Pro-Israel campus activists in the US will soon face a tough new front on the battlefield of ideas. A controversial left-wing think tank is now planning a far reaching effort to equate campus activism against jihadism to anti-
The most telling aspect of the help wanted ad is that it did not list any specific required academic credentials.
Semitism and to blame Israel for Jew-hatred. As if life for Zionist student activists in America weren't challenging enough already....
The Boston, Massachusetts, based Political Research Associates (PRA) advertised nationally last month for a "Campus Antisemitism & Islamophobia Project Lead Investigator". The so-called "Investigator" will author a report that will in part be about "opportunities for counteracting campus Islamophobia...."
Perhaps the most telling aspect of the help wanted ad is that it did not list any specific required academic credentials - just a vague and open-ended line stating, "Advanced degree or substantial experience in relevant field."
It is clear from the outset that the conclusions of the study are already decided; that is to say, the conclusions the "Investigator" is to draw from their research has been preordained and is a position paper. The first line of the job post asks: "What's fueling Islamophobia and antisemitism on U.S. college campuses?" For the PRA, it is understood as axiomatic that "Islamophobia" exists on campus and that if anti-Semitism exists, then it is necessarily due to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The post-modern world would have it no other way.
Further proof of the PRA's effort to create a case for causal relationship between Israel and anti-Semitism on campus - and for that matter underpinning the fact that the PRA is incapable of an honest attempt at unbiased research - is found within the text of their nearly 600-word ad: "The Lead Investigator will conduct research into the interrelated phenomena of Islamophobia and antisemitism on U.S. college and university campuses and produce a report of her or his findings for publication." The PRA makes the unsubstantiated statement that in "the present period it is difficult to extricate the issues of antisemitism and Islamophobia from one another; they are part of an inter-related dynamic...."
What if the researcher finds there is no "inter-related dynamic"? The PRA's objectivity is out the window. The PRA is not adhering to accepted research methods because research is not the game here. The "Investigator" will have as a duty "public speaking and media interviews" and will also have to "travel". This "Investigator" will be utilized as a major asset over the next few years by anti-Israel activists on campuses across the nation. The PRA's operative will be touted as an expert because of this report and be a star player in the large-scale, coordinated propaganda campaign that is now being prepared.
This effort by PRA is tragic in part because there is a vital need for legitimate research into anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on US campuses by unbiased, professional researchers. Pro-jihad students on US campuses are becoming increasingly more prone to violence against Jews.
Of additional concern is PRA's linkage of US foreign policy to Israel. One portion of the ad speaks of "the issues of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, of United States policy in relation to that conflict, and of U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast and surrounding regions." Thus, PRA seems to spread the leftist myth that every US move in the Middle East, including the war in Iraq, is something that is related to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
PRA's experts know their business. Their ad explains: "demonization and scapegoating often render productive discussion and debate impossible. Students are quickly polarized, and there is little room for genuine questions to be answered, or different solutions weighed for merit." Their plan is simple. PRA will demonize and scapegoat Israel and Israel's defenders in the US with this report, and it will help make campus-based critics of Israel more "productive" in fomenting anti-Israel and anti-American extremism. The jihadist point of view will be portrayed by the PRA in a positive light and Zionism will be painted as illegitimate, politically incorrect and worse.
It should come as no surprise that the PRA has found its demons and its scapegoats even before their research has begun. The PRA labels itself as "progressive" and says it was formed in "1981 in response to the emergence of the New Right." Its demons are always on the Right.
From a survey of PRA's website there can be little doubt that such effective defenders of Israel and America as David Horowitz, Michael Medved and Daniel Pipes, as well as the organizations with whom they are connected, will be among the targets of PRA. They will be targeted because of their outspoken opposition to jihadist activity in the US, particularly at colleges and universities. Horowitz, Medved and Pipes are all the subject of multiple articles on the PRA website already. Christian Evangelicals - a favorite target of PRA's since its inception - will no doubt also be charged with Islamophobia.
A source of information to bash Israel with for years to come.
The slogan on PRA's website proclaims: "Researching the Right for Progressive Changemakers." Radicals have used PRA for over 25 years as a source of information and direction. That is what makes this new PRA initiative so dangerous to Israel's cause and to the fight against anti-Semitism on campus.
The PRA report will be used as a source of information to bash Israel with for years to come. Also it will be used to attack attempts to expose the very real flesh and blood threat that Islamic extremist violence and terrorism pose to American cities and towns. One may have thought that opposition to jihadism could be something on which the Progressives could find common cause with the Right. After all, Progressives have not exactly faired well in Islamic countries where jihadists have come to power.