It's Time for the Federal Government to Monitor How Its Funds Are Spent on Middle East Studies


Mr. Kramer, author of Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle East Studies in America, is editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

Back in June, the House Subcommittee on Select Education convened hearings on bias in Title VI, the program of government subsidies for area studies in universities. The indefatigable Stanley Kurtz, critic of Title VI, gave invaluable testimony and carried the day. Kurtz, Daniel Pipes, and I also urged readers to write to subcommittee chair Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan), asking him to introduce legislation establishing a board for Title VI. Representative Hoekstra has done just that.

Hoekstra is the author of the International Studies in Higher Education Act (H.R. 3077). On September 17, the subcommittee passed it unanimously. On September 25, the full Committee on Education and the Workforce reported it favorably by unanimous voice vote. (Kurtz and I attended that markup.) It now goes to the House floor. The bill is a compromise--American politics, unlike the"dictatorship of virtue" that prevails in academe, involves compromise--but the result is a genuine breakthrough. (To read the bill, click here and enter"HR3077" for the bill number. The relevant version is the second one, reported in the House.)

The bill does three things. First, it recalls the original purpose of the Title VI program: to enhance the"national interests" and meet the"national needs" of the United States. Title VI began as a national defense program in 1958. In later years, it became a semi-entitlement, lightly administered by the Department of Education. Ultimately it became part of the reproductive tract of academic area studies--slush for arcane research by grad students bent on academic careers. The bill emphasizes, in its"findings and purposes," that the country's post-9/11 security requires trained Americans who are"willing to serve their nation," and charges Title VI with"assist[ing] the national effort to educate and train citizens to participate in the efforts of homeland security." The bill also requires grantee institutions to allow unencumbered government recruiting.

Just the other week, a report on U.S. public diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim world gave distressing figures on the lack of Arabic competence in the State Department. Reports underline an identical problem in the ranks of U.S. administrators in Iraq. There are lots of reasons for the shortfall, but one of them is that universities use Title VI money to produce more academics--and nothing else. The bill sends a strong message: in future, programs also will be judged by the degree to which they send students into the nation's service.

Second, the bill establishes that academic programs supported by Title VI, including outreach programs, should"reflect diverse perspectives and represent the full range of views" on international affairs. Activities under Title VI should"foster debate on American foreign policy from diverse perspectives." When the Coalition of International Education, one of the higher education lobbies, saw this wording, it assured members it was lobbying toward"eliminating language about diverse perspectives, debate and range of views." Diversity is one of the great mantras of academe--provided the diversity isn't intellectual.

Fortunately, the legislators were wiser. They know that academe, which preserves its ancient structure as a guild, places a premium on conformity. The language on diversity and full range has remained, so that the bill effectively enjoins academe to make room for alternative views. This is particularly crucial in outreach beyond the campus, an activity mandated by Title VI, in which the instances of one-sided propagandizing are legion.

Third, and most important, the bill establishes a seven-member advisory board, completely independent of any department or agency, and empowered"to study, monitor, apprise, and evaluate" activities supported under the title. Three of the board members are to be appointed by the Secretary of Education, and two of those will represent government agencies with national security responsibilities. The leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate each will appoint two more. The board will meet once a year, to make recommendations to the Department of Education and the Congress on the operation of Title VI. Before making recommendations, the board will hold public hearings. (Here is a useful summary of the board provisions.)

The board is not exactly revolutionary. Boards govern the Fulbright program, another major source of fellowships; the National Security Education Program, a program of scholarships; and the U.S. Institute of Peace, which makes grants to academics. Even Title VI once had a board, a few decades back. But for a long time, Title VI has enjoyed a general exemption from any outside input, and has been run by and for the academic mandarins. The new board will give the rest of us--government agencies, the Congress, and the interested public--an instrument to monitor Title VI and influence the policies that guide it. That lays a new foundation for a partnership among academe, government, and the public, at a time of pressing national need.

But because the bill does all these things, the lights are burning late over at the American Council on Education (ACE), higher education's top lobby. Even though the bill has been amended to meet many of their concerns, they won't rest until the committee is bound, gagged, and blindfolded. To some extent, the committee is already bound: it's an advisory committee, not a supervisory one, and it can only make recommendations. To a lesser extent, it is gagged: it cannot recommend legislation without the approval of the President. So far, it hasn't been blindfolded. So the folks over at ACE are still at work. Read their latest:
The higher education community still is fearful that this board, rather than being just an advisory body, would have too much authority to interfere in the curricular activities of individual institutions and might set a precedent for further federal involvement in the conduct and content of higher education. The American Council on Education will continue to seek further improvements to the bill as it moves to the House floor for consideration.

