Scholarly Mistakes

Should ISIS take sides?


Scholarly Mistakes
by Fariba Amini

On May 27, 2010, the International Society of Iranian Studies (ISIS) will hold its three-day biennial conference in Los Angeles, California. It is jam-packed with interesting panels. Scholars of Iran from around the world will be attending. But this time around there is a controversy brewing. It involves the attendance of a scholar from an Israeli university in the occupied territories. In the past, many scholars from different Israeli universities have attended and given papers at the conference. There has never been an objection. But this time, the matter is different.

Dr. M. Tavakoli Targhi, the current President of ISIS, has made a public statement in this regard in defense of this decision. The fact is that the person who may be attending the conference is from Ariel University of Samaria built in the West Bank, on a land illegally seized by the Israeli government. Its website states that : “As a demonstratively Zionist institution, the University Center has two key requirements: every student must study one course per semester on some aspect of Judaism, Jewish heritage or Land of Israel studies, and the Israeli flag must be displayed in every classroom, laboratory and auditorium on campus.”

There have been numerous petitions to the effect that ISIS should disinvite the scholar. Dozens of scholars from various universities, such as Noam Chomsky, Ervand Abrahamian, Mahmood Mamdani, Mohsen Kadivar, Nayereh Tohidi, and Stan Cohen have signed the petition. The ISIS is an independent entity and one may argue that preventing a scholar from attending the meeting is against any norm. However, the others argue that the person should not attend the panel based upon the location of the said University. Many governments and professors have criticized and boycotted this particular institution.

The institution’s history and its critics

According to a report in the Christian Science Monitor, “the Ariel College, or AUC, was established with a few hundred students in the mid-1990s, and today draws the vast majority of its students from inside Israel proper. Its leadership has ties to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. The decision would make it the ninth university in Israel.”A harsh critic of the Israeli expansion and himself a British/Israeli professor, Haim Bereshit, slams Ehud Barak, suggesting that he “occupies additional territories and declares universities there as well.” “The most serious thing, which should not be seen as insignificant, is the fact that there is an educational institution in occupied territories," he said. "We in the British professors' organization have not waited and have worked even before this happened to include the Ariel College in the 'gray list', which does not allow academic institutions to have any ties with this institution. This is in fact a boycott process, although it is not defined as such due to the complexity of this matter." In 2009, The Spanish Housing Ministry disqualified Ariel University Center of Samaria from competing in the finals of an international competition declaring that "the decision was made by the Spanish government based on the fact that the university is located in occupied territory in the West Bank. The Spanish government is committed to uphold the international agreement under the framework of the European Union and the United Nations regarding this geographical area." Hussam Khader, a Palestinian legislator, said, "This means they consider Ariel and the West Bank as part of Israel.” He said that this proves that Israel has no intention of accepting the two State solution. Assaf Meydani, a lecturer at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s school of government reiterated that this is a political statement which in essence means “we are here and we are going to stay here.” “It is as if confirming that “we are not afraid to say that we have a university in Judea and Samaria.” (The Biblical term for the West Bank)

Israel’s actions

There is no question that the Israeli government has in the past defied all UN resolutions, has gone ahead with its policy of settlements and has confiscated the land without any repercussions or mercy to the Palestinians. Many peace activists inside Israel are against the policies of their own government. The world can object but it does not matter. Israel does as it pleases. In fact, even when Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel recently, he was greeted with an announcement that more settlements were going to be built in East Jerusalem, a slap to Obama administration’s demand for a halt. Ariel College (now University) was built on Palestinian land in the West Bank. It is on occupied land, but the various governments in Israel and especially the government of Benjamin Netanyahu are not concerned about the fate of the Palestinians. This is true as well for the new mayor of Jerusalem who, according to a report in the NY Times, is trying to build a super park in a residential area of Jerusalem inhabited by its Arab residents, called Al- Boustan. The residents have already objected to this move. The Israeli-Palestinian crisis is an ongoing issue, one which no US administration so far has been able to find a solution or a resolution. In part, it is because Israel does not respect any international laws and acts according to its own volition. This was clearly demonstrated in the recent murder of a Hamas leader in Dubai.

