Sandbox: March 2004

The Iraqi mob. On this day of mob barbarism in Fallujah, I link back to words written by the late Uriel Dann, a very great authority on Iraq, 35 years ago. I quoted him one year ago, and the words are still more relevant today. Dann on Iraqi politicians, on the Iraqi mob, on the “Iraqi nation.” Please read.
Wed, Mar 31 2004 12:48 pm
Title VI for safety. Joel Beinin, former MESA president and campus radical, writes about HR3077. He says it’s “thought control” by a “band of neoconservatives”–hackneyed stuff by now. But here’s the funny part: the neocon bandits, says Beinin, initially wanted to cut funding for Title VI, which promotes teaching of Arabic and other difficult tongues. “Fortunately for our safety, Congress rejected the neocon proposal to reduce support for foreign language study.” (Emphasis added.) Got it? Federal bucks to those Beininite Title VIers (who spend all day in language study) make us safe. Odd: it was under Beinin that MESA’s board declared a boycott of the National Flagship Language Initiative. Now even Beinin hides behind the skirt of Arabic. They must be desperate.
Wed, Mar 31 2004 8:36 am
Academic boycotters. Self-declared “supporters of the academic boycott against Israel” have sent a letter to the Israeli academic establishment, asking what it’s done to defend academic freedom at Palestinian institutions. (Trick question.) One of the signatories runs the federally-funded Middle East center at New York University. Will he implement the academic boycott in the center he directs? I answer their question with my own question in a new Sandstorm entry: “Boycotting Israel at NYU?”
Wed, Mar 31 2004 4:33 am
Title VI Poll. This is just a reminder that the Sandstorm-Campus Watch straw poll on Title VI funding continues. Opinion is sharply polarized, but it’s presently running about two-to-one in one direction. (Poll ended on April 16.)
Wed, Mar 31 2004 4:09 am
Khalidi on literature? Here’s the (belated) report in the New York Sun about Columbia’s (belated) release of the donor list of the Edward Said Professorship. The Sun points to an interesting discrepancy. In Columbia’s announcement, the chair is called the Edward Said Professorship of Modern Arab Studies and Literature. Khalidi, who is a historian, prefers to call himself the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, omitting literature. So just what is the disciplinary mission of this chair? There probably is none. What’s important is that it be filled by someone true to Professor Said’s political mission. I guess that rules me out…
Tue, Mar 30 2004 2:44 pm
Accommodating Hamas. Rashid Khalidi tells NPR: “I don’t think it’s a coincidence” that “the two most accommodating or accommodationist political leaders of Hamas were the ones to be assassinated by Israel.” He names Yassin and Ismail Abu Shanab (killed last August), who (he claims) favored a truce with Israel. “This was something that was opposed by the external leadership of Hamas, Khalid Mishaal, in Damascus and some of the internal leaders like Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who refused any compromise with Israel.” Khalidi conveniently forgets that Israel did try to assassinate Mishaal (in September 1997) and Rantisi (last June). Both escaped death by a hair’s breadth. So much for Khalidi’s theory. It’s just his way of insinuating that Israel is somehow responsible for Hamas terror.
Tue, Mar 30 2004 3:34 am
Ajami on Yassin. Fouad Ajami has no patience for the nonsense about Sheikh Yassin being just a blind man in a wheelchair: “The Gaza-based cleric gave terrorism moral sanction. He was no less a menace than the blind preacher, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who had sown mayhem in his native Egypt and on American soil [in the first World Trade Center bombing]. Abdel Rahman was no less dangerous for his blindness.” And Ajami calls the distinction between “military” and “political” wings of Hamas “an affront to the victims of terrorism, a hoax.” He doesn’t say who’s perpetrated the hoax: Hamas or the Western “experts” who claim to know it. The implication of the ambiguity: both.
Mon, Mar 29 2004 6:43 am
And Columbia too. One of the donors of the Edward Said Professorship at Columbia is Ramzi Atta Dalloul. Once upon a time, he brokered arms deals between France and Iraq. When Saddam found out how much Dalloul was skimming off the top, he summoned him to Baghdad to demand his money back. Ken Timmerman’s Death Lobby (p. 66): “The terrified Palestinian is said to have forked up $8 million in cash and may have made other ‘contributions’ to a secret Baath party fund held in a Swiss bank.” (Here’s more on Dalloul’s Iraq deal from Said K. Aburish, who was in on it.) Dalloul was a generous fellow, according to Timmerman: “Besides making contributions to Arafat’s Fatah Movement, Dalloul sought additional protection by making substantial payments to one of Arafat’s rivals, the radical Palestinian leader George Habash.”
Sun, Mar 28 2004 5:57 pm
Palestinian millionaires. Sixteen of the donors to the Edward Said Professorship are individuals. Eight of these are trustees of the Geneva-registered Welfare Association, which gives to Palestinian welfare and development projects. The association, a wealthy club, has about a hundred active members, most of them prominent Palestinian businessmen. Edward Said was also a trustee. The Columbia Spectator article, cited immediately below, reports that Rita Hauser, a well-connected New York lawyer and philanthropist who happens to be Jewish, originally proposed the chair. Maybe, but these Palestinian millionaires look to me like the core of the initiative.
Sun, Mar 28 2004 8:48 am
Columbia owns up. The Columbia Spectator now tells the full story of Columbia’s ethical and legal dereliction in concealing the donors of the Edward Said Professorship (incumbent: Rashid Khalidi). The names were finally disclosed on March 12. Reporter Chris Beam writes: “Kramer, who led the call for disclosure of the names, wrote in an e-mail that although individual donors might justifiably request anonymity, gifts from foundations and corporations should be revealed. ‘But above all’, he wrote, ‘there are no circumstances–and I repeat that–no circumstances whatsoever, that justify the anonymity of a foreign government that has given to a university’.” The government in question: United Arab Emirates, good for $200,000.
Fri, Mar 26 2004 10:17 am
Cheap solution. The LA Jewish Journal runs an op-ed against Jewish organizational support for HR3077. The author, a PhD student at UC Santa Barbara, repeats every canard about the bill. The advisory board will have “investigatory powers” (false), it will give the government “the power to decide whose views are heard” (false), it will have “oversight over university teaching and research” (false). His “relatively cheap” solution: Jewish federations should buy chairs in Israel studies. Alas, Title VI abuse goes way beyond treatment of Israel. Just recall this infamous taxpayer-funded, bash-America outrage at…UC Santa Barbara. Who’s going to help thousands of students–some will be Iraq vets–who want decent Middle Eastern studies, apart from Israel? Kudos to Jewish organizations for taking a civic stand, instead of buying cheap solutions.
