Continuing this theme, George Bisharat, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, reveled in sinisteralbeit imaginarycampaigns to stifle academic freedom. He focused on a March 2011 Hastings conference that he organized titled, "Litigating Palestine: Can Courts Secure Palestinian Rights?" The conference featured a roster of anti-Israel speakers advocating the delegitimization of Israel through U.S. courtsotherwise known as lawfare. Because of the radical, one-sided nature of the conference, local Jewish leaders expressed their reservations to Hastings dean Frank Wu, who subsequently canceled his welcoming address and the law school's official co-sponsorship. Bisharat objected to Wu's actions, telling the San Francisco Chronicle that "opponents had wrongly accused the conference of 'Israeli-bashing." Yet journalist Stephen Schwartz, who attended the conference and reported on it for Campus Watch, wrote:
In fact, that's exactly what took place at the conference. The anti-Israeli rhetoric of the participants was notably extreme, and even bizarre. . . . Hastings officials were correct in withdrawing their sponsorship and canceling the participation of their dean in this effort.
Bisharat's bitterness lingers, for he again chastised Hastings officials for withdrawing their sponsorship and, in the process, revealed his anti-Semitic conspiracy mongering. Claiming he initially believed that opposition came from "a few alumni who were troubled by the one-sided group of speakers," he added:
[B]ut when I dug deeper and spoke with the dean, it was clear to me that it was the Jews. The Jews were behind a united attempt to silence academic freedom.
So anti-Semitism had no place at the conferenceif only those conniving Jews who attempted to silence it had known that!
Sherman Jackson, who now occupies the Saudi-funded (and grandiosely titled) King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, followed, explaining that it was a "matter of duty to come and speak here today." Adding to the chorus of voices lauding Abou El Fadl's heroism against the supposed onslaught of American Islamophobia, Jacksonalso known as Abdal Hakim Jacksonthen noted:
I am an African-American convert to Islam. I live in a so-called democratic country. America has been a 'democratic' country for two-hundred years, and yet has a past of deep racial issues. . . . Fadl's struggle is our struggle as a nation. What happens to Khaled happens to us.
Having stated at a December 2009 convention that "his primary commitment was to Allah, not to America," Jackson's contempt for American democracy is no surprise.
Jackson congratulated the students in attendance for having the "courage to stand up against Islamophobia" by celebrating Abou El Fadl's storied career and concluded his talk with an Arabic adage: "Those who are silent in the face of injustice are dumb mutes." As an advocate for implementing the barbarism of Sharia law in the U.S., Jackson clearly does not apply the same standard to himself. Moreover, it takes no "courage" to participate in an event characterized by intellectual and political uniformity.
Echoing the previous speakers, Susan Slymovics, UCLA anthropology professor and director of its Center for Near Eastern Studies, concluded the evening with another fawning tribute to Abou El Fadl, whose "brave research," she claimed, "has raised awareness about racism and Islamophobia both domestically and abroad." If "raising awareness" about a phenomenon that does not existMuslims in America and throughout the West continue to thrive and enjoy the same rights and privileges as everyone elseand that is designed to silence legitimate criticism while avoiding much-needed reform is a mark of courage, then Abou El Fadl is the bravest of men.
Using the occasion as an opportunity to claim widespread Islamophobia and to bash Israel, the U.S., and the Westall the while demonstrating a comical capacity for self-regardthese four speakers provided a fitting tribute to Abou El Fadl, who has made a career out of doing exactly the same thing. He should feel honored, indeed.
Judith Greblya co-wrote this article with Cinnamon Stillwell, the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, which commissioned this work. Send email to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block may reached at:
UCLA Chancellor's Office
Box 951405, 2147 Murphy Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1405
FReepMail me if you want on, or off this low-volume Ping list.