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The Middle East Studies Blind Spot
By Jeffrey Herf
September 27, 2015

Israel and the Academy: The Politicization of Middle East Studies
By Efraim Karsh and Asaf Romirowsky
September 18, 2015

MESA Nostra
By Hugh Fitzgerald
January 25, 2005

Middle Eastern Studies: What Went Wrong?
By Norvell B. De Atkine and Daniel Pipes
Winter 1995-96

Overview of MESA's 2005 Annual Meeting
Campus Watch
November 30, 2005

American History Textbooks: More Revisionist Dreck
By Grant Jones
June 8, 2008

Seeking True Diversity in Middle East Studies
By Franck Salameh
January 16, 2008

Fear and Trembling at the Annual MESA Meeting
By Cinnamon Stillwell
November 29, 2007

MESA Turns Down Campus Watch Ad
By Winfield Myers
November 16, 2007

How Original
By Jay Nordlinger
November 15, 2007

Spooking Middle East Profs on Halloween: The Anti-MESA
By Jonathan Schanzer
October 31, 2007

Campus Watch and California's Middle East Academic Radicals
By Cinnamon Stillwell
July 21, 2007

Middle East Studies Association Hypocrisy
By Michael Rubin
June 20, 2007

Iran: What Is a Good Reason for a MESA Academic Boycott?
By Ami Isseroff
May 20, 2007

Can Middle East Studies Regain Credibility?
By Winfield Myers
January 18, 2007

MESA’s Truth
By Pierre M. Atlas
November 27, 2006

Debating the Place of Israeli Academics
By Seth Gitell
November 20, 2006

Failure in the Academy
By Winfield Myers
November 17, 2006

Hip, Hip, Al Hurra! [on Alberto Fernandez, MESA]
By Robert Satloff
November 6, 2006

Actions Have Consequences [on Alberto Fernandez, MESA]
By Dateline DC
November 5, 2006

Stanford Ideological War Leads to Suit
By Carrie Sturrock
August 4, 2006

Planned Obsolescence
By Bruce Thornton
August 2, 2006

Juan Cole and the Decline of Middle Eastern Studies
By Alexander H. Joffe
Winter 2006

When Harvard Met Saudi
By Ben Shapiro
December 28, 2005

Taxpayers, Beware: It's Time to Act on Bias!
By Staff Editorial
December 1, 2005

Disconnected [on the MESA Annual Conference]
By Scott Jaschik
November 21, 2005

The Academic Intifada
By Martin Kramer
November 21, 2005

The Middle East Studies Association in 2005
By Alyssa A. Lappen
November 17, 2005

MESA Chooses, and You Can Too
By Martin Kramer
October 2, 2005

MESA Jumps in Massad's Trench
By Martin Kramer
August 23, 2005

Lisa Anderson: Apologist for Academic Radicalism
By Hugh Fitzgerald
May 3, 2005

Juan Cole, Media - and MESA - Darling
By Jonathan Calt Harris
December 7, 2004

Scholars for Terror
By Lee Kaplan
December 7, 2004

Middle East "Scholars" Unleash a New Brand of Bias
By Martin Kramer
November 26, 2004

Bollinger's Blindness
By The New York Sun 
October 22, 2004

Columbia's Anti-Israel Film Festival
By Discover The Networks
May 2004

Defund Middle East Studies
By Daniel Pipes
February 24, 2004

The Middle East Studies Left
By Jonathan Calt Harris
November 6, 2003

The Petition Middle East Scholars Would Rather Forget
By Martin Kramer
April 30, 2003

The Absurdity of Campus "Middle East Forums"
By Bruce Thornton
January 16, 2003

Terror’s Academic Sympathizers
By Leslie Carbone
December 9, 2002

Academia Silent on Militant Islam
By Jonathan Calt Harris
November 25, 2002

Treason of the Academics
By Stephen Schwartz
July 22, 2002

Anti-Americanism in the Classroom
By Stanley Kurtz
July 15, 2002

Islam Obscured
By Martin Kramer

Introduction to Ivory Towers on Sand
By Martin Kramer

Middle Eastern Studies: What Went Wrong?
By Norvell B. De Atkine and Daniel Pipes
Winter 1995-96