What should ISIS do?

Now ISIS is faced with the most difficult decision. Should ISIS let this scholar attend on behalf of Ariel University or should it ask him to come as an independent scholar? Or should he not be allowed to attend at all? In many instances, scholars who have been critical of the policies of Israel have been harassed, labeled as anti-Semites and driven from their institutions. What should the ISIS do in this regard? Should it take sides? Should ISIS stand by its original decision or should it make this a matter of principle and make a political statement?


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more from Fariba Amini
Peter Pan

"Jerusalem is really Jewish Land"

by Peter Pan on

Since when is it OK to assign an ethnicity to a geographic location? Using Muslims' approach as a yardstick seems like a step backward in stead of forward.


Jerusalem is really Jewish Land

by Monarchy_Forever on

The entire basis for muslims to claim Jerusalem is because one night Mohammed dreamt that on a magic carpet he went to Jerusalem and led the prayers over there.

 that's it-  as far as why Jerusalem is "Islamically" important


That is like saying, Bahaullah had a dream, he flew over to Mecca and led the prayers in Kaaba.  So from now on, Mecca belongs to Bahais.

But ofcourse, you can't rationalize with Muslims.  If you mention this example they will be quick to remind you that MOhammad was "THE SEAL of the PROPHETS" and a true prophet from GOD.  They seem to forget that neither the Jews nor Christian accept MOhammed nor the Quran. 


yek mosh adam bi kar wa kos khol

by Monarchy_Forever on

wa kos khol.

this whole controversy is over one hardly known scholar from some unknown university built on some 'far away' i don't give a hoot about land?

Get real and get over it

You know the real reason some Iranians care about Palestinian -Israeli issue?

The real reason is that Iranians in exile are so disunited, they have a hate/competition relation between themselves.  They don't call one another and don't get together and bad mouth one another.  Their friends are mostly Arabs and Westerners of socialist leanings.  So this whole attachment to Palestinian issues is simply because they are beholden to their Arab friends.

Reedam bar rohe Yasser Arafat wa Ariel Sharon.


Fariba Amini


by Fariba Amini on

This is not me, this is a British/Israeli scholar:

 LONDON – Israeli-British Professor Haim Bereshit, one of the initiators of the British academic boycott against Israel more than two years ago, had slammed Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision to recognize the Ariel College as a university.

"There are thousands of professors living in Israel, many of them known worldwide. If they eat this vermin, we will continue to act against the Israeli academia as an agent of the occupation," he told Ynet on Friday.

Scathing Reviews Left warns of global boycott over Ariel U. / Ynet reporters Leftist members of Knesset and Arab parties protest defense minister's decision first published in Ynet to recognize Ariel College as university. Meretz chairman: Hard to find differences between Barak and Netanyahu. Initiative also advocates establishing university in Nazareth Full story

"We are deluding ourselves that Israel is a normal country, because in a normal country the defense minister does not deal with university permits, and particularly not in an illegal university in occupied territories," Bereshit argued.



by ConnieBobroff on

This petition is very handy in diverting attention from the recent holocaust we have had in Persian Studies right here in the US. Good going, guys!

hamsade ghadimi

ms. amini, i respect your

by hamsade ghadimi on

ms. amini, i respect your humanitarian spirit and i wish there were palestinians out there who cared about iranians as much as you care about them.  and i wish they were as vocal as you are.  the seemingly arab commenters on this site only like to bang on the drum of khamenei's regime. 

is this the only university in the world that is practicing discrimination and should be disallowed in academic discourse with other institutions?  or your criterion is not about discrimination and about the location of the university?  because it would be odd for organizations to single out a university (as opposed to certain practices by a university) that would bar it from participating in their events.