In fact, far from having"too much authority," the board has too little. Read the bill. The board only has the power to make recommendations. The Secretary of Education isn't obliged to accept any of them. And the lobby has already succeeded in getting this passage inserted in the bill:"Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize the board to mandate, direct, or control an institution of higher education's specific instructional content, curriculum, or program of instruction." So just what does the education lobby want?

It wants a board that will do absolutely nothing. And to achieve that end, no scare tactics are too crude. Listen, for example, to Gilbert W. Merkx, a Duke professor (who also testified last June):"The advisory board could easily be hijacked by those who have a political ax to grind and become a vehicle for an inquisition." That's the mindset of the mandarins: people with different views are ax-wielding hijackers, and any criticism is an"inquisition."

I have a word of advice to Professor Merkx and other academics who fear that government might peek into the principalities over which they rule: Don't take taxpayers' money. There are plenty of university programs in international and area studies that don't get Title VI funding. Become one of them. Get off the public dole and find other subsidies--perhaps from one of those rich Saudi princes on an academic shopping spree. Then you can run your program without any diversity of perspectives, just like they do in Saudi Arabia. You won't be missed, and other worthy recipients will benefit.

 The bill now has to get past the House floor and the Senate. What can we do to keep it from being gutted by the high-powered lobbyists of big academe? Easy: write to Washington. Tell elected representatives that you support the International Studies in Higher Education Act (H.R. 3077), that you support a strong and effective advisory board for Title VI, and that you believe that Title VI programs should reflect diverse perspectives and represent a full range of views. Send your letter to:

  •  Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) at As author of the bill, he needs to hear that there is a constituency that opposes any erosion of the board's advisory powers. That's important to move the bill unscathed through the House.
  • Senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, at His committee is the next stop, once the bill clears the House.

It also helps to send copies of your letter to your own congressman and senators.

If you're a student, and you've been galvanized by 9/11 to study foreign affairs, you have a special interest in this bill. It will open intellectual space and expand your opportunities. You have a greater stake in this legislation than your professors, who already enjoy the security and privileges of tenure. Write in support of the bill in your campus newspaper, and e-mail the article or letter to Representative Hoekstra and Senator Gregg. When an editorial in the Daily Texan, the student newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin, endorsed the bill, a congressman from Texas signed on as a cosponsor. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce even reproduced the editorial in its appeal for more cosponsors. Students are voters, and they matter as much to legislators as professors. (Indeed, they might matter even more, since there are more of them.) Use your leverage.

It's time to write a new contract for Title VI--not to punish anyone, but to deepen America's resources for coping with the world. A contract has at least two parties. To all those lobbyists and academics who think Title VI is an entitlement, encourage Congress to send this message:"Not on our dime."

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More Comments:

Steve Brody - 11/9/2003

“What silliness. Sharon wants to provoke more bombings so he can kill more Palestinians. The wall is going up strictly to grab more land, and provoke more war.

F H, you’ve got the lock on silliness with a comment like this. As if Sharon needs more homicide bombers. What, do you think Sharon gets some political advantage from not being able to prevent the Palistinian bombers from killing Israelis?

“There has been no greater racist than Sharon, not even Hitler, whom he in behavior most resembles. Of course, Hitler was much better looking.”

Boy, I thought I had read some despicable things on HNN, but you’ve established a new low, F H.

“Because of Sharon, there will be no solution until the Palestinians get a nuclear capability, and then there will be hell to pay when Israel disappears under 6 or 8 mushroom clouds.”

And that would suit you just fine, wouldn’t it, F H.

F.H. Thomas - 11/3/2003

What silliness. Sharon wants to provoke more bombings so he can kill more Palestinians. The wall is going up strictly to grab more land, and provoke more war. There has been no greater racist than Sharon, not even Hitler, whom he in behavior most resembles. Of course, Hitler was much better looking.

Because of Sharon, there will be no solution until the Palestinians get a nuclear capability, and then there will be hell to pay when Israel disappears under 6 or 8 mushroom clouds.

Steve Brody - 10/27/2003

I, on the other hand, will not be keeping a copy of your comments, Richard, because while they do represent a good example of dodging the issues, that’s nothing new for you.