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Middle East Studies Association (MESA)'s Visual Map

  • Professional organization dominated by leftists who discount the threat of Islamic jihad, regard America as an imperialist aggressor, and consider Israel a human rights violator

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the principal professional organization for academic scholars whose subject is the Middle East, was established in 1966 with 50 founding members. This private, non-profit organization now has more than 2,600 members, including 60 institutional members and 39 affiliated organizations. It is associated with the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Council of Area Studies Associations; it is also a member of the National Humanities Alliance. 

While MESA promotes itself as a "non-political organization," its membership is dominated by anti-America, anti-Israel leftists who are apologists for Islamic terrorism. For example, on February 22, 2002, MESA issued a statement on behalf of its Board of Directors in support of Sami Al-Arian, the University of South Florida professor who was once the North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Each year, MESA members convene at a conference where hundreds of papers are presented and many discussions are held regarding Middle East history and contemporary relevant issues. These conferences are commonly used by anti-Semites as forums to air their views.

For example, Professor Rebecca Luna Stein of Duke University, an outspoken critic of what she characterizes as unwarranted American and Israeli "violence" against Palestinians, made a presentation titled "Invasion, Occupation, and Other Tourist Practices" at the 2004 MESA conference. Dr. Ilan Pappe of Haifa University made a presentation titled "The Right of Return, [Palestinian] Statehood and Reconciliation." Pappe is a revisionist historian who has likened Israel to Hitler's Nazi regime.

MESA has refused to focus attention on the problem of Islamic extremism and the violence it breeds. At the 2002 annual MESA conference in Washington, DC, only one of the 500 papers presented addressed the topic of al Qaeda terrorism. Not a single paper examined the phenomenon of militant Islam. Palestinian suicide bombings targeting Israelis were labeled as acts of "resistance." The 9/11 attacks were mentioned only in the context of the Arab suffering that allegedly spawned them. Professor Joel Beinin said, “MESA members … did not participate much in the scholarly field of terrorology. In my view, there was great wisdom in this abstention. The terrorologists have not … enhanced our understanding of the causes of such acts. What they have done is to focus attention on tactics and symptoms, thereby impeding investigation into historical and social causes."

The pattern had been much the same in 2003. MESA's four-day conference that year featured nearly 300 papers, panels, and presentations, yet the words "terror", "terrorist," "terrorism," and "suicide bombing" were not mentioned once. 

Among MESA's most prominent figures are its past Presidents John Esposito and Rashid Khalidi, who have set the tone not only for the organization's dismissal of the Islamic terrorist threat, but also for MESA's condemnation of American policies. Khalidi objects to President George W. Bush's use of the term "'terrorism' to justify [anti-terror] measures which are blatantly unconstitutional." Esposito, a longtime advocate of political power for Islamic fundamentalists, advises Jews and other Westerners to reject the "irrational fear of terrorism" that he claims the U.S. government promotes. Just prior to 9/11, Esposito likened that fear to Americans' supposedly unfounded concerns regarding the Soviet threat during the Cold War.

In 2004, MESA President Laurie Brand delivered an address titled "Scholarship in the Shadow of Empire," a denunciation of America's alleged ambition to gain hegemony over large portions of the globe on the pretext of increasing national security. "Imperial expansion is justified [by the U.S. government] based on the exigencies of prosecuting a war against terrorism," said Brand. "… The attacks of September 11, 2001 provided those sectors of government and industry nostalgic for the Manichean simplicity and lucrative military contracts of the Cold War a convenient ideological replacement.  Like its predecessor, the war on terror ... is said to require … 'sweeping new programs of domestic surveillance, rearmament, foreign base expansion and military operations.'" She asked rhetorically, "What greater abdication of responsibility, as both citizen and scholar than to remain silent in the face of [alleged American transgressions at] Guantánamo, Abu Ghrayb, and Fallujah[?]"

Another notable past President of MESA is Lisa Anderson.



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