Let's take deep breath and re-examine the question

by aynak on

There are two flows in this thread:   1-Started by Ms.Amini, discussing  a conference and asking people a specific question: Should representative of an illegally built university, with segregationist  policies  be a-allowed to attend this conference as representative of that college? b-not allowed to attend as representative of college, but allowed as independent contributor. c-not allowed to attend in any capacity.   2-Threads that talks about IRI/US/MKO/Arafat/MKO etc etc, but basically try to derail the thread and divert attention from the original thread.  These fall into hijacking a thread, and spamming.   I think any post, should address the original question posed by Ms.Amini, in either a) b) or c)  (like I favor option a because .... or b because) and avoid the usual accusations, --distractions-- from the subject matter.   =============================== As a note to JJ or moderators,   I think in a democratic medium, which this tries to be one, poster should be limited to a number of posts per day.   If someone is responding to every post with 500 links (pre-made one) , other than the diversion, they reduce the effort of those who put effort in articulating a perspective but are shouted over by professional spammers.      This effectively turns into a method for the spammer to silence any view contrary to his, a quick look at various posts here should make the issue obvious. 

Darius Kadivar

Also ... Pendant Ce Temps en Iran ...

by Darius Kadivar on

Chee Begham Deegheh ...

Iranian are Arabs, Arian is a myth created by Zionist

If this is not Nihilism and Self Denial imposed on us Iranians by our own Regime I wonder what is ? ...

Darius Kadivar

The Day Mohsen Kadivar, Hamid Dabashi demand restoring our flag

by Darius Kadivar on

that is the Shiro Khorsheed Flag to replace the Arab Sickle they are loyal too. I may then and Only then sign their Petition ...

Until Then Personellement Je N'ai Rien à ...

But They are welcome to come and play Golf ... I mean Persian Golf :

Happy Nowrooz Nevertheless !


PS: I know your intentions are good Fariba Jaan I'm Less sure about those who signed the petition ! 



re;Pan-Ommah lobster flag

by MRX1 on

Actualy it is chesapeake bay crab not a maine lobster. Apparently imam omat janeshin imam zaman prefered taste of Crab over the Lobster, which is why you see that symbol on the IRR flag.

Fariba Amini

You are wrong, Mr (Ms.) Bibi

by Fariba Amini on

Mr. Bibi Gol,

Either you don't read what I write or you simply try to ignore it.  I never said he should not be allowed to come.  And what does a person from an institution built on an illegally seized land has to do with stopping others (past colonizers or present ones) from attending the conference? !!  And where are the Dutch colonizing today? Maybe you can inform us, cause I am clueless.

I have no problem with the people of Israel, in fact, this internet journalist as you called me has written several articles on the people of Israel, please go read them.   Several attendees at this very conference are my friends who are Israelis (two are of Iranian descent).  

You are mixing the issues. The issue is this particular institution. That is all.  The scholar in question is welcome to come (of course the final decision is up to ISIS) if his affiliation is not mentioned. In fact, it would be interesting to hear what he has to say, having written on  Hojattieh. 

The world stopped the South African apartheid regime from its  racist policies against the blacks.  Israel must stop using force, segregation of an entire population, demonizing them, and overtly defying all international laws. Even, today, their biggest backer, the US is outraged by the recent settlements.  Do you believe Israel can go on forever doing what it does?

You are also incorrect on who has signed the petition.  if you look at the signatures, half are of Jewish background.

Mr. Kadivar is also wrong.  To support the Palestinian people does not mean that one supports the actions of their leaders or their orgs. All we are saying is that this institution and all settlements have been built by way of coercion. intimidation, forcing people out from their homes, their land, and replacing them with "their own people". If this is not apartheid then I don't know what is.  Personally, I think it is outrageous. The map of Israel is getting bigger and bigger while there is harldy a place called Palestine.

