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Professor Suing David Horowitz

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    PROFESSOR FIGHTS PORTRAYAL AS SUPPORTER OF TERRORISM Lisa M. Krieger Mercury News 5/10/06 http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/14543692.htm As one
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2006
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      PROFESSOR FIGHTS PORTRAYAL AS SUPPORTER OF TERRORISM
      Lisa M. Krieger
      Mercury News
      5/10/06
      http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/14543692.htm


      As one of Stanford University's most respected Middle East scholars,
      professor Joel Beinin knows what terrorism looks like.

      So it was a shock when he saw his own face on the cover of a new book
      titled ``Campus Support for Terrorism,'' linking him to radical Islam.

      He's suing the book's publishers in what is the first counteroffensive
      by a professor against a growing campaign by conservative groups
      targeting left-leaning college educators.

      Conservative groups acknowledge they are watching scholars like Beinin
      in an effort to combat what they believe are inaccuracies perpetuated
      by liberal faculties on college campuses. But while many of the
      monitored faculty have stayed silent -- saying they lack the tenure or
      campus support necessary to protect their careers from outside critics
      -- Beinin hired an attorney.

      ``They have used my picture as part of their war on free expression,''
      Beinin said. ``I have never, in any way, supported terrorism. I've
      spoken out against it. They're trying to intimidate people into silence.''

      David Horowitz, publisher of the book that is the subject of Beinin's
      complaint, says he is simply exercising his right to free speech and
      considers the suit harassment.

      ``I didn't say he was a terrorist. I said he supported terrorism,''
      said Horowitz, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for the Study
      of Popular Culture. ``It is my view. If he doesn't like it, he can
      respond anytime he wants, instead of playing legal games.''

      Horowitz and other leading conservatives seek to combat what they
      believe is the ``radicalization'' of Mideast studies by
      liberal-dominated faculties at the nation's universities.

      Stanford is among 18 campuses targeted as having ``anti-Israel bias''
      by the watchdog organization ``Campus Watch.'' ``Stanford students are
      getting a very poor interpretation of the Middle East, an extremist
      viewpoint that doesn't tolerate other viewpoints,'' wrote Campus Watch
      founder Daniel Pipes.

      Beinin, a 58-year-old Jewish professor who supports Palestinian
      rights, knows he has enemies. Secure in his tenured position at an
      elite university, he routinely criticizes U.S. leaders for failing to
      understand why Americans are hated in the Arab world. He decries the
      humanitarian costs of the Palestinian occupation.

      The Ivy League-educated Beinin, former president of the prestigious
      Middle East Studies Association, favors peaceful coexistence of
      Palestinians and Israelis, and seeks a solution to the conflict based
      on the principles of human rights and international law. His work has
      triggered death threats; one caller said, ``You know what happened to
      Daniel Pearl. . . . The people who are sympathetic are the first ones
      to go.''

      Organizations such as the Los Angeles-based Center for the Study of
      Popular Culture say Beinin and others bear some of the responsibility
      for Sept. 11 because they soft-peddled the dangers of radical Islam.

      In addition to its provocative books, the center is advocating
      legislation called ``an academic bill of rights,'' introduced in at
      least 15 states last year, that exhorts professors to present a wider
      political spectrum in the classroom. A related group, running the Web
      site Campus-Watch.org, is collecting dossiers on professors it says
      are biased against the United States and Israel.

      A nationally known writer and Republican firebrand, center president
      Horowitz is said to have the ear of Bush adviser Karl Rove and others
      in the White House.

      ``You can't get a good education if they're only telling you half the
      story,'' said Horowitz, who is pushing for ``intellectual diversity,''
      saying universities must redress the preponderance of liberal thinking
      on college faculties.

      ``I consider Beinin to be a supporter of terrorism,'' Horowitz said.
      ``I know that he supports the Palestinian Liberation Organization. I
      am going to guess that he supports the Palestinian Authority, which is
      Hamas.''

      Beinin responded: ``As usual, Horowitz is either flat out wrong or
      makes arguments from innuendo. I have never said that I support the
      PLO or any of its constituent organizations. I have argued that the
      U.S. and Israel ought to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, not
      because I support it but because it is the pragmatic way to make
      progress toward peace. I definitely do not support Hamas.''

      Professors worry about the effort to assert political control over
      their teaching, research and public programs. They accuse the groups
      of conducting McCarthy-type witch hunts, the hysterical search for
      secret U.S. communists during the early days of the Cold War.

      Ellen Schrecker, a professor of history at Yeshiva University and a
      scholar of McCarthyism, calls it ``an assault on academia.''

      Beinin acknowledges that his lawsuit doesn't tackle the more profound
      issues of libel, free speech or academic debate -- rather, it focuses
      very narrowly on an unapproved use of a photograph.

      ``My photo is not out there for anyone to use as they see fit -- and
      certainly not to make money off it, by accusing me of doing bad
      things,'' he said.

      Horowitz responds that he doesn't expect anyone to buy the book simply
      because Beinin's photo is on the cover.

      ``If I had George Clooney on the cover, OK, he'd have a case. But Joel
      Beinin? That's idiotic,'' Horowitz said.


      Contact Lisa Krieger at lkrieger @ mercurynews.com. Fax (408) 920-5565.

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