Middle East studies and storms

Middle East studies and storms
: At Jewsweek, Bradford Pilcher reports on the battles over government funding of Middle East studies departments at U.S. universities.

The ironies are obvious: Just as we are under attack from Middle East sources and just as we are trying to take an active and helpful role there, we need more knowledge of the area and more people who can speak the language and understand the people and the issues; we need more Middle East education.

But these departments are peopled by academics who are in some cases rabidly anti-American.

Edward Said, who virtually invented the field, has criticized the United States as having a “history of reducing whole peoples, countries, and even continents to ruin by nothing short of holocaust.” In 2000, Said referred to the Constitution as a “document reflecting the wealthy, white, slaveholding, Anglophilic men who wrote it,” and implied it was treated with too much reverence by patriotic fundamentalists.

The right has been attacking these professors and the funding is the battleground now. Says Pilcher:

The quality of our intelligence gathering, the strength of our national defense, and our ability to see another 9-11 coming is all at stake.