Jerusalem Post attacks Georgetown University’s Arab Studies centers

The fighting in Gaza may have cooled for now, but the Arab-Israeli conflict seems to have set its sights on Georgetown.

Amir Romirowsky of the Jerusalem Post published an article earlier this week lauding Georgetown’s Program for Jewish Civilization and lambasting the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) and the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU), alleging that the Centers have a pro-Arab bias.

CMCU Associate Director John Voll called the article “basically ill-informed” and took issue with its characterization of his Center as “the locus of academic apologetics for Wahhabism in America”:

“I have seen the article and am glad to see that the Program for Jewish Studies gets a positive description. However,the author clearly has not bothered to read anything that the people on the faculty of the Alwaleed Center have written. For example, I would find it difficult to describe what I have written on Sufism (the mystical tradition in Islam which is opposed by strict Wahhabi teachers) as presenting ‘a glossy version of Wahhabi Islam.'”

CCAS Director Michael Hudson echoed Voll’s sentiments and denied Romirowsky’s controversial allegation that CCAS supports a one-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, saying that CCAS does not take advocacy positions, although he did add that “as the possibilities for a two-state solution have receded (due in part to Israel’s colonization of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and in part to the failure of the U.S. to curb it) there is more discussion of going back to a one-state model.”

The Voice has defended the CMCU against allegations of bias in the past, and the latest accusations seem equally unfounded. Perhaps it’s naive to hope that the PJC, CCAS, and CMCU can be impartial places of academic inquiry, rather than lobbying organizations for their respective sides. But in light of the recent crisis, impartiality at places like Georgetown is more necessary than ever.

For more reporting on Georgetown’s take on the Gaza crisis, check out Eric Pilch’s News feature over on the main site.

3 Comments on “Jerusalem Post attacks Georgetown University’s Arab Studies centers

  1. Another great idea from our “friends” in Israel. Let’s just allow only Jewish studies on American campuses and “ethnically cleanse” any Arab, Muslim or Islamic studies from the curricula of our bastions of higher education. Astounding arrogance coming directly from another neocon writer in Israel. No wonder the rest of the world distrusts America as an honest broker in the peace process.

  2. Historical studies will inevitably cause researchers to draw different conclusions from the same source material. The unifying thread that makes this an exercise in academia and not propaganda is the genuine search for truth. I do not believe that the professors at Georgetown are motivated by a doctrine of disinformation.

    The jaded assault on academia at Georgetown’s centers for Arab and Muslim studies by Amir Romirowsky does a disservice to American Jews. Those of us who have endeavored to maintain credulity among our non-Jewish friends in the debates about Israel’s policies can see our friends roll their eyes every time a right-wing adherent from Israel spews forth ridiculous claims. Similarly, we see our friends roll their eyes when a Hamas spokesman says something absurd.

    Unfortunately, too many Israelis have a knee-jerk reaction to any negative statements whatsoever about Israel. Condemnations of Anti-Semitism reverberate as a barrier to hinder further discourse and disagreement. I fear that the automatic outcry of Anti-Semitism to stifle all critics has become so commonplace that to many it sounds like the boy crying wolf. Even though debate about Israel can evoke intense emotional flare, it behooves one to recognize that we lose credibility when we summarily reject views adverse to Israel.

  3. Pingback: Vox Populi » John Esposito, Jacques Berlinerblau on Jerusalem Post tirade

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