Middle East Studies directors put on the spot over academic boycott of Israel pledge

Six directors of taxpayer-supported Middle East Studies centers at American universities have signed a public letter pledging "not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions." However, as Winfield Myers of Campus Watch reports:

As heads of U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers, the directors are administrators of bodies required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act to give "assurances" that they will "maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education and other organizations that may contribute to the teaching and research of the Center."

If their pledges aren't simply personal but apply to the centers they lead, they stand in conflict with the assurances they gave in exchange for federal funds.

The six directors are:

·  Lila Abu-Lughod, Middle East Institute, Columbia.

·  mirian cooke (no relation to e.e. cummings), Middle East Studies Center, Duke.

·  Osama Abi-Mershed, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown.

·  John Esposito, Prince Alwaleed bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown.

·  Helga Tawil-Souri, Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University.

·  Gabriel Piterberg, Center for Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.

These academics should be under close scrutiny, and their centers’ funding cut off, if they violate the terms of their grants by acting on their personal animus agaist Israel.

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman