Academic Islamaphobia in defence of Israel

iphobe.jpgIt has only happened to a very small degree in Australia, but as part of an apparently coordinated strategy to undermine criticism of Israeli politics, academic ‘conferences’ are being held at places like Yale to prove the generic evil of Islam. This is on top of the frenzy over the Mosque at Ground Zero. The list of supporters and participants of such events is a who’s who of the Jewish and non-Jewish neo-con establishment as well as representatives of the Jewish right in Israel. Other ‘celebrity’ conferences are being organized in the US as a sort of battleground against the perceived infiltration of academic by left loonies.
There is an excellent analysis of the politics behind this by Yaman Salahi, a Palestinian-American student in the Yale Daily News, and another in the Washington Post, in which he says, in part,
“We should not look either exclusively or primarily to Islamic scriptures to understand Palestinians, Palestinian politics, or Palestinian resistance to Israel for the same reason that we do not look to the Torah, the Talmud, and the work of Maimonides in order to explain Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement expansion plans….Relying on stereotypes, selective quotations, and misinformation, it [unfair criticism] seeks to obscure the role of powerful political, economic, and social forces in shaping the identity, beliefs, and politics of Arabs and Muslims around the world. ”
It’s the politics, not religion that is core to the current problem, and the varieties of Islamic identify, whether religous or secular, are as diverse, if not more diverse that what is found amongst adherents to Judaism around the world.
Yet this typecasting of all Muslims is precisely what happens at such conferences, and now in Australia we face the prospect of Alan Dershowitz’s visiting five minutes of wisdom for some self-reinforcement to hardliners in the Jewish community.
Salahi’s opinion is worth careful consideration, as well as his response to criticism by a strong defender of Israel in the Yale community.

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