that Massad and his acolytes present the debate “as a choice between cultural authenticity on the one hand and the adoption of all things Western on the other. In fact, neither is a realistic proposition. Exposure to foreign ideas and influences cannot be prevented, but nor are Arabs incapable of making critical judgments about them. Equally, Arab culture cannot be treated as a fossil; it is a culture in which real people lead real lives and it must be allowed to evolve to meet their needs. The issue, then, is not whether concepts such as ‘gay’ and ‘sexual orientation’ are foreign imports, but whether they serve a useful purpose. For Arabs who grow up disturbed by an inexplicable attraction towards members of their own sex, they can provide a framework for understanding. For families — puzzled, troubled, and uninformed by their own society — they offer a sensible alternative to regarding sons and daughters as sinful or mad.”


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