New Bill in Congress Targets Teachers Who Dare to Question US Support for Israel

<<< Earlier issue of this journal ^ This issue of this journal Later issue of this journal >>>

Article/book #: 6402
Title: New Bill in Congress Targets Teachers Who Dare to Question US Support for Israel
By: Michael Collins Piper  
Published in: Miftah
Date of issue: Saturday, 20 March 2004
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:
Commentary (by a person who is not a member of the UCC Palestine Solidarity Campaign ):

From the Washingon Report on Middle East Affrairs

Regarding the article we e-mailed to our list: "Israeli Lobby Slips Anti-Free Speech Bill Through House of Representatives… Bill Can Still Be Defeated in Senate if Citizens Act Now" By Michael Collins Piper. Piper mistakenly identifies Daniel Pipes as "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."

Of course Piper means Middle East Forum, not the Middle East Institute (MEI). We apologize for missing that error in Piper's excellent article. MEI, an organization with events we regularly cover in the Washington Report, promotes a much more balanced view of the Middle East. Our apologies to MEI, which quickly brought the error to our attention.

A description of the MEI, taken from its Web site follows: Since 1946 the Middle East Institute has been an important conduit of information between Middle Eastern nations and American Policy makers and organizations. From our founding in 1946 until today we have worked to increase knowledge of the Middle East among our own citizens and to promote understanding between the peoples of the Middle East and America. Today we play a vital and unique role on Middle Eastern issues by carrying our work beyond the beltway and by working actively with organizations in the region itself. Our Public Policy Center and Department of Programs present to Washington and beyond, on line, programs with top experts and officials from the US and foreign governments.

Michael Collins Piper writes for and can be reached at 1433 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20003

»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 federal tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism of Israel on American college campuses.
Ten months ago the New York-based Jewish Week newspaper claimed that the report by American Free Press that Republican members of the Senate were planning to crack down on college and university professors who were critical of Israel was "a dangerous urban legend at best, deliberate disinformation at worst." They were claiming that AFP lied.
However, on Sept. 17, 2003, the House Subcommittee on Select Education unanimously approved H.R. 3077, the International Studies in Higher Education Act, which was then passed by the full House on Oct. 21. The chief sponsor of the legislation was Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a conservative Republican from Michigan.«

»Critics charge that the 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 forces of the powerful Israeli lobby in official Washington. Leading the push for Senate approval of the bill are the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai B'rith, run by Abe Foxman, the American Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee. Also lending its support is Empower America, the neo-conservative front group established by 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. One other group has lent its support: the U.S. India Political Action Committee, an Indian-American group that has been working closely with the Israeli lobby now that Israel and India are geopolitically allied.«

»Juan Cole of the History News Network responds to this extraordinary twist on reality saying that the claim of "anti-Americanism" is intellectually dishonest.

"What they mean… if you pin them down is ambivalence about the Iraq war, or dislike of Israeli colonization of the West Bank, or recognition that the U.S. government has sometimes in the past been in bed with present enemies like al Qaeda or Saddam. None of these positions is 'anti-American,' and any attempt by a congressionally appointed body to tell university professors they cannot say these things-or that if they say them they must hire someone else who will say the opposite-is a contravention of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."«

Previous Next