Alex Kane alerts us to a muzzle in progress

Blogger Alex Kane who previously demonstrated the far-right origins of the anti-”Ground Zero Mosque” campaign, has the scoop on the latest muzzling campaign. This time the target is Arab American professor Moustafa Bayoumi.

In an opinion piece for the Post, Ronald Radosh, a neo-conservative adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, [last seen on Muzzlewatch funding attempts to scrutinize Israeli syllabi for 'left wing bias'] argues that the Bayoumi book assigned to all incoming freshmen, How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, is “extremely slanted.”  Radosh argues that, while it may be legitimate to assign Bayoumi’s book, what’s also needed is “a contrasting opinion, one challenging the view that Americans and New Yorkers in particular are completely Islamaphobic.”

Reading the whole column, it’s clear that underneath all the concern for Brooklyn College students being “indoctrinated” is an aversion that Radosh feels to any airing of criticism against Israel, especially if it comes from an Arab or Palestinian point of view.

Radosh mentions Bayoumi’s associations with Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi, without explaining why that is relevant to what he terms the “scandal” at the college.  The mentions of Said and Khalidi are really a wink and nudge to hard-line supporters of Israel who don’t want to hear Khalidi’s and Said’s perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He also goes after Bayoumi for editing Midnight on the Mavi Marmara, which is about the Israeli attack on the flotilla last May.  Radosh labels the book as a”pro-Islamist” work that includes “selections from such noted foes of Israel as Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Max Blumenthal, Philip Weiss and scores of Arab authors.”  Radosh is too polite to really say what he’s thinking, but he apparently thinks there’s a problem with “scores of Arab authors” criticizing the Israeli raid that killed 9 people in international waters.

So here we have guilt-by-association, the attacking of respected figures for their very effectiveness, and the demand for “contrasting views,” which is never made by these same people when the person is defending the Israeli Occupation. The targetting of someone for speaking out against the Mavi Marmara killing echoes the Israeli moves against Member of Knesset Haneen Zouabi. In particular, I love that Radosh is trying to refute Islamophobia while labelling people of diverse backgrounds who oppose him politically “pro-Islamist” and not even able to mention “scores of Arabs” by name. Definitely no need for college students to read a book about anti-Arab racism. Not when we have one public figure against Islamophobia!

At a time when Mayor Bloomberg stands out for his insistence on the right of Muslims to build the “Ground Zero mosque,” the view that our country is taking out its anger over 9/11 against decent American Muslims is clearly overstated.
Radosh does not mention the cabdriver stabbed for being a Muslim, or any other descriptions of actual Islamophobia. Is it just the decency of American Muslims that Radosh thinks is being overstated?
Thanks for the heads up, Alex.

–Jesse Bacon

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