You know, Richard, I was wrong about you. I suggested that you had run out of ideas. But I went back and read some of your prior comments and I’m not sure you ever had any ideas.

Anyone who raises disagreement with your facile analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian situation can expect to be called a”Likudik”. You usually follow-up with an accusation of “pro-Sharon” propaganda. If you’re feeling particularly creative you will make some reference to the Nazis. Never any reference to issues.

In one of your prior comments, Richard, you implied that you were a “real historian”. Well you know the old saying: those who can address issues, do so. Those who can’t…refer to themselves as “real historians”.

Richard, I have no comprehension problem. You, however, have a knowledge problem. You are laboring under the misapprehension that the border between Israel and the Palestinian Territories has been decided. It might have been if Arafat had taken Clinton’s peace plan. But he didn’t. So your analogy to the US and Mexican border is off the mark. The line hasn’t been drawn yet.

Now as to your intent to “continue to defend America’s interests.” I can't tell you how badly I'm going to sleep tonight knowing that you, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those who cheered on 9/11, are defending America's interests.

Derek Catsam - 10/27/2003

What I hate about the ter "Likudnik" is that it is intended to chill the dialogue. But beyond that, it reveals an incredible ignorance of Israeli history. When did Likud first gain power in Israel? The fact is, much of Israeli history, for good or for ill, occurred with Labour firmly in control. The Labor Party also has always been concerned with israel's security, has always taken a strong stance against terrorism. But to call someone a "Likudnik" is to misrepresent this history, and o claim that those of us who support Israel also must of necessity support Sharon, which does not have to be the case. It seems that if you are going to engage in namecalling or guilt by association, it would be worthwhile to know a bit of the hisotyr of the place of which you speak -- loathe israel based on 1967 if you will. While I believe such blaming to be misplaced and not a bit morally loathsome, at least then acknowledge who was the predominant party in Israel in 1967. Then start calling us all "Laborniks" if you will. Were I an Israeli ciizen, labor would be my party. I know that the estimable Sally dean will now deride that just as she has groundlessly derided my being a "liberal," but then some folks you just can't reach.

Kurdlion - 10/27/2003

WBAI, and Pacifica affiliates outside New York: Robert Knight, Amy Goodman, and others not afraid to connect dots and name names. They may have already done an expose on Martin Kramer and the Likud lobby. If not, then soon, it is to be hoped. Thanks for the correction.


Likudnik - 10/27/2003

Having fun?

Josh Greenland - 10/27/2003

"I'd prefer you challenge my ideas than just try to score cheap debating points that, though they may give you satisfaction, just prove what a moron you are."

Yes, while calling someone a moron is the epitome of intelligent discussion.

Josh Greenland - 10/27/2003

I think you mean WBAI, not WBIA.

Kurdlion - 10/27/2003

Dear Neophyte Historian Steve,

Thank you for your last comment. I have made a copy for my files because it represents one of the purest forms of textbook pro-Sharon propaganda I have ever seen. Not quite up there with Pravda and Goebbels, but a noticeable specimen all the same.

When I see a comment on this website supporting Palestinian terrorism, I will be more than ready to condemn it thoroughly and without qualification. I've been here for two years and haven't seen any such comment yet, but you never know. Even the Nazis let a few Jews into their higher ranks.

I will reiterate, since you seem to suffer from difficulties with reading comprehension: The problem is not Sharon building a wall. America has done so on parts of its border with Mexico and incurred no international 144-4 votes against it. If America were building a wall 60 miles inside Mexican territory, then our President would probably be taken to task in much the same manner that your beloved leader Sharon is.

Meanwhile, I am not going anywhere. I am staying right here in America, and will continue to defend America's interests, not those of foreign fanatics.

If you like, please pass this message on to your uninformed friend "Likudnik". You can suggest that he listen to WBIA radio in New York City for more on what the Likud government of Israel is really about. I am not by any means endorsing that network unequivocally, but for those who otherwise fed a steady diet of New York Post and Fox "News", it may offer a reality check.

Richard Kurdlion

Likudnik - 10/26/2003

You say: "Likudniks do not like the term because they like to pretend that all Israelis are the same and agree on all issues..."

Can you prove this rather absurd statement? As a "Likudnik", I can tell you for a fact that no, we don't think "all Israelis" believe whatever absurd thing you say they believe. Israel is like any democracy, you have to earn your votes.

