Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Campus Watch Quoted in World Magazine

When Jill Nelson, a reporter for World Magazine, contacted Campus Watch for input on an article she was working on, we were only too happy to help. Her article, titled "Pro-Palestinian Junta," is based on a startling column that came out in March of this year. It was written by the indispensable and very brave Khaled Abu Toameh and it described the pro-Hamas, anti-Israel atmosphere on U.S. college campuses.

The following are the relevant portions of the World Magazine article:

Khaled Abu Toameh has endured years of criticism for his reporting on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. An Arab Muslim with Israeli citizenship, he abandoned the government-controlled Palestinian media years ago for the free press in Israel and the West and has been writing about Palestinian affairs for almost three decades. He isn't afraid to criticize Palestinian leadership when criticism is due, and that candor has earned him a few enemies.

But not all of his enemies are from the streets of Gaza or the West Bank. During a tour of close to 30 campuses in the United States throughout the past year, Toameh encountered what he calls a "pro-Palestinian junta"-a group that goes beyond the usual suspects to include Westerners who have never set foot in Palestine or Israel, professors with an innate anti-Israel bias, and Jews who believe Israel has done more harm than good during its 61 turbulent years of existence.

{snip}

Toameh, who has been writing about Palestinian affairs for The Jerusalem Post since 2002 and has worked for NBC News since 1989, wasn't always well received during his U.S. campus tour. At DePaul University in Chicago in March, he was greeted with fliers for the event covered with swastikas. At another Illinois campus (Toameh says he can't remember which one) he saw fliers with devil-like features added to his photograph. "These people hate Israel so much that they will cheer any group or anyone that is against Israel. It's simply that. It's not that Hamas is so brilliant in their PR campaign. I think it's more out of hatred for Israel," Toameh told me.

Cinnamon Stillwell, the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, agrees with Toameh's assessment: "Hatred of Israel, and in a larger sense, the existence of a Jewish state, is at its heart. Years of propaganda painting Israel as an aggressive, colonialist, apartheid state and the Palestinians as freedom fighters justified in any course of action has taken its toll, to the point where this false narrative has been accepted as the truth, despite all evidence to the contrary. Those who refute the narrative are demonized and intimidated, while those who uphold it are glorified and rewarded. In this way, hatred of Israel has become the prevailing mindset on campus."

Winfield Myers, the director of the Middle East Forum's Campus Watch, says although Hamas supporters are far from a majority on U.S. campuses, their numbers are growing. Many professors-particularly those within the Middle Eastern Studies departments-peddle jihadist views to impressionable students, justifying terrorism for the sake of the oppressed.

Myers named University of California at Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, who called for an intifada-or Palestinian uprising-against the United States during a rally in San Francisco in 2004, as a chief example.

In May at the University of California in Irvine, the Muslim Student Union hosted a series of speakers who claimed that Zionists are the "new Nazis" and the "party of Satan." A video on the university's website promoting the speaker series included a song in Arabic that said, "With all force we will drive them away. We will restore purity to Jerusalem." Campus administration did nothing in response.

The prospect of receiving Saudi oil money for Middle Eastern Studies programs may be another piece to the pro-Palestinian puzzle. As universities compete for funding, signs of censorship have emerged. Myers points to the recent decision by Yale University Press to remove the controversial Danish cartoons of Muhammad from a book about the controversy, Jytte Klausen's The Cartoons that Shook the World, as a prominent example. The Yale decision came while it courted for funding the director of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's foundation.

To read the entire article, click here or here.