Unsurprisingly, the Middle East Forum (MEF) has been the recipient of Fake News lies all based on the Multiculturalist accusation of Islamophobia. Evidently the lies have become so huge that the MEF has decided to answer those lies with a Top Ten List.
Below is an email alert introduction to that Top Ten List which I will follow with cross post of that list.
Falsehoods and Facts about the Middle East Forum: A Top Ten List
By Greg Roman
Sent 8/9/2017 3:22 PM
Sent by Middle East Forum
As the Middle East Forum’s reach and influence expands, so too does the flurry of ad hominem, distorted, and plainly false attacks on the organization, mostly from Islamists and the far Left.
Institutions leading this assault include the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), J Street, Jewish Voices for Peace, and most recently the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. George Soros’ Open Society Foundations has a special place in our hearts for funding anti-MEF research.
Our opponents attack us for different reasons. Islamist activists loathe our national security views, advancement of women’s rights, and efforts to protect freedoms of moderate Muslim authors, activists, and publishers. Israel-haters oppose our efforts to puncture Palestinian illusions. Academics want to discredit our efforts to improve Middle East studies in North America. America-haters can pretty much take their pick of reasons.
Regardless of their motives, they all draw on the same tired canards that we so often refuted on an ad hoc basis. To save the curious some legwork, we are publishing a list of the top ten falsehoods, refuting them all at once, and maybe once and for all. Please take a look.
Director Middle East Forum
Falsehoods and Facts about the Middle East Forum: A Top Ten List
August 9, 2017
The Middle East Forum (MEF) is the object of repeated falsehoods. To clear the record, here follows the top ten and our corrections.
Falsehood 1: The Middle East Forum is anti-Muslim, or “Islamophobic.”
Center for American Progress: “The Middle East Forum is at the center of the Islamophobia network.”
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): Daniel Pipes is “considered by many Muslims to be America’s leading Islamophobe.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center: Daniel Pipes is “at the center of what is a large and evolving network of Islam-bashing activists.”
Fact 1: Far from being biased against Muslims, MEF challenges a radical ideology responsible for unfathomable Muslim suffering, and one which most Muslims reject. Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes has been emphasizing the distinction between Islamism and the Islamic religion – and between the “completely justified fear of Islamists and unjustified fear of all Muslims” – for decades.
The only people who maintain there is little or no distinction between detesting Islamism and detesting Muslims are Islamists themselves and fellow travelers of the sort quoted above. The “Islamophobia” accusations they level at MEF and others are designed to conflate Islamism and Islam, claiming an attack on one is an attack on the other.
This conflation also attempts to delegitimize non-Islamist Muslims working to free their faith from the grip of extremists, and it is no coincidence that Muslim reformers are often viciously attacked. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-left organization known for its often inaccurate claims, lists Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation alongside Mr. Pipes as an “anti-Muslim extremist.”
A lot of money finances these allegations. The Center for American Progress, for example, received a $200,000 grant from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) to “research and track the activities” of the Middle East Forum and other NGOs working to combat the spread of radical Islam in America. The Brookings Institution’s recent focus on so-called “Islamophobia” in America likely has much to do with its decade-long partnership with Qatar, which provided it with a $14.8 million 4-year grant in 2013.
The latest organization to level the “Islamophobia” accusation at MEF is the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), which lashed out after we revealed publicly that it had provided $330,524 to two extremist organizations, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief. It turns out SVCF is getting paid too. According to its 990 form, the extremist International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) provided SVCF with $500,000 in “program assistance” in 2015.
Falsehood 2: Daniel Pipes regards Muslim organizations as subversive.
Jewish Voice for Peace: “Pipes views almost every possible Muslim activity as subversive and threatening.”
Center for American Progress: “The alarmist rhetoric of Daniel Pipes … brand[s] Muslims, Sharia, and even the instruction of Arabic as affronts to American freedom.
Fact 2: In keeping with Mr. Pipes’ oft-repeated belief that “radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution,” MEF’s Islamist Watch project was established with a mission to “expose the Islamist organizations that currently dominate the debate, while identifying and promoting the work of moderate Muslims.”
MEF has a long history of supporting, employing, and collaborating with Muslims working to free their community and faith from the grip of Islamists.
See a list here of Muslim organizations the Forum regards as vital allies in this fight, some of whom it helps fund.
