Acceptable Bigotry in the Ivory Tower? Prof. Muqtedar Khan Refuses to Share Panel with IDF Veteran
In the growing list of acceptable bigotries proliferating among those who inhabit the ever-so-progressive Ivory Tower, it seems that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) veterans are fair game. Just ask University of Delaware political science and international relations professor Muqtedar Khan (also a Pentagon consultant and Brookings Institute Fellow), who refused to share an academic panel yesterday at the University of Delaware with Campus Watch Associate Fellow Asaf Romirowsky.
My Campus Watch colleague, Director Winfield Myers, references the story at the Campus Watch blog and Michael Rubin has all the details at NRO's The Corner. I've been given permission to post the information here as well:
Academic Freedom? [Michael Rubin]I wonder what the reaction would have been had another panelist expressed discomfort "occupying the same space" with, let's say, a professor who, while producing many articles and blog posts of a reasonable bent, has also described Israel as having "raped Lebanon," referred to the mythical "Quran desecration" at Gitmo on more than one occasion, played up the victim card known as "Islamophobia," and contributed to such less than objective publications as Aljazeera.com and the American Muslim Perspective (the latter of which has a webpage on the "offending Danish cartoons")?
Yesterday, the University of Delaware asked Asaf Romirowsky to step down from an academic panel at the University of Delaware because another panelist, University of Delaware political scientist Muqtedar Khan, didn't want to share the podium with anyone who served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Romirowsky, who holds joint American/Israeli citizenship and lives in Philadelphia, had been invited to join Khan, his colleague in political science, Stuart Kaufman, a staff member of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, and a graduate student to discuss anti-Americanism in the Middle East. The program was organized by the College Republicans, the College Democrats, and the Students of Western Civilization Club. The Leadership Institute provided the funds for the panel, which met on the University of Delaware campus on Wednesday evening. The students offered Romirowsky the opportunity to come to campus next week and speak alone, with no other panel members who might object to his presence.
If Khan was just an academic, that would be one thing. But he also straddles the policy world: Khan is a a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a Pentagon consultant. According to an e-mail he sent to the University, he gave a workshop at the Pentagon yesterday afternoon.
Academics should embrace intellectual challenge; not flee from it.
Here's the e-mail from Khan stating his objections to appearing with Romirowsky:
—— Original message ——
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 20:02:29 -0400
From: "Muqtedar Khan"
Subject: Re: Understanding Anti-Americanism Panel
To: [Names redacted]
Laura, I have to speak at the Pentagon tomorrow. My workshop is from 12-4. I hope to catch the 5 pm Acela from DC and will be back in town by 7 pm. I will come directly, but may be late. I am also not sure how I feel about being on the same panel with an Israeli soldier who was stationed in West Bank. Some people see IDF as an occupying force in the West Bank. I am not sure that I will be comfortable occupying the same space with him. It is not fair to spring this surprise on me at the last moment.
10/25 09:54 AM
The silence is deafening.
Update: Daniel Pipes debated Khan on the PBS show "Wide Angle" in 2003, as well as noting Khan's involvement with CAIR towards the end of this blog post. Further posts on Khan are listed here.
Update II: Jonathan Schanzer blogs about the matter at The Jewish Policy Center. As does Solomonia.
Update (10/26): Further posts on the matter at Democracy Project, Seraphic Secret, Frontpage Magazine, and JewishInfoNews.
Update (10/27): Even more blog posts at Little Green Footballs, Jewlicious (on "IDF-phobia"), Israel Matzav, Academics, Rhymes With Right, First Friday Collective (colorful language alert), CDR Salamander, The Virginian, Free Republic, and Photon Courier
Update (10/30): The Evening Bulletin has covered the story, as has Candace de Russy at NRO's Phi Beta Cons.
Update (10/31): JTA, Insider Higher Education, and The Volokh Conspiracy chime in.
Update (11/1): The Jewish Exponent covers the case here and here.