- The Israeli lobby has launched an all-out drive to ensure
congressional passage of a bill (approved by the House and now before a
Senate committee) that would set up a virtual federal tribunal to investigate
and monitor criticism of Israel on American college campuses.
- Ten months ago the New York-based Jewish Week newspaper
claimed that the report by American Free Press that Republican members
of the Senate were planning to crack down on college and university professors
who were critical of Israel was "a dangerous urban legend at best,
deliberate disinformation at worst." In short, they were saying AFP
- Now the truth has come out. On September 17, 2003 the
House Subcommittee on Select Education unanimously approved H.R. 3077,
the International Studies in Higher Education Act, which was then passed
by the full House of Representatives on October 21. The chief sponsor of
the legislation was Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a conservative Republican from
- This bill is dangerous - a direct affront to the First
Amendment and the product of intrigue by a small clique of individuals
and organizations which combines the "elite" forces of the powerful
Israeli lobby in official Washington.
- There are absolutely no grass-roots organizations supporting
this measure whatsoever. Instead, leading the push for Senate approval
of the House-originated bill, are the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai
B'rith, the American Jewish Congress, and the American Jewish Committee.
- Also lending its support is Empower America, the neo-conservative
front group established by longtime pro-Israel publicist William Kristol,
editor and publisher of billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard which
is said to be the "intellectual" journal that governs the train
of foreign policy thinking in the Bush administration.
- One other group has lent its support: the U.S. India
Political Action Committee, an Indian-American group that has been working
closely with the Israeli lobby now that Israel and India are geopolitically
- H.R. 3077 is innocuously worded and quite bureaucratic
in its tone, decipherable only to those with the capacity to wade through
legislative linguistics , but essentially it would set up a seven-member
advisory board that would have the power to recommend cutting federal funding
for colleges and universities that are viewed as harboring academic critics
- Two members of the board would be appointed by the Senate,
two by the House, and three by the Secretary of Education, two of whom
are required to be from U.S. federal security agencies. The various appointees
would be selected from what the Christian Science Monitor described on
March 11 as "politicians, representatives of cultural and educational
organizations, and private citizens." In other words, it would be
another federal "blue ribbon" panel akin to the Warren Commission
that ostensibly investigated the JFK assassination and the now highly-suspect
federal commission looking into the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
- Gilbert Merkx, vice provost for international affairs
and development and director of the Centre for International Studies at
Duke University has echoed the fears of many when he charged that this
so-called advisory board "could easily be hijacked by those who have
a political axe to grind and become a vehicle for an inquisition."
- In fact, the primary individuals promoting this effort
to control intellectual debate on the college campuses are known for having
a political axe to grind: they are all prominent and outspoken supporters
of Israel and harsh critics of the Arab and Muslim worlds. They are:
- * Martin Kramer, a professor of Arab studies at The Moshe
Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel;
- * Stanley Kurtz, a contributor of ex-CIA man William
F. Buckley Jr.'s bitterly anti-Arab National Review Online and a research
fellow at the staunchly pro-Israel Hoover Institution; and
- * Daniel Pipes, founder of the pro-Israel Middle East
Institute and its affiliate, Campus Watch, an ADL-style organization that
keeps tabs on college professors and students who are-or are suspected
of being-critics of Israel.
- Hiding behind the banner of defending America, these
three-along with the Israeli lobby affiliates promoting H.R. 3077-are claiming
that they are fighting "anti-Americanism" as it is being taught
on the college campuses.
- Republicans in Congress have joined this chorus, preferring
to allow their constituents to think that this is an "America First"
measure when it is anything but that.
- Juan Cole of the History News Network responds to this
extraordinary twist on reality saying that the claim of "anti-Americanism"
is intellectually dishonest. "What they mean . . . if you pin them
down is ambivalence about the Iraq war, or dislike of Israeli colonization
of the West Bank, or recognition that the U.S. government has sometimes
in the past been in bed with present enemies like al-Qaeda or Saddam. None
of these positions is 'anti-American,' and any attempt by a congressionally-appointed
body to tell university professors they cannot say these things-or that
if they say them they must hire someone else who will say the opposition-is
a contravention of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."
- The promoters are also suggesting that this legislation
would-in the words of the American Jewish Committee-"enhance intellectual
freedom on campus by enabling diverse viewpoints to be heard," when,
of course, the legislation would do precisely the opposite.
- Lisa Anderson of the Columbia University School of International
and Public Affairs says in response that "this plan . . . is not about
diversity, or even about the truth." Unfortunately, she doesn't choose
to tackle the Israeli lobby head on.