Falsehood 3: Pipes supports interning Muslims, akin to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Jewish Voice for Peace: “The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that ‘Pipes endorsed the internment of Muslims in America,’ referencing WWII Japanese American concentration camps as a model to be used against Muslims today.”
Silicon Valley Community Foundation: “Daniel Pipes, president of Middle East Forum, has written in support of the model of Japanese internment camps in relation to American Muslims.”
Fact 3: This canard is a paradigmatic example of how charges initially levelled by one radical organization metastasize through repetition by others. The SPLC report misquoted at right by Jewish Voice for Peace actually states, “In 2004, Pipes endorsed the internment of ethnic Japanese in American prison camps in World War II and held that up as a model for dealing with Muslims today.”
But even this isn’t true. In 2005 an Islamist organization in Canada had to apologize and make a charitable donation to the Middle East Forum for making this claim.
The original article did not argue for internment camps as a model (a follow-up explaining how CAIR and others distorted Pipes’ position can be read here), but rather concluded with support for author Michelle Malkin’s thesis about threat profiling: “She correctly concludes that, especially in time of war, governments should take into account nationality, ethnicity, and religious affiliation in their homeland security policies.”
Falsehood 4: MEF is wrong to label CAIR as “terrorism-linked.”
Clockwise from top left: Randall (“Ismail”) Royer, Ghassan Elashi, Bassem Khafagi, Rabih Haddad, Nabil Sadoun, and Muthanna Al-Hanooti
Fact 4: Here are many reasons why MEF can reasonably describe CAIR as “terrorism-linked.”
- CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial.
- During that trial, U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis concluded that, “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR…with Hamas.”
- In 2014, the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim ally of the United States, designated CAIR a terrorist organization.
- Six CAIR leaders have been arrested, convicted, or deported for terrorism-related crimes: Randall (“Ismail”) Royer, Ghassan Elashi, Bassem Khafagi, Rabih Haddad, Nabil Sadoun, and Muthanna Al-Hanooti.
- CAIR itself implicitly acknowledged the truth when it settled a 2004 libel lawsuit against a group making this allegation called Anti-CAIR, with no apology, retraction, or removal of offending Internet materials.
Falsehood 5: CAIR, Islamic Relief, and other Muslim groups criticized by MEF are respectable civil rights organizations.
Jewish Voice for Peace: “Contrary to the Middle East Forum’s smear campaign, CAIR is a nationally-recognized civil rights organization that has received praise from seventeen U.S. Senators and 85 U.S. Representatives from both sides of the political aisle.”
Fact 5: CAIR and Islamic Relief are focused on promoting social insularity and distrust of authorities among U.S. Muslims, not defending their civil rights. In fact, both groups frequently host and promote extremist speakers who advocate against civil rights as most Americans understand them.
Siraj Wahhaj, for example, preaches that homosexuality is a “disease” of society, that the punishment for adultery is death, and that Muslims shouldn’t have non-Muslim friends. Omar Suleiman has rationalized honor killings, telling women thinking of promiscuity that they could be killed by their fathers for “offending Allah.” Jamal Badawi has said that men have a right to beat their wives. Abdul Nasir Jangda has argued that they have the right to rape their wives.
Falsehood 6: CAIR and Islamic Relief have clean bills of health on links to terrorism from the federal government and from charity watchdogs.
Silicon Valley Community Foundation: “The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief … are nonprofit organizations in good standing with federal agencies, and do not appear on any U.S. government list as having been tied to terrorism.”
Silicon Valley Community Foundation: “GuideStar reports … whether a nonprofit organization is identified as a ‘Specially Designated National’ on the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s list. In simpler terms, this is the list of U.S. organizations designated as having links to terrorist organizations. Neither CAIR nor Islamic Relief is on this list.”
Fact 7: MEF is a research institution that promotes American interests. Islamist Watch presents factual research on the influence and activity of non-violent U.S.-based Islamist groups and their leaders. Some oppose Israel, to be sure, but most are more focused on targeting women, homosexuals, and others.
Campus Watch researches, analyzes, and critiques the academic study of the Middle East. It argues against “analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students,” but it accepts divergent perspectives. Campus Watch recently published a favorable review of a lecture at the City University of New York (CUNY) by Sari Nusseibeh, a former senior PLO representative under Yasser Arafat whose views hardly qualify as pro-Israeli. A cursory examination of the project’s research articles demonstrates that the characterization of Campus Watch as Israel-centered is false. As for the “dossiers,” CW took down those initial eight profiles 15 years ago in favor of an institution-focused survey method.
