The New York Post, the sensationalistic right-wing daily in New York, is joining the smear campaign against Moustafa Bayoumi, the Brooklyn College professor and the editor of the newly released book titled Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How it Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict.
In an opinion piece for the Post, Ronald Radosh, a neo-conservative adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, argues that the Bayoumi book assigned to all incoming freshmen, How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, is “extremely slanted.” Radosh argues that, while it may be legitimate to assign Bayoumi’s book, what’s also needed is “a contrasting opinion, one challenging the view that Americans and New Yorkers in particular are completely Islamaphobic.”
Reading the whole column, it’s clear that underneath all the concern for Brooklyn College students being “indoctrinated” is an aversion that Radosh feels to any airing of criticism against Israel, especially if it comes from an Arab or Palestinian point of view.
Radosh mentions Bayoumi’s associations with Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi, without explaining why that is relevant to what he terms the “scandal” at the college. The mentions of Said and Khalidi are really a wink and nudge to hard-line supporters of Israel who don’t want to hear Khalidi’s and Said’s perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He also goes after Bayoumi for editing Midnight on the Mavi Marmara, which is about the Israeli attack on the flotilla last May. Radosh labels the book as a”pro-Islamist” work that includes “selections from such noted foes of Israel as Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Max Blumenthal, Philip Weiss and scores of Arab authors.” Radosh is too polite to really say what he’s thinking, but he apparently thinks there’s a problem with “scores of Arab authors” criticizing the Israeli raid that killed 9 people in international waters.
The reason why it matters that the Post is joining in on the campaign is that the flexing of their Zionist and Islamophobic muscles has power. The Murdoch-owned newspaper has played a central role in ginning up anti-Muslim hysteria over the community center near Ground Zero. And it was the Post which brought down Debbie Almontaser, the founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy.
Watch for the campaign against Bayoumi to heat up in the coming weeks.