Fri, Mar 26 2004 9:15 am
Nails in coffins. Columbia’s Rashid Khalidi, in a Newsweek interview, spreads confusion over the impact of Sheikh Yassin’s killing. First, reassurance: “I will stress again and again that most Palestinians want a two-state solution. There’s not a poll that shows anything else. Never, whatever the lies that are run in the media about how all the Palestinians are bloodthirsty murderers who want to destroy Israel.” Then doubt, on just that point: “I really think that the killing of this individual may well be the last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution.” Why? If Palestinians are so deeply committed to two states, why should Yassin’s demise overturn that? Or maybe they’re not so committed–tempted instead by the one-state message of Sheikh Yassin (or Edward Said). (Notice too: Khalidi isn’t identified as the Edward Said Professor.)
Fri, Mar 26 2004 2:34 am
Yassin, hero. I’ve been waiting for an academic to offer a true paean to the late Sheikh Yassin. Finally! Amin Saikal runs the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the prestigious Australian National University. Yassin, he writes, was “a trained Islamic scholar” (hardly); he “symbolized the Palestinians’ right to resist Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestinian land” (including Tel Aviv); he “downplayed” the Hamas demand for extinguishing Israel (by repeating it over and over?); and he “supported the PLO’s efforts to make [Oslo] work for more than two years” (as long as the PLO threatened him). Hamas “carried out no substantial operations” (read: terrorist massacres) until an Israeli extremist killed Yitzhak Rabin. (Hamas terror then destroyed the premiership of Shimon Peres.) Condolences to Professor Saikal on the loss of his hero.
Thu, Mar 25 2004 9:28 am
CNNfn debate. Somehow I missed this one: a debate last month over HR3077, between Clifford May (president, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) and Mark Smith (government relations director, American Association of University Professors). Venue: CNNfn “Money & Markets” program. Here’s the transcript; May cleaned his opponent’s clock. (I’m invoked a couple of times, by both sides.)
Thu, Mar 25 2004 7:15 am
Boom town. Cal State San Bernardino has decided to open a Middle East center, and it’s hanging out a shingle. There’s been a spate of hiring. Arabic is taught, and Turkish is being added. There are conferences and visitors. The university “still needs to find steady funding for its proposed center,” says this article. “The university is looking for a grant that would start a trust fund for the program.” (Not so much a shingle, then, as a “For Sale” sign.) We also read that Cal State San Bernardino and the University of Redlands got $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to develop a Mideast program. (Can it be that much?) More evidence that in the great cycle of boom and bust in Mideast studies, we are definitely in a boom.
Thu, Mar 25 2004 5:44 am
Targeted killings. Set aside all the pontificating. Here are two assessments of the history, and pros and cons, of Israel’s “targeted killings.” This one, by intelligence correspondence Yossi Melman, appears in today’s Ha’aretz, and this one, by military analyst Gal Luft, appeared in the Middle East Quarterly.
Wed, Mar 24 2004 7:15 am
Yassin’s record. Matthew Levitt (whose work on Hamas is referenced down below) defers judgment on the Yassin assassination, but catalogues the sheikh’s personal record. (A Word document.)
Wed, Mar 24 2004 6:34 am
HR3077 Binder. Leonard Binder, political scientist, has written on HR3077 for the listserv of the Middle East Studies Association. Binder runs the Middle East center at UCLA, and he’s the most senior center director in the field. (He got his Ph.D. when I was a toddler.) Binder’s never easy to decipher, so I’ll do it for you: HR3077 and neocons bad, Edward Said okay–but, MESA gatekeepers, can’t you open up a bit? For example, “why it is that a single set of criteria are proposed and insisted upon in the allocation of Title VI grants? Why should one size fit all? Why not encourage different centers to focus on alternative intellectual goals?” Great idea, but Binder thinks his colleagues “will rise to the occasion” on their own. I think it will snow in Westwood first. There’s only one way to budge Title VI: HR3077.
Wed, Mar 24 2004 5:01 am
Kramer on Yassin. Greg Myre (NYT) quotes me in his International Herald Tribune news story on Sheikh Yassin:

Martin Kramer, a Tel Aviv University scholar specializing in Islamic movements, said that under Yassin, Hamas “sought power, but not the responsibility that comes with formal political power.” “They don’t want the responsibility of running the port or collecting the garbage in Gaza,” he said. “They want to set the parameters of negotiations with Israel. They want to make any Palestinian move toward a negotiated solution tantamount to treason. That’s what Yassin has been very good at doing.”

And at the end of the article:

“To many Palestinians, he personified their suffering and predicament,” said Kramer, the Israeli scholar. “There’s nobody who can immediately be catapulted into that position. He can’t be reproduced.”

Tue, Mar 23 2004 11:46 am

Fadlallah blames. You can always count on Ayatollah Fadlallah, much-touted moderate, to blame the United States. He’s quoted by Reuters as saying that George Bush is as “guilty” as Ariel Sharon for the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin: “President Bush was the one who gave the green light to the criminal Zionists to continue the assassination operations against the Palestinians using the most advanced American weapons.” I’ve checked Fadlallah’s website, and in Arabic it’s even more explicit: “The killer of Yassin is Bush, as much as it is Sharon.” In 1985, the U.S. tried to kill Fadlallah, holding him responsible for killings by Hizbullah, so you’d think he’d be more careful about spreading responsibility. But then you wouldn’t know Fadlallah.
Tue, Mar 23 2004 8:34 am
Yassin bio. The best biography of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin is by Ziad Abu-Amr, and it’s in a collection of biographies of fundamentalist leaders in the Middle East. (I know the book well, because I also have an article there.) Abu-Amr’s study (32 pages) isn’t on the web, but you can order the book from the University of Chicago Press (at the link), or Amazon. If you’re in a good library, the call number is BL1060 .S67 1997.