As far as "not liking the term", I like it just fine, but what I find idiotic, and therefore tiresome, is your belief that by using the term "Likudnik" you think you're actually making some kind of a point, when in fact you're not. I'd prefer you challenge my ideas than just try to score cheap debating points that, though they may give you satisfaction, just prove what a moron you are.

Steve Brody - 10/26/2003

No, Richard, "Likudnik" is a term that sappy apologists for Palestinian terrorists use when they have run out of ideas, but wish to continue to babble. Frequently these apologists anoint themselves Kings and make silly pronouncements about who belongs in America and who should leave. They are inclined to determine themselves the sole arbiters of what is the “obvious national interests of the United States”.

These apologists are prone to accusing those with whom they disagree of attempting to “turn American foreign policy over to Ariel Sharon”. You see, Richard that way they don’t have to deal with the arguments implicit in the disagreement.

And of course, these apologists do all of this with the wide-eyed and obligatory “ I do not in any way, shape, or form support Palestinian terrorism”. Of course, they also don’t condemn the terrorism either. Invariably their comments include a long list of Palestinian grievances against the Israelis without any acknowledgement of the part that the Palestinians have played in creating the situation and could play in alleviating the situation.

Richard, I’ve noticed that these apologists like to forget that Bill Clinton brokered a deal that would have given the Palestinians 97% of the West Bank, all of Gaza and most of the settlements out. They try to ignore Arafat’s rejection of the agreement and Clinton’s condemnation of Arafat’s rejection.

I’ve noticed that recently, Richard, these same apologists have started quoting the UN vote condemning Israel for building the wall. All, of course, without noting that Sharon didn’t start building the wall until the toll of Palestinian homicide bombers had become intolerable. And as though the vote of a country that really has no need to protect itself from Palestinian terrorism is somehow relevant.

These same apologists frequently offer examples of their deep, sophisticated analysis, like “we should work with those on both sides willing to actively negotiate for a viable two state arrangement.” No! Do you think? Why didn’t anyone else ever think of that?

Oh, BTW, Richard, you ended your last comment with “bon voyage”? Going somewhere?

Richard Kurdlion - 10/26/2003

"Likudnik" is a necessarily imprecise term generally employed in reference to supporters - in Israel and elsewhere, e.g. America - of the Israeli Likud Party. Likudniks do not like the term because they like to pretend that all Israelis are the same and agree on all issues (and therefore, by frequent insinuation, anyone who criticizes any Israeli policy -like this wall of occupation- must be criticizing all Israelis, and therefore Israel's right to exist).

Sally is right in suggesting that people who vehemently argue against the obvious national interests of the United States (which certainly do not include ethnically cleansing the West Bank of Palestinians, by building ugly fortress settlements and Berlin Walls deep WITHIN illegally occupied territory) and who vehemently argue in favor of turning American foreign policy over to Ariel Sharon, do not belong in America.

I do not in any way, shape, or form support Palestinian terrorism (no body at HNN ever has). I am pointing out, from time to time, the absurd hypocrisy of unAmerican comments (now surely in the thousands at HNN) which serve no purpose but propaganda for the Likud Party and its despicable and unworkable policies being denounced around the world by ratios such as 144-4.

Bon Voyage, Steve.

Steve Brody - 10/26/2003

Phil, let me get this straight. Palestinians wire their children up with explosives and send them out to kill Israeli children. The Israeli’s build a wall to try and stop them and you think it’s the Palestinians who are getting the raw deal?

Who cares what 144 countries that have no children at risk think about Israel’s attempt to protect itself. Anyway, Israel’s border with the West Bank hasn’t been settled yet. That has yet to be negotiated.

As for the “illegal settlements”, Barak offered Arafat 95% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and most of the settlements out. Arafat declined and restarted the murder machine. Until he stops it, nothing good will come.

David - 10/26/2003

"Likudnik", "nazi", "fascist", etc. blah blah blah.


Steve Brody - 10/26/2003

Hey look, Sally. You’re the one who brought up the 144 countries that voted their disapproval of the wall. I merely pointed out how easy it is for countries (and dilettantes like you) who have no particular stake in the outcome to express your disapproval. All, of course, from a place of comfort and safety.

As for Palestinians having a right to exist, no one questions that right. What they don’t have a right to do is wire their children up with explosives and send them out to kill Israeli children.

You think we should work with people on both sides towards a two-state solution? I agree. Clinton tried that and got nowhere with Arafat. I guess Clinton is just another old “Likudnik”.

