Biased Middle East studies professors are nothing new, but what about a professor who actually states in his course syllabus that he has no intention of presenting a scholarly, balanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict? This is how Vassar College history professor Joshua Schreier introduces the syllabus for his fall 2008 course, "The Roots of the Palestine-Israel Conflict":

Students should keep in mind that this course is NOT designed to present "an objective" account of a "two-sided" conflict. The fact that there are supposedly two sides does not obligate us to portray each as equally right and/or equally wrong. The goal, rather, is to understand why the conflict arose, and what sorts of power inequalities have made it continue.

Schreier then goes on to lay blame at the feet of—you guessed it—Western imperialism, before making clear that he believes Jews (and, presumably, other non-Muslims?) do not belong in the Middle East:

…Why and how did economic globalization, technological development, and European imperialism foster the creation of two different national identities in Palestine? Why and how and when did these two identities develop in such a way as to preclude members of certain religious or ethnic groups from belonging? Why does Palestine, an area of the Ottoman Empire where the vast majority of people were Arabic-speaking Muslims only 70 years ago, currently host a "Jewish" state whose leadership claims to represent, first and foremost, only one of the ethnic/national communities living there?

Schreier is fond of using terms such as "Jewish ethnocracy" and "ethnic cleansing" in his discussion topics. The fact that Israeli society is multi-ethnic and multi-religious, while neighboring Islamic states do not allow freedom of religion and often discriminate against minorities, including Palestinians, seems to be lost on Schreier.

In keeping with Schreier's stated goal of presenting only one perspective, his required texts are authored by some of the most anti-Israel professors in the field. They include Columbia University's Rashid Khalidi, UCLA's James Gelvin, UC Berkeley's Beshara Doumani, and Nur Masalha of Saint Mary's College (UK). None have demonstrated a modicum of objectivity in their teachings, which makes them perfect vehicles for Schreier's propagandistic methodology.

That a "history" professor would so blatantly broadcast his biases indicates that Middle East studies, as Professor Barry Rubin described it, has truly hit rock bottom.


© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Recent Articles by
receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free gatestone institute mailing list.


Comment on this item

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Gatestone Institute greatly appreciates your comments. The editors reserve the right, however, not to publish comments containing: incitement to violence, profanity, or any broad-brush slurring of any race, ethnic group or religion. Gatestone also reserves the right to edit comments for length, clarity and grammar. All thoughtful suggestions and analyses will be gratefully considered. Commenters' email addresses will not be displayed publicly. Gatestone regrets that, because of the increasingly great volume of traffic, we are not able to publish them all.