Mon, Mar 22 2004 4:34 pm
Clipped wing. Does Hamas really have separate political and military wings? “We cannot separate the wing from the body. If we do so, the body will not be able to fly. Hamas is one body.” That was the late Sheikh Ahmad Yassin. He’s quoted in an important piece on Hamas in the winter issue of the Middle East Quarterly, which I edit. Author: Matthew Levitt. Title: “Hamas from Cradle to Grave.”
Mon, Mar 22 2004 3:22 pm
Yassin legacy. The theological legacy of the late Sheikh Ahmad Yassin is summarized by this quote, from an interview he gave in August 2001: “The Geneva Convention protects civilians in occupied territories, not civilians who are in fact occupiers…. All of Israel, Tel Aviv included, is occupied Palestine. So we’re not actually targeting civilians–that would go against Islam.” That pretty much encapsulates the contribution of the Hamas “spiritual leader” to Islamic spirituality. Sandbox will be on the lookout for fulsome eulogies by academic experts.
Mon, Mar 22 2004 8:20 am
From JFK to Title VI. Michael Collins Piper is author of a book claiming that the Mossad killed JFK, and he travels the Arab world assuring listeners that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are authentic. In his own American Free Press, he writes that the Title VI advisory board would “be another federal ‘blue ribbon’ panel akin to the Warren Commission that ostensibly investigated the JFK assassination.” Piper gives the contact info of the Democratic senators on the HELP committee, and urges readers to write to them, but not to go on about the power of the Israel lobby. (“Rest assured that the senators are well versed in the realities of the situation.”) This is very weird stuff, but it’s quoted by Barbara Ferguson in her Arab News piece on HR3077. Have a look at how Piper quotes MESA worthies.
Sun, Mar 21 2004 4:38 am
Antithetical alright. A group that includes the American Association of University Professors has sent a truly obnoxious letter to the Senate committee considering HR3077. “Members of the House and Senate, and even the Secretary of Education, are not the logical choices to select an academic advisory board,” they write. “Their concerns are necessarily different from those of the academic community, and in some ways potentially antithetical to the academic mission.” Frankly, if you think your mission is antithetical to government’s mission, get off the dole. After all, government doesn’t subsidize the media, whose mission is antithetical. Do like them: find private sources and tap into them. Government can take freed resources and fund educational enterprises that are complementary to its mission.
Sat, Mar 20 2004 4:59 pm
Genesis of HR3077. More evidence for the carelessness of Ori Nir, in his report on HR3077 in the Forward (see right below), is his statement that Jewish organizations “initiated the bill and helped draft it.” In fact, not a single Jewish organization had any role in the House of Representatives phase of HR3077. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) initiated the bill, and Empower America (Jack Kemp and William J. Bennett) lobbied for its key provisions (e.g., the advisory board). Jennifer Marshall, then at Empower America and now at the Heritage Foundation, negotiated the text with Hoekstra’s staff. Jewish organizations took months to endorse the bill after House passage, precisely because they didn’t initiate or help to draft it. That’s the history. The Forward got it backward.
Sat, Mar 20 2004 6:34 am
Forward joins Arab News. Earlier this week, the Forward ran a “news” piece on Jewish organizations and HR3077. Except it wasn’t a news piece: it was an op-ed in disguise. (Ori Nir, Ha’aretz vet, wrote it.) The thrust: enlightened Jews, unlike Jewish organizations, think HR3077 is a bad idea, and that it makes the Jews look bad. Nir let Rashid Khalidi frame the debate and even offered a one-word book review of my Ivory Towers on Sand (a “polemic”). (See this on-the-mark critique of the article.) Well, today the Saudi Arab News takes up the story, essentially duplicating the Forward slant, with full credit. So I propose this: the Forward should syndicate to the Arab News, and together they can defend academic freedom against the likes of me.
Fri, Mar 19 2004 10:33 am
Bypass surgery. Mitchell Bard, in a sharp analysis of the campus scene, has given up on Middle Eastern studies departments. (His prime example: his own alma mater, UC Santa Barbara.) An “ingrained anti-Israel bias” is endemic in their very structure. So he proposes a bypass route: endowed chairs and a fellowship fund in Israel studies. That might solve Israel’s problem, but what about America’s? What about the ingrained bias against the U.S. role in the Middle East? Should a bypass route be opened? Or is there another way? HR3077 offers Middle Eastern studies a new partnership. If it’s rejected out of hand, then the bypass option will loom very large–this time, for Washington.
Fri, Mar 19 2004 7:22 am
Suspicious objects. Amos Gilad, veteran Israeli intelligence officer who now runs the foreign relations side of the defense ministry, gives an interesting interview to Ma’ariv. Gilad: “Based on my contacts with agencies around the world, immediately before the war, Iraq had a military biological weapons program and chemical weapons.” Why weren’t they found? The U.S. “did not adequately prepare to incorporate intelligence into its operational capability when it took over Iraq.” This allowed many “suspicious objects” to disappear, and now the chances of finding anything are “very low.” Gilad implies that Israel relied on foreign intelligence for its estimates. That deserves a closer look.
Fri, Mar 19 2004 7:20 am
Spain was warned. Reuven Paz unearths yet another pre-massacre threat by Al-Qaeda against Spain over Iraq. As usual, he provides clear analysis and a precise translation. Paz concludes that Iraq is now the place from which Al-Qaeda seeks to bring off a chain reaction in the entire region. Not coincidentally, that’s where the U.S. seeks to do precisely the same. (The link is to a Word document.)
Mon, Mar 15 2004 8:14 pm
Share a chair. Several readers have asked for the full list of donors to the Edward Said Chair, which Columbia released Friday (see below). For some reason, it’s not on Columbia’s website. Here is the list:

Yusef Abu Khadra
Abdel Muhsen Al-Qattan
Ramzi A. Dalloul
Richard and Barbara Debs
Richard B. Fisher
Gordon Gray, Jr.
Daoud Hanania
Rita E. Hauser
Walid H. Kattan
Said T. Khory
Munib R. Masri
Morgan Capital & Energy
Olayan Charitable Trust
Hasib Sabbagh
Kamal A. Shair
Abdul Shakashir
Abdul Majeed Shoman
Jean Stein
United Arab Emirates

Thu, Mar 18 2004 7:24 pm

Conflict resolved. So it appears. The organizers of the Passover-eve event on “Resolving the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict” at Columbia (immediately below) have apologized for the scheduling (“a very large oversight that should not have happened”), and plan to reschedule the event. And they promise to include a voice from Columbia’s Jewish community (not exactly a guarantee of a mainstream Israeli perspective, but we’ll see). Apology duly noted. (It was issued by the Conflict Resolution Network.)
