My latest article for Campus Watch, which is posted today at Frontpage Magazine, takes a look at the changing (and not-so-changing) relationship between Middle East studies academia and contested Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It begins like so:
What a difference a popular uprising makes.
It seems like just yesterday that the Middle East studies establishment was busy defending Iran's theocratic regime and its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the alleged predations of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy. Yet in the wake of the unrest in response to the stolen election, suddenly American academics have succumbed to intellectual honesty and moral clarity. Despite the best efforts of the Iranian regime to drum up conspiracy theories blaming the West for the uprising, the Iranians themselves have taken center stage.
This signals quite a shift. When Ahmadinejad, the supposedly elected leader at the heart of the current crisis in Iran, spoke at Columbia University in September 2007, his appearance was applauded by many academic apologists as a means of "reaching out."