Let me put it this way, do you agree with a policy of creating more refugees in camps with no future on the horizon for the inhabitants, do you agree with using cluster bombs to say we have might, we can maim and kill and the world can do nothing,  do you agree with  never coming to terms with an agreement for a two state solution?

BTW, any relations to BIBI? you know Benjamin N. is also called Bibi !







re;Pan-Ommah lobster flag

by SamSamIIII on


:), well it is the flag of choice for Qadesii cyber pimps. ain't it?

Once you go Qadess  you become shameless

Once you go Qadessi    jaakesheh har  naakasi

there I go again..;)

Path of Kiaan Resurrection of True Iran Hoisting Drafshe Kaviaan


Dear Ms. Amini, No one

by BibiGol on

Dear Ms. Amini,

No one denies the hardship, suppression and oppression of Palestinian people.  The building of the new settlements are definitely wrong.  I understand these and am against them.

Your point is well taken.  So we are talking about occupation.  Then why limit ourselves to Israel.  Isn't the US now occupying Iraq?  Haven't they done as much -- or some -- harm?  The issue of the 100,000 Iraqis who have died since the occupation should be addressed.  The insulting actions against the women, attacking houses in the middle of the night, killing people because of suspicion should be talked about.  Killing and then asking questions?  This brutality that is Iraq.

 You are 100% correct.  Let's ban all Americans (including the Iranians with American citizenship) from this conference.  (That is a good half of the conference attendees, but who cares?)  It doesn't matter whether or not they agree or agreed with this war.  It doesn't matter whether or not they voted for Bush.  After all they live in this country that occupies other countries.  They are guilty by the virtue of location.

   And while we are at it, why not the rest of the world?  Why not the Dutch.  The two prominent Dutch scholars of Iranian studies, Rudi Matthee and Willem Floor, should be disinvited as well.  After all, they belong to a country that still colonizes (read occupies) other countries.  No excuses accepted.  And the British?  Oh yes, they should definitely be disinvited.  They are notorious colonialist. 

Oh, and the Arabs are claiming that Iranians have "occupied" Arab lands, namely the Tombs and Abu Musa.  Should we include Iranians as well?

 And while we are on the subject of Arabs, why is "the petition" mostly signed by Arabs?  What do they have to do with Iranian studies?  Haven't they claimed every important and famous person in Iran (Avicenna, Farabi, Ghazali, are a few)?  Furthermore, if they are so concerned with human rights, why don't they object to the American occupation of Iraq and the atrocities there?  Why not object to the lack of human rights that exists in every Arab country? 

I have to thank Mr. Kadivar for pointing out some issues about Iranians and Palestinians.  How could an Iranian defend Palestinians?  The Palestinians whose Mr. Arafat came to Iran took millions of dollars of money from Iran (the first check alone was for $50 million, which today would be more than $150 million) and around a year later joined Saddam in a war that caused casualties of nearly a million in Iran alone.  You are asking us to defend the enemies of Iran?  I have yet to see one Palestinian who has something positive to say about Iran and Iranians (and I know this first hand), in spite of the many millions of dollars of aid Iran has given them.  They killes my compatriots, your compatriots.

 Is this really about Israel, Ms. Amini, or the people of Israel?


Pan-Ommah lobster flag?

by Nur-i-Azal on


How did you come up with that one?



Bravo Darius K

by SamSamIIII on


Guess the national priorities are reversed when you commit to Pan-Ommah lobster flag.  Cheers patriot!!!

Path of Kiaan Resurrection of True Iran Hoisting Drafshe Kaviaan

Fariba Amini

by Fariba Amini on


my signature

by capt_ayhab on

University built on a stolen land.

Prior owners either slaughtered, displaced or somewhere in refugee camps.

Entire institution is illegal.

Entire faculty are working illegally in an illegally built building they chose to call UNIVERSITY.