Thu, Mar 18 2004 5:03 pm
Conflicted at Columbia. Stacking a panel is an academic art, and a widely practiced one. But how do you stack an audience? The Columbia University Conflict Resolution Network, in cooperation with Columbia’s Middle East Institute and the Center for International Conflict Resolution, has scheduled an event called “Resolving the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: Past, Present and Future.” Panelists: former Senator George Mitchell (author of an ill-fated peace plan), and Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor. So you’ve tilted the panel–no Israeli view. Happens all the time. But here’s the touch of genius: you schedule it for Passover eve (April 5). Will the experts in world conflict resolution resolve this scheduling conflict? Stay tuned.
Thu, Mar 18 2004 5:37 am
Dirhams at Columbia. On Friday, Columbia University finally disclosed the list of donors to the Edward Said Chair, held by Rashid Khalidi. Six months ago, I’d reported the presence on the donor list of a foreign government, but I didn’t name it. Now it’s confirmed: the United Arab Emirates. At this moment, a gift chair from the UAE to Harvard’s Divinity School is frozen, because of questions about the propriety of accepting it. Columbia apparently doesn’t have the same scruples, and saved itself a controversy by keeping the gift secret. Concealing gifts from foreign governments in this field is never acceptable, period. What I find disgraceful is that the leaders and institutions of Middle Eastern studies didn’t join my demand for transparency. Shame, shame, shame.
Wed, Mar 17 2004 7:06 pm
Elite languages. The National Security Agency, which doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for Title VI, is avidly recuiting for its Language Enhancement Program. The program gives intensive instruction in these languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Korean, Pashto and Urdu. I’m a bit amused by the marketing strategy: “Join NSA’s Foreign Language Professionals and Learn Elite Foreign Languages.” In federal talk, these languages are usually called “critical,” and some of them qualify as “less-commonly-taught.” But I have some difficulty imagining Pashto as an “elite language,” especially if you’re going to use it to track terrorists in caves. Still, I like the touch of marketing. The NSA must be very eager.
Wed, Mar 17 2004 3:09 pm
Title VI fog. Does Title VI keep languages front and center, drive Arabic enrollments, and send the student multitudes into government? That’s what they say–and they’re wrong. Just look at the statistics and the surveys. I do precisely that, in a new Sandstorm entry today: “Title VI: Turn on the Defogger.” I wrote it in honor of a scheduled briefing of Senate staffers by both sides of the debate, in Washington today. (Couldn’t be there myself.) And take advantage of a new feature: find the voting box and cast your ballot on Title VI funding.
Wed, Mar 17 2004 10:23 am
Abuse of trust. Earlier in the Sandbox, I mentioned Steven Heydemann’s defense of Title VI (and attack on me) in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune. I also recalled that after the Kuwait war, when Heydemann worked for the Social Science Research Council, he engineered a special federal grant program for Middle Eastern studies. Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Indiana) fell for it, and for some years the program extracted taxpayer dollars for fad research. After the program squandered a good share of booty, Congress shut it down. I tell that story in Ivory Towers on Sand, but the chapter isn’t on the web. So in the public interest, I post the relevant few pages, adding Heydemann’s name in brackets where appropriate.
Tue, Mar 16 2004 2:21 pm
You talkin’ to me? Juan Cole, the Oliver Stone of Middle Eastern studies, sends me a warning over HR3077. “[Kramer] has messed with the wrong person,” Cole announces. “We may lose this one. But he should be in no doubt about the public relations damage he will have done to his own weird causes over the long term by picking on me.” The weird thing is that I haven’t been picking on Cole. In fact, I haven’t mentioned him in over a year. (Drop his name in my search engine.) Sorry to have ignored you, Juan, but your stuff is just a bit too flaky to warrant comment. Cole’s emergence as poster boy for the contribution of Middle Eastern studies to the national debate is… well, unfortunate for Middle Eastern studies. He’s right about one thing: if HR3077 passes, I won’t have won this one. He (and his friends) will have lost it.
Tue, Mar 16 2004 8:35 am
Public diplomacy. Rachel Corrie, the pro-Palestinian “activist” killed by an Israeli bulldozer a year ago in Gaza, had been photographed days earlier burning a U.S. flag in Rafah. Steve Niva of Evergreen State, a prof of Mideast studies, today offers the expert view: “The symbol of an American questioning her government’s policy in the Middle East is extremely important and highly beneficial to Americans…. Lack of exposure to these voices is a major factor that increases the likelihood of terrorism and animosity towards American citizens. Compared to the immensely dangerous impact on regional public opinion of the widely disseminated images of U.S. Marines placing flags on Iraqi government symbols during the recent war, Rachel’s act appears altruistic.” Our public diplomacy guys are such sticks in the mud. Let’s send out missions of flag-burners, and we’ll take the Arab street by storm.
Tue, Mar 16 2004 3:42 am
Pro-HR3077. Here is the text of a letter delivered Friday to all members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP). It’s in strong support of HR3077, and it’s signed by an impressive coalition of Jewish organizations: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Hadassah, Jewish War Veterans, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations. These organizations negotiated long and hard over an agreed text, giving it added weight. HR3077, they write, will “enhance intellectual freedom and academic debate.” Congratulations on their courageous and principled stand.
Mon, Mar 15 2004 1:35 pm
Web cop. Heydemann in the Trib (previous entry): “Invoking tactics more common to the former Iraqi regime than to a democracy, [Kramer] warned professors that their Web sites would be ‘visited late at night’ to police their content. ‘Yes, you are being watched,’ Kramer wrote on his Web site.” Compare that to my actual words (emphases added): “The mere fact that someone has bothered to organize freely available information will give rise to paroxysms of protest. Well, academic colleagues, get used to it. Yes, you are being watched. Those obscure articles in campus newspapers are now available on the Internet, and they will be harvested. Your syllabi, which you’ve also posted, will be scrutinized. Your websites will be visited late at night.” Google ’em and they cry McCarthyism. In our open society, it’s my right–and yours–to access anything on the web, at any hour. Heydemann, like the Baath, fears what information might do. I guess he worked too long on Syrian authoritarianism.
