The Middle East Studies establishment vs. Walid Phares

In “The Middle East Studies Establishment vs. Walid Phares” in The American Thinker today, Cinnamon Stillwell exposes the rogue’s gallery of Islamic supremacist hacks and academic establishment poseurs who have taken aim at Walid Phares after Mitt Romney brought him into his campaign as an adviser. Anyone and everyone who dares to challenge the accepted lies about the Religion of Peace and Tolerance will be targeted in the same way that Phares is being targeted now, in a relentless campaign of personal abuse, defamation, libel, and more. Anyone. And some people today are getting it far worse than is Phares.

Yet some anti-jihadists nonetheless seem to think that if they mouth the prevailing politically correct pieties about “Islamism” and “moderate Muslims” and the “hijacking of Islam,” and throw their more honest colleagues under the bus, consenting to their being silenced, that they will be spared the same savaging. They will not be spared.

Phares’s moral clarity on Islamism and jihadism do not sit well with those who would rather engage in apologetics and obstructionism.  This explains why his fiercest opponents have included some of the worst from the field of Middle East studies.

California State University, Stanislaus political science professor and “Angry Arab” blogger As’ad AbuKhalil, writing for, blamed Phares’s appointment on “the Israel lobby and its affiliates,” claimed that his “writings are only relevant to Zionist discourse and polemics,” and concluded that “when the appointment of Israeli experts on terrorism is not possible, a man like Phares is the second best choice.”

AbuKhalil’s hostility towards Israel — and hence, towards anyone who isn’t an anti-Zionist fanatic —  is well-established.  He accused President Obama, of all people, of giving “free reign to the Zionist lobby” in a 2010 Al Jazeera television interview.  Speaking in April 2011, he ranted:

[N]ever will we recognize the Zionist State of Israel! … The Arab World will never prosper until the Zionist regime is removed! … We celebrate the demise of Israel; yes, Israel, your days are truly numbered!

I tangled with AbuKhalil many years ago on a radio show out of San Diego. He was rude, arrogant, hostile, and defamatory, after the same old tired pattern of all Islamic supremacists. But when I challenged him to find something actually false in my then-new book, Islam Unveiled, he of course could not do so and fell back on more haughty bluster.

AbuKhalil paints Phares’s early years in Lebanon as those of a right-wing, Christian militant — charges that have been repeated by many of Phares’s opponents, despite being debunked on numerous occasions.  Yet it turns out that AbuKhalil may have questionable allegiances of his own.  According to John Hajjar at Family Security Matters, AbuKhalil “is known in the Lebanese and Middle Eastern American communities as the mouthpiece of [Hezbollah secretary general] Hassan Nasrallah in the world of petrodollar-funded Middle East studies.” […]

Omid Safi, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who was quoted in the same Daily Beast article, declared the Phares appointment a “pathetic reflection on Governor Romney to have surrounded himself with such a person for advice on the Middle East and Islam” and likened it “to turning to [former KKK leader] David Duke to get advice on race relations.”

Safi is accustomed to making these sorts of inflammatory accusations.  In a 2005 article, Safi labeled the isolated prisoner abuse at Abu Graib prison in Iraq “a continuation of twenty years of American foreign policy centered on dehumanizing Muslims.”  In April 2010, he falsely claimed that Islam scholar Robert Spencer “threatened me and my family with death” in a Facebook message.  The recipient’s Facebook account was later disabled with no explanation, and although Spencer called Safi out for defamation, Safi never retracted the claim, nor did the university take action.

It does amaze me that a lying creep and pseudo-academic like Omid Safi could keep his job at a major university, but that is just another indication of the wholesale intellectual collapse of the American university system, and its utter abandonment of genuine academic standards. The Middle East Studies Association controls Middle East Studies departments all over the country, and ensures that propagandists and ideologues like Safi and his wali Carl Ernst get hired rather than real scholars.

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  1. says

    Unfortunately, the Middle East Studies departments across the U.S., are a part of a much larger campaign of leftist indoctrination. Horowitz made this painfully clear in his seminal 2006 Duke University lecture. The seemingly ever-growing roster of academically unqualified “professors” entrenched (thanks to affirmative action) in this nation’s universities continues to produce shockingly illiterate “graduates”. More disturbing, are affirmative action’s by-products. The most destructive of these is the shamefully easy avenue of entry into our universities’ faculty departments. The Left, ever-vigilant for a means to worm into our nation’s zeitgeist has taken full advantage of this open door. This undermining of our nation’s fundamental structure is tantamount to treason. The appointment of Sotomayor, a disturbingly undereducated leftist that holds without question a subversive agenda with respect to her “interpretation” of the Constitution represents the “best” of both worlds.
    Not far from where I live, is a university that had the dubious distinction of appointing a felon convicted of false imprisonment and torturing his victims with a hot soldering iron, Ronald McKinley Everett, to its African studies department. Everett was that department’s chairman for 13 years.

  2. says

    I think there is an element of retaliation here since Phares has been exposing the Saudi petrodollar corruption of US Middle East Studies departments for some time now. He addresses it at some length in his 2010 book, “The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East” (prophetic considering the event of this year). He goes on to explain how this has consequently led to the corruption of commercial publishing, academic publishing, and the government due to the influence of graduates of these programs serving in advisory or “expert” consultant positions.

  3. says

    Way back when, when I was doing research after 9/11, I “discovered” Dr. Phares.

    I know him to be a truth teller and a person of the highest integrity — not only from his writings but also from a few personal contacts I’ve made with him.

    It is a given that the mainstream media will attack Dr. Phares.

    But I am outraged that conservatives who claim to understand the Islamic threat are not strong enough in their defense of Dr. Phares. Have we no backbone here in America? Sheesh.