Stanford University’s Joel Beinin is used to criticism for his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but when a conservative commentator put the professor’s photo on the cover of a booklet titled “Campus Support for Terrorism,” it started a whole new war.
Beinin, a prominent Middle Eastern scholar, filed suit in March — turning his ideological clash with FrontPageMag.com Editor in Chief David Horowitz into a legal one.
Horowitz removed the photo from later printings, but Beinin said the harm had already been done and is demanding unspecified damages. With the United States at war in Iraq, Beinin said, it’s a scary time to be labeled a supporter of terrorism.
“Horowitz is — if not a coordinated part — part of a broader attack against people who speak out against Bush’s Middle Eastern policies,” said Beinin, past president of the Middle Eastern Studies Association. “If you don’t fight back and allow the Horowitzes to do and say what they want, it pollutes the political environment to the point where you can’t have intelligent discussions about what we do in the world.” . . .
“As long as faculty are free to question accepted ideas and notions, there will always be those disturbed by their questioning, and there will always be those who will call for restraints on freedom,” he said.
Knight cited Columbia University, where the administration formed an ad hoc committee in 2005 to investigate the classroom behavior of Middle Eastern studies Professor Joseph Massad after student complaints. Knight fears such censure is having a chilling affect on academia.
Campus Watch — a project by the Middle East Forum — has encouraged students to monitor professors for perceived anti-Israel bias and report their findings. The Campus Watch Web site has many articles about Beinin.