Sun, Mar 14 2004 6:15 pm
Trust Congress. The Chicago Tribune runs a piece by Steven Heydemann (Georgetown), boosting Title VI. In his past role as program officer at the Social Science Research Council, Heydemann engineered what, in Ivory Towers on Sand, I called “an academic sting operation” on Congress. (In 1992, the SSRC and Heydemann raised money from Congress with a “national security” rationale, and then blew it on fad research. Congress cut the program.) Heydemann’s at it again, this time hawking Title VI as a boon to national security and inveighing against an advisory board. But he contradicts himself. He praises Congress for having shown “more wisdom” than critics of Title VI, and for “wisely ensuring the strength” of area studies. But then isn’t Congress also wise enough to make wise appointments to an advisory board?
Sun, Mar 14 2004 5:55 pm
Sheikh Qaradawi. A couple of days ago, I said my piece (again) on Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, this time in a back-and-forth at Abu Aardvark’s weblog. He thinks Qaradawi is a force for democratic good, I think he’s a force for terrorist evil. I rarely agree with Abu Aardvark (obviously a pseudonym–his secret’s safe with me), but he runs a witty weblog.
Sun, Mar 14 2004 11:54 am
Tel Aviv, 1852. No, Tel Aviv wasn’t founded until 1909. But here’s a remarkable view from its site, toward Jaffa, by the German painter Eduard Hildebrandt. In May I’ll be visiting the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and I turned it up in some preparatory digging in the museum’s Orientalist holdings. Odd, but Hildebrandt doesn’t even get a mention in Yehoshua Ben-Arieh’s Painting the Holy Land in the Nineteenth Century. I’ll wager this is the earliest view of the present site of Tel Aviv.
Sun, Mar 14 2004 6:37 am
Spain and jihad. Reuven Paz today issues an invaluable account of Spain’s place in the mind of Al-Qaeda. He analyzes a book written in 2003 by a radical Saudi cleric, since killed, who devoted eight pages to Spain and its policies. “The withdrawal of the Spanish or Italian forces from Iraq would serve as a huge pressure on the British presence [in Iraq],” wrote the cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al-Ayiri, “a pressure that Tony Blair would not be able to overcome. Hence, the domino tiles would fall quickly. Yet, the basic problem of how to drop the first tile is still there.” Al-Ayiri envisioned attacks against Spanish forces in Iraq. But was the Madrid massacre the “first tile”?
Sat, Mar 13 2004 5:47 pm
Roll out the Bar’el. My Sandstorm entry on “How Not to Promote Israel Studies” got the attention of Zvi Bar’el, Ha’aretz correspondent, who made it the peg of an article that oozes bias and misinformation. I’m no more than a local phone call away from Bar’el, and I get calls from journalists from around the world about what he labels my “academic struggle.” But I guess a chat with me just would have complicated things. This is a cheap import of the irrational hysteria unleashed on the far left by HR3077. Israeli scholars, concludes Bar’el, “are liable to be required to reveal their political tendencies and their opinions of American policy before they are able to be visitors at advanced studies programs in the United States.” Give me a break.
Sat, Mar 13 2004 3:44 pm
Do comment. This is just a reminder that a “Comments” feature has just been installed at Sandstorm. You might wonder whether anyone is likely to read your comment. This link will show you the number of visitors to the site each month for the past year.
Sat, Mar 13 2004 5:32 am
In Spanish. Who knows where the investigation into yesterday’s Madrid massacres will lead? I don’t, but I offer a Spanish translation of a piece I wrote immediately after the 9/11 attacks. It appeared in the Madrid journal Letras Libres, and it could become relevant. My heart goes out to you, my Spanish friends.
Fri, Mar 12 2004 3:21 pm
The conservative Other. John J. Miller, a writer for the National Review, writes in today’s Wall Street Journal about conservatives (more precisely, their total absence) in the ranks of university faculty. Miller: “Campus conservatives are ‘The Other’–a barely human subpopulation whose presumed inferiorities justify the dominance of an enlightened professoriate.” After you read this indictment of narrow-mindedness, go back to Miller’s National Review article on the failure of Middle Eastern studies, published a couple of months after 9/11. It’s a great read, and it’s timely again now that Congress is paying attention.
Fri, Mar 12 2004 9:43 am
Fadlallah smooth-talks Ignatius. Every time Ayatollah Fadlallah in Beirut grants an audience to David Ignatius, “he has surprised me.” So writes Ignatius in this morning’s Washington Post. That’s because Ignatius hasn’t figured out Fadlallah’s game. He warms to Fadlallah as a champion of Arab reform, who thinks the Arabs blame too much on the West and the “excuse” of Israel. Come on. Fadlallah is a master at blaming America and Israel. He did it again just last Friday, in his mosque sermon, when he blamed the Mossad for the latest massacre of Shiites in Iraq, and put the “full responsibility” on the U.S. Fadlallah is preparing the ground for Shiite “resistance” in Iraq, while feeding democracy pap to Ignatius. Don’t be fooled, Washington. Fadlallah is no ally. (This link leads to another, so you won’t have to register.)
Fri, Mar 12 2004 6:41 am
No other wars. A new interview with Bernard Lewis in this morning’s Jerusalem Post. He’s optimistic on Iraq, but warns against hasty elections. And this: “I don’t think that there’s a need for other wars. If the opposition isn’t blocked, Iran is poised for a democratic revolution. As for the other countries involved in funding terrorism, I can imagine the collapse of corrupt minority regimes in crisis.” He also has interesting things to say on the UN, Israel’s fence, and the Hague. (This link leads to another, so you won’t have to register.)
Fri, Mar 12 2004 5:25 am
Dear Senator. Robert Satloff, accomplished historian and analyst of the Mideast, informs me he has written in support of HR3077 to all members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). And he’s done it from distant Morocco. So what about you? Here’s the list of committee members, with their contact info. Fax is best. Tell them (1) you support HR3077; (2) you especially support an advisory board, to recommend priorities and set benchmarks for Title VI; (3) you support the bill’s mandate for diversity in Title VI programs; and (4) you support equal access for government recruiters to universities that receive Title VI funds. Don’t let the radical profs win this one on the Hill.
