Tufts has some very unusual connections, and they bear close investigation. The one I would urge investigative journalists and the government to start with is the Fares Lectureship at Tufts. It was named after its only begetter, a well-known Lebanese middleman, operator, and long-time promoter of Syrian interests, Issam Fares, in 1992, as a way of “encouraging” interest in and “understanding” of the Middle East and its issues. The annual Fares Lecture has been delivered by the Great and Good: George Bush, Senior; Colin Powell; Bill Clinton; and others of that well-heeled pocketing-the-fat-fee-for-nothing crowd. That crowd includes this year the numinous presence of the egregious Madeline Albright. These fees are a way of paying off people for past favors and for present behavior, and to make sure they remember just how much money is sloshing around and can come their way from Arab interests if they keep any criticism well within bounds.
You show up, you say a few words to the students eager to be in the numinous presence, make sure the right words demonstrating “understanding” for the “Middle East” are uttered, with nothing to displease the likes of Issam Fares, pocket the check, and go home. And everyone is happy. That has been the mixture for panjandrums in Washington, not only in Medford, Massachusetts. They even show up to give million-dollar lectures in Kuwait (Bush Senior got his reward from the Al-Sabah rulers of Kuwait for the Gulf War, but for some reason forgot to share his proceeds with wounded veterans of that war). Others receive special gifts for services rendered from other Arab (especially Saudi) interests. All this has been a feature of Washington and other western capitals for the last three decades.
Did I forget to mention Adil Najam, who somehow has transformed or managed to have everyone overlook his supposed area of expertise (google him) and has repackaged himself, for greasy-pole Packard Avenue purposes, as a “Muslim moderate”? In fact, anyone who has seen his sly performances at mosques (as the one in Wayland he appeared at a few years ago) knows perfectly well that he is a complete apologist for Islam, with his “I have a theory — Muslims are the new Jews” and his attempt to prevent any serious discussion of Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira. He is not to be trusted one whit and is certainly no worthy guide to Islam. But perhaps those now at Tufts were taken in by his “moderate” pitch and have failed to examine closely what he writes and what he says.
There are all kinds of intelligent people born into Islam who are not sly apologists. It is they who should be filling the chairs that the Adil Najams of this world so cunningly manage to slip into, without drawing the slightest attention from colleagues who should exercise due diligence. Once these apologists are in place and have their tenure, then the mask is removed. They should never get there in the first place.
Now what can be done to get the attention of the Tufts faculty and administration? Will indignation be enough? Not likely. The beating heart of Tufts, as of all universities today, is the Development Office. And that Development Office pants for more largesse from its biggest donor ever, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. He has already given Tufts $100 million. He is no doubt unaware of the Fares lecture business and a good deal more that one might, if given half a chance, enlighten him about. If Pierre Omidyar, whose non-Muslim origins are in Iran and who is not fond of the Islamic Republic of Iran, were to be fully apprised of certain tendencies, including the tendentious farce of “Islam Awareness Week,” perhaps his next 100 million dollars won’t be going to a center at Tufts. (Good god, I can think of many more deserving recipients that anyone who has fled a Muslim country should be looking into). It’s worth a try. Who knows Pierre and Pam Omidyar? Who wants to bring this little matter described above to their attention, and hope a letter is forthcoming, the kind of letter that will get the attention of the “Tufts”…and the fulsome word that follows, on campuses everywhere”¦”community.”
Yes, the “Tufts Community.” The “Harvard Community.” The “Princeton Community.” “The Columbia Community.” No indignation too savage for times like these.