The new American McCarthyism: policing thought about the Middle East
by Joel Beinin
September 11 ushered in a sustained campaign by the
American Right and the Bush administration to delegitimise critical thought
about the Middle East, Islam and the Arab world. The Middle East Studies
Association (MESA) has borne much of the brunt of this campaign, some
of it conducted by think-tanks with close links to Israel's ruling circles.
Such attacks on MESA date back to 1967 and the Arab-Israeli war.
The role of organisations such as ADL, AIPAC, AVOT and ACTA is
examined, as is Campus Watch and the attempt to introduce legislation
in 2003 to place under university-level Middle East studies under much
closer government control (HR 3077).
Joel Beinin is Professor of Middle
East History at Stanford University and a former President of the Middle
East Studies Association of North America.