Most Of Them Are People Who Come From

Most of them are People who Come from the Area and have certain Sympathies . . .

Barbara Ferguson reports thatMajor Jewish organizations are lobbying the Senate to approve a bill that would authorize federal monitoring of government-funded Middle East studies programs throughout US universities.

Ori Nir of the Forward gives a similar report. (Registration required).

[I have been pleading with readers to write their senators to knock this neo-McCarthyism down.]

The essentially racist attitudes among some of the Zionist activists that are driving their concern are apparent in the utterly appalling remark of Lois Waldman of the American Jewish Congress, quoted by Nir:

“It is very hard to change attitudes within the Middle East centers,” said Lois Waldman, co-director of the Commission on Law & Social Action at the AJCongress. “Professors there, most of them, are people who come from the area and have certain sympathies created by their own ethnicity and their own family background.”

I cannot begin to say how offensive this way of thinking is, and how much it argues against an AIPAC-backed “advisory committee,” which apparently is intended to purge professors based on their “ethnicity.” That spokespersons for a major American Jewish organization should have adopted this way of speaking is chilling. I hardly need point out that if one applied her statement to Judaic Studies Centers it would be incredibly offensive. It is incredibly offensive any way you look at it.

I object absolutely to categorizing my colleagues by their “ethnicity.” But just because Ms. Waldman’s remarks are so wrong, I will list the faculty of the Middle East Center at the University of Michigan according to its web site. I’ll let you decide if “most of them” “come from” the Middle East, or whether the conclusions Ms. Waldman draws from such origins are reasonable.

Babaie, Sussan. Art History.

Babayan, Kathryn. Persian History and Literature.

Bardakjian, Kevork B. Armenian literature.

Bardenstein, Carol. Arabic literature.

Boccaccini, Gabriele. Early Rabbinic Literature.

Gary Beckman. Ancient Near East.

Bonner, Michael. Medieval Islamic History.

Cole, Juan. Modern Middle East History.

Frieda Ekotto, French literature (including N. Africa)

Yaron Z. Eliav, Rabbinic Literature

Todd M. Endelman, Modern Jewish Hitory

Amal Fadlalla, Afromamerican and African Studies and Women’s Studies

John VA Fine, Professor of Balkan and Byzantine History

Kent Flannery, James B. Griffin Professor, Archaeology

Elliot Ginsburg, Associate Professor of Jewish Thought

Gocek, Fatma Muge. Sociology.

Hagen, Gottfried. Turkish literature.

Jarrod L. Hayes. French Literature.

Jeffrey G.Heath, Linguistics

Peter Hook, Linguistics

Inhorn, Marcia C., Public Health (Center Director)

Jackson, Sherman. Islamics.

Knysh, Alexander. Islamics.

Larimore, Ann Evans. Women’s Studies.

LeGassick, Trevor. Arabic literature.

Lindner, Rudi Paul. Ottoman history.

Naber, Nadine C. Arab-American Studies.

Rammuny, Raji. Arabic Linguistics.

Janet Richards, Egyptology

Margaret Root,Ancient Near Eastern and Classical Art & Archaeology

Ilan Rosenberg. Lecturer of Modern Hebrew

Brian Schmidt. Hebrew Bible & Ancient Mediterranean West Asian Cultures

Anton Shammas. Modern Middle Eastern Literature and Comparative Literature

Shachar Pinsker. Hebrew Literature & Culture

Shryock, Andrew J. Anthropology.

Stefanie Siegmund, History and Judaic Studies

Amr Soliman, School of Public Health

Mark Tessler, Political Science

Thelma Thomas, History of Art

Ruth Tsoffar. Hebrew Literature, Language & Culture

Paula Weizman. Lecturer of Hebrew Language

Robert Whallon, Jr. Anthropology

Terry Wilfong, Egyptology

Mark Wilson, Epedimology

Gernot L. Windfuhr, Iranian Studies

Henry Wright, Anthropology

Norman Yoffee, Mesopotamian Studies and Anthropology