Sally, you’ve got two choices:

You can stop posting puerile comments on HNN


You can continue with your name calling of anyone one doesn’t subscribe to your silly analysis of the situation. (Maybe you can try “I’m rubber and your glue..”)

This may come as a shock to you, Sally, but everyone who disagrees with you isn’t a “Likudnik” (whatever that is).

Gus Moner - 10/25/2003

We needn’t go to the Middle East to answer this argument. It’s really very simple. Education is not to be mingled with politics. If these standards were approved, every time there was a political change, education would change. No, education is best when determined by educational standards, not political.

All the elements that have gone into dreaming up this charade amount to politicising education. Do we wish to become a 1930’s Germany or USSR?

Sally Dean - 10/25/2003

Steve, are you declaring your affiliation with the Sharon propagandists here ? Your statement is absurd on its face. Just do the obvious reversals and see the patent hypocrisy:

Likudnik garbage statement 1 (of a type heard about 10-20 times a week on HNN):

"144 countries who are not dealing with Palestinian homicide bombers on a daily basis disapprove of the wall. So what. It’s so easy for them (and you) to criticize from a position of comfort and safety."

Equivalent Hamas garbage statement 1 (heard on HNN about 5 or 6 times a year):

144 Likud members of the Knesset who are not having their houses bulldozed and dealing with having their relatives and neighbors killed for no reason on a daily basis, disapprove of a two state solution and want to build a wall to prevent it. So what. It is easy for them and you to criticize all Palestinians indiscriminately from a position of comfort and safety."

Likudnik garbage statement 2:

"And you claim that Palestinian leaders accepted Israel’s right to exist? Maybe you can document where Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade leaders have made statements to that affect" (sic)

Equivalent Hamas garbage statement 2:

And you claim that Israeli leaders accepted Palestine's right to exist? Maybe you can document where West Bank settler movement leaders have made statements to that effect ?

QED, Steve. The appropriate position for America should be to support neither form of garbage, but to work with those on both sides willing to actively negotiate for a viable two state arrangement.

You can now:

1) Acknowledge your error and clean up your act


2) Persist with Likudnik hypocrisy (in which case please move to the West Bank settlements where promoters of such fanatical nonsense belong)

The choice is yours.

Phil Edwards - 10/25/2003

One could as relevantly inquire: "How many of the 144 would have voted for the resolution, if Israel's wall were being built on the border of Israel, in order to defend Israel ?" In America, and in most other countries, though obviously not in the minds of current rulers in the Mideast, two wrongs (terrorism and illegal settlements) do not make a right.

Steve Brody - 10/25/2003

Sally, So 144 countries who are not dealing with Palestinian homicide bombers on a daily basis disapprove of the wall. So what. It’s so easy for them (and you) to criticize from a position of comfort and safety.

And you claim that Palestinian leaders accepted Israel’s right to exist? Maybe you can document where Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade leaders have made statements to that affect.

Sally Dean - 10/25/2003

"Funny that no one criticized the poll that stated that only 37% of Palestinians saw 9/11 as an act of terrorism. Maybe Geoff just doesn't care" sayeth self-designated international historian Derek Catsam.

It is also "funny" that Derek does not "criticize" the 144-4 international condemnation in the UN of the Likud Regime's Berlin-Wall-like "barrier" running through the middle of illegally occupied foreign land. Maybe Derek "just doesn't care" ?

How should a real historian characterize the force behind the building of this internationally un-cheered wall. Are volunteers from “Peace Now” out in massive numbers in the West Bank brandishing shovels and unrolling bales of barbed wire ?

Maybe when Derek can take a moment’s break from his arduous task of not defending Kramer and "giving a damn about the situation on the gorund" (sic), he could list (for the edification of the huge throng of participating commenters here) the number of Arab posters ever heard from on HNN.

HNN readers have indeed "seen it all before" when it comes to Likudnik propaganda from phony "liberal" Derek. If Wolfowitz or Sharon are compensating him for his hundreds of volleys on their behalf on this website, such unlikely recompense must surely be based on the volume not the historical veracity of those outpourings.

Derek Catsam - 10/24/2003

Geoff --
Wait -- I love how you pose that David is somehow illegitimate because he might be "in Israel already." So Israelis have no right to speak about the fulminations of the ever-important Geoff on Israeli policy? What a curious argument. More important, how curious that you would try to delegitimize an argument that may come from tel Aviv or Jerusalem. I think we all see where you are coming from. We've seen it all before.