Thu, Mar 11 2004 4:39 am
Hoekstra’s warning. Many of the press articles on HR3077 just ignore Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the Republican congressman from Michigan who wrote the bill. The journalists fill up on quotes from irate profs, who repeat one another. Ignoring Hoekstra is a mistake, because he chairs the House Subcomittee on Select Education, which has jurisdiction over Title VI. He’s quoted in today’s Christian Science Monitor, and his message is clear. Hoekstra says (rightly) that the bill has been misrepresented. If it doesn’t pass in the Senate, the paper reports, it’s likely Title VI will be eliminated. “I won’t do it the way it was done before,” says Hoekstra. I read that as a warning–and a promise.
Thu, Mar 11 2004 3:18 am
Diversity, Georgetown-style. I conclude this trilogy of Title VI excess (see previous two items) by linking to my Sandstorm account of an anti-war fest for K-12 teachers, held by Georgetown’s Arab studies center last April. Read my account of the five speakers, and tell me this event wasn’t a case of premeditated America-bashing. “Those speakers represented different views at the workshop,” said the coordinator of the “outreach” program in response to my critique. “They didn’t necessarily agree with each other.” Different views? What’s wrong with exposing teachers to opposing views? Not all Title VI “outreach” programs are propaganda machines. But the fact that such abuses happen at all means that Title VI needs to be fixed.
Wed, Mar 10 2004 4:47 pm
Us or them? Another Title VI excess: the 9/11 “critical reader” for K-12 teachers put out by the Mideast center at U.C. Santa Barbara. It was a “blame-America-first” compendium. Terry Hartle (see below) told a congressional committee that the reader presented “views we find reprehensible as a way of understanding them. Does it mean the professors are anti-American or hostile to American foreign policy? Of course not.” Not hostile to U.S. policy? The details of the offending reader disappeared from the Santa Barbara site long ago, but thanks to the Wayback Machine web archive, you can still click and see the contents. Scroll to “Why Do They Hate Us?” and tell me who this “critical reader” meant to criticize: them or us?
Wed, Mar 10 2004 2:55 pm
Missing link at NYU. If you listen to the Chicago debate (right below), you’ll hear Stanley Kurtz and Terry Hartle dispute the content of the website run by NYU’s Middle East center (the Kevorkian Center). The website published the texts of talks by NYU faculty concerning 9/11. Kurtz claims the content was unrelieved in its condemnation of U.S. policy; Hartle thinks otherwise. If you actually go to the Kevorkian Center website, you won’t find a link to the controversial “Beyond September 11: Resources.” It’s gone. But the page still exists, and so do the lectures. Just follow my link. You judge.
Wed, Mar 10 2004 2:19 pm
HR3077 in Chicago. Click, scroll down, and listen to the HR3077 debate conducted last Friday at the University of Chicago. Participants: Stanley Kurtz, Title VI critic; Terry Hartle, higher education lobbyist; and John Woods, Mideast history professor. Lots to chew on here; I’ll say more later. Woods invoked me, claiming I was someone who tried to force a choice between Said and Lewis. As I showed this week at Sandstorm, MESA could have honored both scholars. It’s they who decided to choose, implicitly forcing that choice on others. That’s why I’m not a member. I wouldn’t take the loyalty oath. (Kudos to the event sponsors and participants for an informative debate.)
Wed, Mar 10 2004 9:47 am
Comments! A year and a half of Sandstorm, and finally you can comment. This site doesn’t use blogging software, so it wasn’t easy, but it seems to work just fine. It’s been implemented retroactively for all the posts now displayed in full on the Sandstorm page. (No comments possible here at Sandbox.)
Tue, Mar 09 2004 9:10 pm
Lewis appraised. My own appraisal of Lewis, for the Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing.
Tue, Mar 09 2004 5:43 am
Lewis links. Someone (one of those Zionists) has put together an excellent set of links to the online articles of Bernard Lewis.
Tue, Mar 09 2004 5:30 am
Lewis’s secret. Apropos Lewis… Military correspondent Amir Oren, writing in this morning’s Ha’aretz: “This week in Tel Aviv, Orientalist Bernard Lewis revealed a secret that has been bothering him for 30 years: Before the Yom Kippur War, during a visit to Egypt, he heard from sources both reliable and close to then-president Anwar Sadat that Sadat wanted to get on the road to peace with Israel. Lewis hurried to report to then-prime minister Golda Meir. To his disappointment, he encountered a cold response and, indirectly, indifference from then-defense minister Moshe Dayan.” Oren suggests some contemporary lessons.
Tue, Mar 09 2004 5:05 am
Lewis and MESA. Draw up a list of the ten living persons who have made the greatest contribution to the study of the Middle East. Chances are excellent that Bernard Lewis is on it–unless you are the Middle East Studies Association. New Sandstorm entry: “Bernard Lewis and MESA’s Shame.”
Tue, Mar 09 2004 5:03 am
Seattle and HR3077. A new piece in the Seattle Times, drawing on U. of Washington faculty, doesn’t get a handle on HR3077, or do justice to either side of the debate. I wouldn’t totally rely on any quotes here (including mine), but there are interesting tidbits. One odd claim is that there’s already ample oversight of Title VI by the Department of Education, with “regular visits by evaluation teams.” That’s not true: there are over 100 Title VI centers, and the DOE’s staff can’t visit each center, every year. For the DOE’s info on what goes on in centers, it relies on… the centers. (It’s now talking about a new “monitoring” system.) Ellis Goldberg, director of the Middle East Center at U. of Washington, doesn’t see the advisory board as a threat to academic freedom–a heretical position in academe right now. I’d like to hear more.
Mon, Mar 08 2004 8:21 am
Lockman is sure. Professor Lockman (see the posting immediately below) was one of eight original signatories to the ludicrous December 2002 letter, demanding that the U.S. government stop Israel from expelling Palestinians during the expected war in Iraq. A thousand academics eventually signed. The professors roundly condemned Israel in advance, for something it had no intention of doing. After the war, the New York Sun asked Lockman if he had any regrets over the letter. “I think it was justified in the sense that it can’t really be a bad idea to act preventively in such things… I’m sure there are contingency plans for such things.” Lockman knows for sure: Israel has expulsion plans in the drawer.
