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.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Middle East Studies Establishment vs. Walid Phares

In an article for Campus Watch published today at American Thinker, I address the recent attacks against Walid Phares from three of the most biased, politicized professors in the field of Middle East studies: As'ad AbuKhalil of California State University, Stanislaus; Duke University's Ebrahim Moosa; and Omid Safi of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It begins like so:

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced last month that Walid Phares -- a Lebanese-American Christian, adjunct professor of jihadist global strategies at the National Defense University, and former Middle East studies professor at Florida Atlantic University -- would be a special adviser on the Middle East and North Africa, it elicited howls of fury from the usual suspects. Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) -- an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding case and the chief Islamist organ in the U.S. -- sent a letter to the Romney campaign stating CAIR's predictable objections, while publications such as the Daily Beast, Salon.com, and Mother Jones followed suit with error-filled hit pieces.

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.

To read the entire article, please click here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gilbert Achcar's Anti-Zionism of Fools

Writing for Campus Watch, Rima Greene and I report on a recent lecture by the University of London's Gilbert Achcar at UC Berkeley, as part of a University of California speaking tour. Our article appears today at Frontpage Magazine:

"Don't expect me to take a pro-Israel view. I'm an Arab."

So declared Gilbert Achcar—professor of development studies and international relations at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies—at the outset of his lecture last month at the University of California, Berkeley. Those in the audience hoping for scholarly objectivity were thus informed that Achcar's ethnicity trumped intellectual independence and that, despite evidence to the contrary (Nonie Darwish, the founder of Arabs for Israel, comes to mind, as do the majority of Israel's Arab citizenry), an Arab could not be pro-Israel. One had to give him credit for at least confirming his biases up front.

A Lebanese-born, self-described "academic, writer, socialist, and anti-war activist," Achcar was on a University of California speaking tour to discuss his 2010 book, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives. His UC Berkeley lecture was sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) and was held in its Saudi-largesse-provided Sultan Room, with a glowing introduction from CMES vice chair Emily Gottreich. The audience of around 75 students and adults had to strain at times to discern Achcar's words, delivered as they were in a heavy accent and low tones, but the crowd appeared politically sympathetic.

To read the entire article, click here. If so inclined, please e-mail your concerns and comments to the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley (cmes@berkeley.edu) and to the Jewish Studies Program at UC Davis (jst@ucdavis.edu).