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Campus Watch

Campus Watch is an organisation which according its own website "reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them." It is a project of the Middle East Forum, an American, neoconservative, pro-Israel think tank. It is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. and was founded in 2002 by Daniel Pipes. It is currently headed by Winfield Myers.

The Campus Watch website states that:

The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds.


Campus Watch originally encouraged students to submit reports regarding teachers, books, and curricula, which led some professors to accuse Campus Watch of "McCarthyesque" intimidation. In protest, more than 100 other academics asked to be listed. Joel Beinin, a long-time opponent of Pipes, said: "Campus Watch [..] compiles dossiers on professors and universities that do not meet its standard of uncritical support for the policies of George Bush and Ariel Sharon." Rashid Khalidi, a Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University and a target of Campus Watch, stated "This noxious campaign is intended to silence such perfectly legitimate criticism, by tarring it with the brush of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, truly loathsome charges. They reveal the lengths that these people apparently feel impelled to go to in order to silence a true debate on campus.

After two weeks, Campus Watch removed the list from its website. They no longer maintain dossiers or collect information from students, relying instead mostly on "reading a scholar's writings and lectures, the great bulk of which is available to anyone with an Internet connection".

Criticism and Responses

Professor Miriam Cooke of Duke University has strongly criticised Campus Watch in a 2005 article, concluding that:
Campus Watch is the Trojan horse whose warriors are already changing the rules of the game not only in Middle East studies but also in the US University as a whole. They threaten to undermine the very foundations of American education.

In a controversial paper, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (later expanded into a book with the same name), political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote that:

The Lobby also monitors what professors write and teach. In September 2002, for example, Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes, two passionately pro-Israel neoconservatives, established a website (Campus Watch) that posted dossiers on suspect academics ... This transparent attempt to blacklist and intimidate scholars prompted a harsh reaction and Pipes and Kramer later removed the dossiers."
Pipes stated that this "account is inaccurate in several ways (e.g. Martin Kramer had no role in founding Campus Watch) ... Neither the Middle East Forum nor myself has ever taken orders from some mythical ‘Lobby’, and specifically I decided to establish Campus Watch on my own." Later he wrote that "Mearsheimer and Walt unconditionally concede they have no information about the alleged “lobby” giving me orders concerning Campus Watch, confirming the falsehood of their initial claim."

Myers has denied claims that Campus Watch is part of a 'Zionist lobby'. Rather, Campus Watch critiques Middle East studies in North America regardless of whether they address Israel."


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