Derek Catsam - 10/24/2003

Maybe it is just the utter inarticulateness of Geoff Ericson's screed, but I am not certain what he writes has to do with what I wrote. My post was directly aimed at commenters here on hnn --especially at those who misuse terms such as "apartheid" or "Likudnik" for example. If I defended the article in play, I think a courtesy of an example as to how I did so would be appropriate. What I was excoriating, as anyone who read my post would know, was the nature of the dialogue -- of calling people "Likudniks" which, in addition to revealing an utter ignorance of the history of the Labour Party in Israel, seems more concerned with scoring cheap debating points than with actually giving a damn about the situation on the gorund. Funny that no one criticized the poll that stated that only 37% of Palestinians saw 9/11 as an act of terrorism. Maybe Geoff just doesn't care.

Steve Brody - 10/24/2003

Bill, how many of the 144 countries that voted to dismantle the wall have Palestinian homicide bombers killing their citizens on a daily basis?

David - 10/23/2003

No I can't "prove" it, short of Arafat calling a press conference and announcing it to the world. I can't prove it, like 99% of the comments on this forum also cannot be proven. But it's a conclusion that is consistent with the facts as I understand them. You're free to disagree, and I can't "prove" you wrong any more than you can prove me wrong.

As far as the U.N. vote, The muslim/arab countries vote in block and consistently against Israel (about 50+ countries). Other countries vote to satisfy the arab oil lobby.

David - 10/23/2003

Oh yes! and don't forget "Sharon"!!!! It all started with the "war criminal Sharon"! Yup, that's when it ALL started!

Excepted it didn't. This round began when Arafat crapped on your precious Dove Ehud Barak (Labor), not to mention the naive Clinton.

If you don't like Sharon, blame the palestinians. They elected him.

Jake Lee - 10/23/2003

144 countries in the UN against you, Stephen. The PLO is more powerful than I thought. 144 countries with the terrorists !!
Quick, where's the nearest bomb shelter ?

Geoff Ericson - 10/23/2003

I think you are mistaken, Sally. I think "David" is in Israel already. Why he can't find an academic system there to meddle in, or an internet bulletin board there to post to is beyond me, however.

Geoff Ericson - 10/23/2003

No, David. The Likud lobby. L.I.K.U.D. That terrible word which is never to be admitted by its adherents and disciples outside of the Mideast. They are they ones who messed up your country, Israel, and are now busy trying to mess up mine, America.

Richard Kurdlion - 10/23/2003

Convolutionist Herodotus, you have had better moments than this.


Bill Bailey - 10/23/2003


Maybe the Jerusalem Post did not give it prominent coverage, so you may have missed this news item, but page 11 of today's San Francisco Chronicle reports that the UN voted 144-4 to call for "dismantling" that beloved barrier of yours. The UN resolution, not inappropriately, condemned Palestinian suicide bombings as well as the building of the illegal barrier.

The names of the 144 UN members were not listed, but how many of them do you suppose "do not want" a two-state solution ?

If your comments make any sense, then you should be able to name 80 or 90 such countries easily.

Just the names of those 80 anti-two-state solution countries, please.

David - 10/23/2003

That's right Geoff, it's all about the Jooooish lobby!!!

Sally Dean - 10/23/2003

"A new poll of Palestinian Arabs shows that 59% support the continuation of the intifada—even if they get their own state and Israel withdraws from the West Bank and Gaza"

This is pretty idiotic, I agree.

It was also idiotic of Israelis to continue with the West Bank settlements even after Palestinian leaders agreed to accept Israel's right to exist within its 1967 borders.

Therefore what ? Two groups of quarrelling idiots and America has to give carte blanche to one side against the other ?

David, I won't detain you further. Your plane to Tel Aviv is departing soon.

Geoff Ericson - 10/23/2003

Mr. Catsam decries "name-calling brigades" in order to defend an article written by a full professional propagandist for a foreign-directed lobby which has a strangehold on Capitol Hill when it comes to Mideast policy. This article which Mr. Catsam defends, furthermore, excoriates the "education lobby" as a bunch of "mandarins" who want committees to be "bound, gagged, and blindfolded".

There is a name we can call this sort of commenter:


David - 10/23/2003

The Arabs and their supporters really do not want a two-state solution. That, and only that, is the reason why this protective wall is being so ferociously opposed.