Mon, Mar 08 2004 6:32 am
Oh so sophisticated at NYU. Zachary Lockman, who runs the Mideast center at NYU, is author of a recent essay entitled “Behind the Battles Over US Middle East Studies.” He’ll tell you many picayune details about where I went to school, my activities, and my affiliations. And he’ll tell you that I have an “extraordinarily naïve and unsophisticated understanding of how knowledge is produced.” Yet he somehow forgets to tell you what’s really “behind the battles”: post-9/11, Congress hiked federal subsidies for area studies by $20 million a year. A lot of that went to Middle Eastern studies, and NYU got a massive increase. I’m not sure I could write 5,000 words on the “battles” and not even mention the money, especially if I administered as much of it as Lockman does. But then I’m just “naïve and unsophisticated” about how knowledge is produced.
Mon, Mar 08 2004 6:01 am
Israel at Berkeley. Ma’ariv correspondent Ben-Dror Yemini does a follow-up to my Sandstorm entry on the appointment of Prof. Oren Yiftachel as visiting Israeli professor at Berkeley. The funding, you’ll recall, was put up by donors who wished to counter anti-Israeli propaganda on campus. Yemini: “Is Yiftachel the best choice to effectively counter the ugly anti-Israeli stream that already dominates at Berkeley? Common sense dictates not. So what was the point of the exercise? Well, it failed. Which means, Jews are as prone to folly as anyone else.” (Article is in English.) (And here is the Hebrew, with readers’ comments.)
Sun, Mar 07 2004 3:29 pm
Policing Beinin. Joel Beinin, Stanford Mideast professor, has added a lecture on HR3077 to his repertoire. I wonder how accurate it is. He gave one at a campus demonstration last week, reportedly warning that the bill would give the government greater power over “research and publications” of Mideast scholars. That’s a new angle; how so? And this: “There’s a big crowd of folks out there spending a lot of energy policing what people think, write and say about the Middle East.” Got that? When Beinin and friends criticize anyone, it’s “critical scholarship.” When anyone criticizes them, it’s “policing.” Joel, consider this posting a ticket.
Sun, Mar 07 2004 4:28 am
Murder in Iran. Heads up: BBC World television this weekend will show Jim Muir’s documentary film “Iran: A Murder Mystery.” It’s about the circumstances surrounding the death of photographer Zahra Kazemi, who returned to her native Iran in June 2003 after 30 years in exile. (This was first shown in the U.K. on BBC Two a couple of weeks ago.) Broadcast times: Saturday at 0810, 1210 and 2010 GMT; Sunday at 1410 GMT.
Fri, Mar 05 2004 9:40 am
Email Hillary. Back in December, the New York Sun reported that Hillary Clinton hadn’t taken a stand on HR3077. The New York senator sits on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee, which now has HR3077 under consideration. But two weeks ago, the National Coalition for History reported that she “has taken a firm stand against the proposed advisory committee.” I don’t think that’s true, at least not yet, but to New York supporters of the bill, I say: speak up now. Email Hillary. Or call today. DC office: (202) 224-4451. NYC office: (212) 688-6262.
Fri, Mar 05 2004 6:58 am
Post-tyrannical Iraq. Amitai Etzioni calls “instant democracy” an “American fantasy” in the International Herald Tribune. On Iraq: even if Shiites and Kurds work together, “it would be more like a coalition between the church and the mafia in old Sicily than anything resembling a democratic government.” And this: “Although the new Iraqi government may not introduce a strict Muslim regime, it is likely to enforce various Islamic concepts. It is better if such governments are not labeled democratic, so that when they lose credibility democracy’s name is not muddied.” Etzioni would label Iraq’s coming regime “post-tyrannical.” And that’s as good as it gets.
Fri, Mar 05 2004 5:50 am
MESA missionaries. The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) wants to change its mission. The present mission statement is focused exclusively on the promotion of scholarship. The proposed revision would turn MESA into an outreach and advocacy group. MESA would “encourage public understanding of the region” through programs, publications, and unspecified “services,” and it would “defend academic freedom.” I suppose I should be for this, since at present MESA encourages public misunderstanding of the region and undercuts academic freedom. Yet somehow I suspect that this revision is intended as a license for more mischief, not less. If you’re a member, you have until April 1 to cast your ballot.
Thu, Mar 04 2004 5:58 pm
HR3077 face-off in Chicago. If you are in Chicago, don’t miss the panel discussion Friday evening (7pm) at International House in Hyde Park, on “Title VI and the Academy: Academic Freedom, Academic Bias and the Federal Funding of Area Studies.” My colleague Stanley Kurtz will make the case for HR3077. Opposite him: Terry Hartle, top lobbyist of the American Council on Education, and a great obfuscator. And also opposite him: John Woods, a University of Chicago medievalist who directs the Mideast center there, and an honorable adversary. It should be a very good show. (Link: program details.)
Thu, Mar 04 2004 3:01 pm
Embassy and academy. Daniel Kurtzer, U.S. ambassador to Israel, came by Tel Aviv University today, for a two-hour brainstorming session with the academics. It was off the record, so I won’t discuss it, but it seemed to me very much the sort of thing an activist ambassador should do. His predecessors, Ed Djerejian, Martin Indyk, and Ned Walker, also reached out to the academy, and it greatly enriched my understanding of foreign policy as a practical pursuit. In the absence of such interactions, you tend to get the sort of conspiracy theories that flourish on many U.S. campuses. I’ve known Kurtzer for 25 years, but I’m still feeling a bit privileged. (Link: Kurtzer’s most recent policy speech.)
Thu, Mar 04 2004 1:01 pm
Cultural protectionism. An article in Beirut’s Daily Star reports that more American students are studying at the American University of Beirut (AUB) than before 9/11. Many want a grounding in Middle Eastern studies, and many Lebanese students suspect them. “They are contributing to cultural imperialism,” says one, “and the knowledge they are obtaining will be used against the people they are living among. If they are to sell us out in such a way I would rather I didn’t have to study with them.” This attitude is the real legacy of Edward Said’s Orientalism. The U.S. has absorbed untold numbers of Arabs as students and professors. Yet a couple of hundred American students in Beirut are “cultural imperialism.” Credit AUB for defying such cultural protectionism.