- Instead, she targets her ire at the Republican conservatives
who are acting as the Israeli lobby's surrogates and says that this plan
is "about the conviction of conservative political activists that
the American university community is unsufficiently patriotic, or perhaps
simply unsufficiently conservative." What she should be saying is
that these Republicans who are carrying water for Israel are concerned
that universities are "unsufficiently pro-Israel."
- The Republican House members who originally joined Hoekstra
in co-sponsoring this dangerous legislation should be named for the record.
- * John A. Boehner (Ohio)
- * John R. Carter (Texas)
- * Tom Cole (Oklahoma)
- * James Greenwood (Penn.)
- * Howard (Buck) McKeon (Calif.)
- * Patrick J. Tiberi (Ohio)
- * Joe Wilson (South Carolina)
- However, don't try to find out how your representative
voted when the bill came before the full House. Hoekstra asked for a suspension
of the House rules-which was approved-and made it possible for this controversial
measure to be passed with an un-recorded "voice vote" wherein
there is no record of how individual House members voted, or if they even
voted at all.
- In fact, the measure passed by the House is precisely
the very same type of proposed "ideological diversity" legislation
that AFP first warned about, although, at the time, the measure was being
kicked around for possible introduction in the Senate by two prominent
Republicans, Rick Santorum (Penn.) and Sam Brownback (Kan.).
- What happened was that AFP's initial report on the legislation
gained so much widespread circulation in e-mails being sent out nationwide
among American college and university professors and on the Internet, even
so far as the Arab world, that the resulting negative publicity forced
Santorum and Brownback to back off.
- However, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) picked up their
torch and introduced H.R. 3077 in the House, containing precisely the language
that his Senate colleagues had intended to introduce until AFP blew the
- To their credit, virtually every major American education
organization-including even the teacher's union, the National Education
Association-have raised their concerns about this campaign to muzzle the
free speech of teachers, professors and instructors. And the American Civil
Liberties Union has also protested this measure.
- Critics say this is a new form of what has been known
in the past as "McCarthyism" and no matter what you may think
about the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy whose name rightly or wrongly inspired
that terminology, the truth is that this legislation is "McCarthyism"
by virtue of the popular definition.
- The only chance to destroy this legislation and stop
it dead in tracks is for enough gras-roots citizens to rise up and demand
that H.R. 3077 be put to rest. And believe it or not, the onesenator who
may be able to stop it is Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy of Massachusetts. (See
- Contact Senate Members.
- Urge that H.R. 3077 be shelved.
- The Israeli lobby's pet project, H.R. 3077, innocuously
named as The International Studies in Higher Education Act of 2003-and
popularly known as "Title 6"-is now before the Senate's Committee
on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
- This committee is controlled by the Republican majority
who are likely to support the bill, but the ranking minority member is
powerful Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) who has been-perhaps to the surprise
of many, including even AFP readers-an outspoken critic of Daniel Pipes,
one of the leading proponents of H.R. 3077.
- Although it is not well known, Kennedy's second wife
is an Arab-American and he has become quite attuned to Arab-bashing of
the type that Pipes engages in. As such-despite what one may think of Kennedy's
views on other issues-he is seen as a possible roadblock in the way of
final approval by the Senate committee of H.R. 3077.
- For this reason, AFP recommends that those who want to
work for the defeat of this Israeli measure contact the offices of the
following senators-all of whom are Democrats with the exception of independent
James Jeffords of Vermont-and urge them to oppose H.R. 3077.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Be very precise in your language. Simply
tell the senators to oppose H.R. 3077-that it is an infringement upon the
First Amendment and a threat to academic freedom in America. Do not lecture
the senators about the power of the Israeli lobby or give them the "facts"
that have been reported in AFP. Rest assured that the senators are well
versed in the realities of the situation. Simply give them the opportunity
to say publicly that they have received a flood of calls, letters and e-mails
urging them to oppose H.R. 3077. The list of senators is as follows:
- Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.)
- TEL (202) 224-4543
- FAX (202) 224-2417
- Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.)
- TEL (202) 224-2823
- FAX (202) 224-1083
- Tom Harkin (Iowa)
- TEL (202) 224-3254
- FAX (202) 224-9369
- Jeff Bingaman (New Mexico)
- TEL (202) 224-5521
- FAX (202) 224-2852
- Patty Murray (Washington)
- TEL (202) 224-2621
- FAX (202) 224-0238
- John F. Reed (Rhode Island)
- TEL 202) 224-4642
- FAX (202) 224-4680
- James M. Jeffords (Vermont)
- TEL (202) 224-5141
- FAX (202) 228-0776