They can seethe and whine about an orchard here and there being disturbed by the wall, but the true agenda is other. They simply do not, and HAVE NOT wanted, a two-state solution. Simply look at the history of the "peace process". They are trying to wear down Israel's resolve. They believe time is on their side.

Ariel Sharon's protective wall ensures a two-state solution and THIS is why they seethe, scream, and cry about it.

David - 10/23/2003

You sounded so reasonable in your prior post about "Likudniks", and then you had to post this drivel.

Derek Catsam - 10/23/2003

Is this post serious? Aryans have to be racist because demographically they are a minority? So if they were a majority, racism would not be the coin of the realm of white supremacists? So in the US there is no need for white supremacy, because for the time being "Aryans" are in the majority? Please tell me that the incoherence of the first few lines of this screed are in fact the sign that the author simply cannot express himself in the English language and that this post does not say what it seems to say.
By the way, I am curious what "our homelands" are? In most of the areas of the world, the indigenous, native folks, that is the people in "their homelands" are in fact people of color. Those few areas from which whites emerged are still overwhelmingly white. Where on earth was the indigenous population originally white and now is "overrun" by other races?

I can't believe I am even engaging this guy. Maybe I am the moron here.

David - 10/23/2003

Don't take it on faith, take it on fact.

"A new poll of Palestinian Arabs shows that 59% support the continuation of the intifada—even if they get their own state and Israel withdraws from the West Bank and Gaza"

full text:

Derek Catsam - 10/23/2003

Mr. Kurdlion wrote the following:
"Most Palestinians condemned the 9-11 attacks as did most people in countries all around the world."

Perhaps. But it is worth noting that a recent poll in Israel and the terroritories found that only 37% of Pelestinians believed the attacks on 9-11 to be terrorist attacks. It would be a tough assignment to pprove the assertion that "most" Palestinians wept over the 9-11 attacks, and we KNOW that many rejoiced. We also know that in the pictures suicide bombers took of themselves prior to their attacks (this is a part of the process of martyrdom) some had as their backdrops not religious or other cultural icons, but rather pictures of the now fallen World Trade Center.

As someone who does a fair amount of work on South Africa, can we also not apply a specific contextual historical term, apartheid, to the dialogue on Israel and Palestine? Historically my biggest problem with israel is its enduring support for the evil regime that was apartheid South Africa, and Israel certainly will need to reconcile itself with Arabs if the issue of terror and security can ever be sorted out, but "Apartheid" (and terms like "Likudnik") are great for scoring points, but they are intellectually pretty irresponsible, are intended to chill dialogue, to close off the other side's right to have a legitimate argument, and serve to dumb down the dialogue. The same can be said about brandishing words such as "Nazis," "Fascists" "communists" and other such loaded terms that are the favorites of the name-calling brigades who hit and run on HNN.

Herodotus - 10/23/2003

If you cut support for Israel, either moral or financial, and delegitimize what the Israelis are doing to try to stop Palestinian organized terror (coming down through Arafat or Hamas), isn't that a defacto assistance to the Palestinian terror groups?

The neutrality acts of the 1930s meant well, but had the effect in Spain of ensuring a fascist victory.

Sally Dean - 10/22/2003

Likudnik "David" would have us accept on faith that "the palestinians have shown, by their own actions since the failed Oslo accords, that they do not desire a two-state solution".

Presumably he includes thereby the "self-hating" Palestinians currently negotiating a peace deal in Switzerland with Israelis.

Hamas zealots routinely condemn all Israelis, as if they were one giant, unified army of Zionist oppressors. David, on the other hand has evidently been brainwashed to be believe all Palestinians refuse to accept Israelis right to exist.

What does any of this back-and-forth idiocy have to do with the interests of the United States of America in a two-state solution ?

Hop aboard the next plane to Tel Aviv with Kramer, David. I'm sure there is still room in a West Bank "settlement" for both of you.

David - 10/22/2003

To insist that only a "few on the lunatic fringe celebrated on 9/11" strains credulity. Far more information has been added to those CNN clips to confirm and reinforce who our real enemies are. We know what we see, hear and read. But you can continue to apologize for that "lunatic fringe" as you call them, but you might as well try to convince us that it was the illuminati, and not Osama, that brought down those towers.

So it's all about "Ariel Sharon", huh? Just like it's all about "Bush". Listen, the palestinians have shown, by their own actions since the failed Oslo accords, that they do not desire a two-state solution. That, and only that, is the reason why they oppose Israel's protective wall.