Thu, Mar 04 2004 11:09 am
Academic freedom. “As academics, we have academic freedom. That’s our God-given right.” The quote is from Nezar AlSayyad, director of Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, in reaction to HR3077. Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory, has written a brilliant rejoinder: “Academic freedom isn’t a right; it’s a privilege, an extraordinary one. And it isn’t granted by God; it’s granted by the larger social polity…. Society grants faculty space protected from power politics and business models. But in return comes an obligation for professors to safeguard the principles of free exchange.” The struggle over Title VI is about society demanding safeguards the academics have destroyed–in the name of their jealous and spiteful gods.
Wed, Mar 03 2004 5:51 pm
Analyzing Hizbullah (2). Ely Karmon, in this new monograph (only the executive summary here), is completely at odds with Sobelman (see right below). He contends that Hizbullah has built a terrorism infrastructure with “global reach,” and that it’s already fishing in the troubled waters of Iraqi politics. His prediction: if things turn against the U.S. in Iraq, Hizbullah “could escalate its attrition war against Israel at the northern border, inside the Palestinian Authority, and even within Israel proper.” Parallel to this, it could “choose to foster a radical Shiite ‘resistance’ movement in Iraq.” Karmon sees Hizbullah as a dangerous wild card, still capable of surprising us all.
Wed, Mar 03 2004 2:08 pm
Analyzing Hizbullah (1). Daniel Sobelman, Ha’aretz correspondent, has written a new monograph on Hizbullah. His main contribution: an analysis of Israeli intelligence assessments prior to Israel’s May 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon (pp. 30-39). Amos Gilad, head of research in military intelligence, predicted that a unilateral withdrawal would bring disaster. Amos Malka, chief of military intelligence, predicted it would produce a stable equilibrium. Then-prime minister Ehud Barak bet on the second scenario. An uneasy equilibrium has prevailed on Israel’s northern border, but Hizbullah has been top cheerleader for Palestinian violence. That leaves a question-mark beside Sobelman’s thesis that Hizbullah has been tamed.
Wed, Mar 03 2004 2:05 pm
Shiite militant. Ayatollah Fadlallah in Beirut speaks Arabic with an Iraqi accent (he was born and raised in Najaf), and when he speaks, Iraqi Shiites listen. The key theme in his most recent sermon of last Friday: “The turning of authority to the Iraqis in the end of June is only a formal step that does not change anything. For the Americans did not enter Iraq to liberate the Iraqis, but rather to replace an internal tyranny with a foreign one.” Second theme, from his weekly missive: “We warn against being involved in the American plan of inciting a sectarian strife between Shiites and Sunnis in the region.” Fadlallah is building a rationale for anti-American “resistance” among Iraq’s Shiites, which would feed off outrages such as today’s massacres of Shiite pilgrims in Karbala and Kadhimiya.
Tue, Mar 02 2004 5:35 pm
Predicting 9/11. The current issue of The American Conservative (Pat Buchanan) runs a piece against HR3077 by Anders Strindberg, a post-doc at Princeton. Strindberg: “When Kramer spoke at Princeton a year after the appearance of his book Ivory Towers on Sand, I asked him where he had published his own prescient predictions of 9/11. He too had failed….I know of no one in academia, think tanks, or government who foresaw 9/11. Not even Kramer.” I never argued that 9/11 could have been predicted. But I certainly didn’t share the complacency of my academic colleagues. My words after the 1993 WTC bombing: “The bombing should be read as a warning: that a part of Islam dissents from the new ascendancy of the United States….Manhattan’s own nightmare could recur.” Any of Strindberg’s heroes do better?
Tue, Mar 02 2004 1:15 pm
Dershowitz and the dean. Who told Alan Dershowitz nonsense about HR3077? (The famous law professor repeated it at a major Jewish conference, to the surprise and chagrin of some major Jewish organizations.) A new Sandstorm entry this morning unravels links in chain of responsibility. Wouldn’t you know it: it’s the dean’s fault. “HR3077: The Education of Alan Dershowitz.”
Tue, Mar 02 2004 8:29 am
Hizbullah TV. Over at the Middle East Quarterly, which I edit, we’ve posted still another article from the winter issue: Avi Jorisch on Hizbullah’s Al-Manar television. Jorisch went to Beirut, interviewed all the principals, saw the operation, and reached this conclusion: Al-Manar is not Al-Jazeera. It’s part and parcel of Hizbullah’s guerrilla war machine, which sometimes also manufactures terrorism. First piece of its kind on the dark side of the new Arab media.
Mon, Mar 01 2004 5:57 pm
Israel studies. Here’s a profile of Ilan Troen, the new Stoll Professor of Israel Studies at Brandeis. It’s a sensible appointment, and it fits the initiative taken by Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz for the new Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies (see last week’s Sandbox). “Israel is not taught in Middle East study centers, except in terms of the conflict,” Troen says. The Brandeis initiative “will mark the first time Israel will have a defined academic role in a Middle East center, as part of the Middle East, not an implant by Western European colonists, both on its own, and in relationship to the other states in the region.” What might the Brandeis center bring that’s missing from the battery of seventeen “national resource centers” on the Mideast? Some diversity.
Mon, Mar 01 2004 11:24 am
Lost and found. Last Wednesday, the Sandbox server went down, and the postings from the previous Monday and Tuesday temporarily disappeared. As of this morning, they’re back. Scroll down if you missed them.
Mon, Mar 01 2004 9:49 am
Israeli generals. I have belatedly seen two of the three films in last fall’s BBC series on Israeli generals (Rabin and Sharon; haven’t seen Dayan). The series has been shown in Europe, Canada, and Israel, but not in the U.S. The perspective: decidely from the left. Sharon, criminally, went too far, in Qibya, Lebanon, and Jenin; Rabin, mistakenly, did not go far enough after Oslo. Rabin is defined largely by his admirers; Sharon, largely by his detractors. The Rabin episode ends in mourning, and the film closes with his own stirring words of peace. In the Sharon finale, even his few backers are shelved, and the last words–barbs, really–are given to such far-out critics as Uri Avnery and Yitzhak Laor. Still, both epsiodes have strong archival content and narrative cohesion. Not suitable for PBS primetime, but serviceable in a classroom.
Mon, Mar 01 2004 7:45 am