Falsehood 8: Daniel Pipes and the Middle East Forum have funded the political campaigns of Dutch right-wing leader Geert Wilders.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes are reported to have put some $150,000 of foundation money into his campaign.”
Fact 8: Not a penny from Daniel Pipes or the Middle East Forum has gone to Wilders personally, his political party, or his campaign.
MEF did provide a grant to pay legal bills in Mr. Wilders’ trial over his film on radical Islam.
As the New York Times notes: “the funds that were sent to Geert Wilders were to help him in his legal cases and were not political donations.”
Falsehood 9: Campus Watch seeks to stifle academic freedom.
CAIR: Campus Watch [is] part of a larger anti-intellectual campaign aimed at regulating discourse on the Middle East.
Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, The Nation: Campus Watch is “neo-McCarthyite” and part of the “New McCarthyism” that seeks to silence anyone with whom it disagrees.
Fact 9: Campus Watch critiques contemporary Middle East studies, which years ago jettisoned rigorous scholarship and teaching for politicized, biased, and inferior work. There is nothing wrong with scrutinizing and criticizing academic research.
No cliché is more hackneyed, no charge intellectually lazier than that CW engages in “McCarthyism” (see right). Unlike the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, Campus Watch—a private organization—neither possesses nor seeks the ability to silence or persecute anyone.
Only in the fevered imaginations of some professors do rigorous critiques by outsiders equate with an anti-Communist witch-hunt.
Falsehood 10: Daniel Pipes has lost the support of his former academic colleagues
Al Jazeera [interviewing a spokesman from the Center for American Progress]: Pipes has a “scholarly background, but … he has lost the support of many of the people he used to work with, and associate with, when he was a well-respected scholar.”
Fact 10: Mr. Pipes never stopped being a “well-respected scholar” When President George W. Bush nominated him to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace in 2003, 30 academics signed a letter in support of the appointment. For a more recent example, Professor Edward Alexander of the University of Washington lavished praise in 2016 on Pipes’ Nothing Abides.
That said, it is true that a radicalized academia condemns Pipes and the Forum for their mainstream outlook – and especially for their role in exposing the failure of Middle East studies.
©1994-2017 The Middle East Forum
MEF About Page
With roots going back to 1990, the Middle East Forum has been an independent tax-exempt 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia since 1994.
The Middle East Forum promotes American interests in the Middle East and protects Western values from Middle Eastern threats.
The Forum sees the region — with its profusion of dictatorships, radical ideologies, existential conflicts, border disagreements, corruption, political violence, and weapons of mass destruction — as a major source of problems for the United States. Accordingly, we urge bold measures to protect Americans and their allies.
In the Middle East, we focus on ways to defeat radical Islam; work for Palestinian acceptance of Israel; develop strategies to contain Iran; and deal with the great advances of anarchy.
At home, the Forum emphasizes the danger of lawful Islamism; protects the freedoms of anti-Islamist authors, activists, and publishers; and works to improve Middle East studies.
The Middle East Forum realizes its goals through three main mechanisms:
- Intellectual: The Forum provides context, insights, and policy recommendations through the Middle East Quarterly, staff writings, public lectures, radio and television appearances, and conference calls (see below for details).
- Operational: The Forum exerts an active influence through its projects, including Campus Watch, Islamist Watch, Legal Project, Washington Project, Apartheid Monitor, and Shillman/Ginsburg Writing Fellowship Program (see below for details).
- Philanthropic: The Forum annually distributes US$1.5 million in earmarked donations through its Education Fund, helping researchers, writers, investigators, and activists around the world.
MEForum.org (this website) hosts a complete archive of Middle East Quarterly articles; articles by MEF staff; audio recordings and summary accounts of guest lectures and conference calls; and MEF alerts for Forum events, media appearances, and news releases.
Middle East Quarterly, published since 1994 and edited by Efraim Karsh, it is the only scholarly journal on the Middle East consistent with mainstream American views. Delivering timely analyses, cutting-edge information, and sound policy initiatives, it serves as a valuable resource for policymakers and opinion-shapers.
Public Outreach. Television and radio rely on Forum specialists, who appear on virtually all the major American over-the-air and cable news programs, plus stations around the globe. MEF staff also brief ranking officials of the U.S. government, testify before Congress, and conduct studies for executive branch agencies.