Stephen Rifkin - 10/22/2003

Are you sure you know where all the funding for these 'middle eastern studies' programs comes from? Do you think it's an accident that for example several of them are operated on state funds from middle eastern countries and operated by former US State dept employees who were once engaged in those very countries?

Do you think that Harvard's recently rejected 2+ million dollar grant from a well know terrorist supporter was accidental?

I'm wondering if you would in your unquenchable lust for 'balance' support an English-Irish relations chair funded by the IRA?

Stephen Rifkin - 10/22/2003

Most of the people who commonly talk in post-moral terms of 'fair and equal' and balanced treatment for both sides are typically espousing a philosophy that says "Let's stop supporting the Israelis so that eventually they will cease to a problem to the Palestinians and to us as well." Whether the PLO is triumphant or not would seem to be a side issue, perhaps a free bonus but certainly a side issue.

The fact is, that nearly all so called middle eastern studies programs are highly politicized and agendized. One cannot walk into a class and listen to revisionism and hatespeech-lite. It's simply too fashionable to ignore.

mark safranski - 10/22/2003

Since we have a critical shortage of people who speak and read languages like Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Pashto etc. and/or understand the history and cultures of the region, why not expand the already superb program used at the Defense Language Institute ? The model exists and it can be housed on state university campuses and being a Federal entity it will operate without being under the administrative thumb of radical faculty members or departments ?

Richard Kurdlion - 10/22/2003

Every country has its lunatic fringe. Most Palestinians condemned the 9-11 attacks as did most people in countries all around the world. One incident, like a few scrounged up cheerers on CNN, or the murder by the Israeli army of non-violent American protester, are not a basis for America to decide HER policies.

Israel under the Labor Party and during the Cold War WAS America's ally against the USSR. The Cold War is now over and the USSR is gone. The Likud regime of Ariel Sharon, who was once banned even from Israeli politics for his war crimes, is trying to take over the West Bank with walls and settlements, denying the right of Palestine to exist, using much the same "logic" that Arab extremists employ against Israel's right to exist The pro AMERICAN policy would be to not support either set of murderous fanatics. Kramer's piece here amounts to little more than the same old pro-Likud propaganda that is regularly featured on HNN.

Richard Kurdlion - 10/22/2003

Where did I say "raise support for Palestine" ?

David - 10/21/2003

Your suggestion that we treat everybody neutrally begins from a false premise, ie, cut both Israeli and Palestinian funding equally.

The premise is false because Palestinians danced in the streets on 9/11, Israelis did not. Some people are our allies, some are not. Some peoples are savages, some are not. Are you with me so far?

That's why Saddam was NOT allowed nukes, but Israel IS. Because they are our allies, and not hostile to us, whereas Saddam, and others in that neighborhood are hostile and are savages.

Still with me?

Jesse Lamovsky - 10/21/2003

Here's a thought: how about cutting off Title VI altogether? After all, Dr. Kramer's piece certainly isn't about making sure this money is put to better use. It's just a plea in favor of him and his pro-Likud buddies getting a bigger share of the teat. Can't the State Department train Middle East diplomats out of its own existing budgets anyway? Can't the taxpayers find better ways to spend their own money, like, on stuff they want and need as individuals?

Reading about these academic pillow fights on HNN is one thing. Funding them is quite another. Cut them all off.

Herodotus - 10/21/2003

Normally I don't comment on the Israel/Palestine thing, because it's so complicated and I hardly understand it, but I have to raise one question. How can we follow Kurdlion's logic and reduce support for Israel, and raise support for Palestine, when Palestinian terrorists were the admitted perpetrators of the carbomb attack on the security guards for the U.S. consul general's visit to the Gaza Strip last week?

If we're supposed to be against the deliberate provokers, shouldn't that extend both ways, against both sides?

Richard Kurdlion - 10/20/2003

Cutting off the grants and loan guarantees to War Criminal Sharon and his suicidal "settler" followers would provide more than enough funding to satisfy every Title VI and AIPAC lobbyist's pet boondoggle program in "Mideast Studies". While Zionist Kramer prepares his permanent emigration to the West Bank, perhaps the American Congress could start serving the American people, instead of the Likud Party, for a change. Arafat and Hamas have shown their incurable stupidity and callousness, why should America continue giving blank checks to them (via their oppressors and deliberate provokers) ?