This place is an utter shame to be called an university.

Dis-invite the so called scholar, he might as well go to work for IR, since there are no difference between occupying forces of Israel and criminal force of IR.




I am ashamed of being in the same profession as these guys who teach there in STOLEN property.

hamsade ghadimi

not right to disinvite

by hamsade ghadimi on

apparently, this professor's research was worthy enough to be invited to the conference of this academic society.  they clearly state on their site, that their society is non-political.  therefore, i think that by their own standards, their hands are tied and isis cannot disinvite this person.  i don't think that should stop people like fariba amini or others to try to influence this society; however, i think that isis should clearly make changes in their mission statement and acceptance criteria before disinviting (or not inviting) qualified scholars.  if i was a member, i would not make this academic society into a political one.  therefore, i would honor this invitation.

as a compromise, perhaps in the future, isis can require that each conference attendee should be represented by the flag of the country or territory on which their institution is built.

Darius Kadivar

Help Me Understand? Wasn't The First Zionist Cyrus the Great ?

by Darius Kadivar on

Who liberated the hebrews from Babylon and allowed the Jews to go to Israel and buil their temple.

He is Awake: Close Up on Cyrus Kar -by Darius KADIVAR

Wasn't one of our Great Persian Queen's a Jew ?

Xerxes: A Screenplay by Ren A Hakim ( interview by Darius KADIVAR)

HISTORY FORUM:Jews in the Persian Empire a lecture by Dr. David Neiman

So I do not see why a Zionist scholar should not be admitted to participate to such a conference on ancient persian history ...

So Where is the Logic ?

Should we Iranians define OUR PRIORITIES based on those of Palestinian or Israeli people ? 

When did the Palestians ever feel sorry for Brave Iranian Officers executed by their own PLO mercenaries during the Islamic revolution ?

Arafat hailing the islamic revolution:

When Did they Feel Sorry for Iranians when they were invaded by Saddam Hussein's troops ?

Arafat meets MKO leaders Rajavi in Iraq:

So What is all this Hypocritical Tearjerking for the Palestinian Cause ?

Some In the Diaspora too want to interpret ALL our Persian Heritage and customs through the distorted spectrum of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict ! 

Masgareh Va Ghan !


Oh and here for those who may think that I am indifferent to the Palestinian people's Right to having their own land here ...

pictory: (SURPRISE) Shah and Sadat Pro Palestine Statement (1975)


The Iranian Diaspora particularly in the US Would be Well advised to Remember it sooner or later !

Tah Key Meekha Heem Khodemoonoh Gool Bezaneem ?

Happy Chahar Shanbeh Soory To all Iranians regardless of faith and Race for what it's worth these days in the Islamic Republic represented by an ARAB Sickle Flag another concession to the Arab World at the expense of Our Iranian Heritage in the land of the Shahnameh and Shiro Khorsheed:

ROYALTY AND THE PEOPLE: Shah Jumps Over BondFire (1976/77)




Fariba Amini

First, I suggest to Bibi

by Fariba Amini on

First, I suggest to Bibi gol to tell us who she or he is ?

Second, I am not passing judgement on anybody or dictating to ISIS.  I am presenting some facts. 

third, FYI some members of ISIS and Dr. M. Tavakoli himself (who is by the way a friend) asked me to write an article a propos!  Do you know why? because people read what I write!

fourth, I may not be a "scholar" but I am a serious writer and journalist.  Many of my interviews and articles have been published and translated into Persian even in Iran!

Fifth, Ms. Bibi Gol, you seem to have a chip on your shoulders to judge me personally instead of looking at the facts presented to you.

Sixth, I am sorry, I will never go to Israel as long as the Palestinians are brutalized, their lands taken, their homes demolished, their women and children bombed (or did you already forget Gaza?) and as long as Israel does not recognize that they, the Palestinians need their own state and their own home so that they could build their universities, their institutions, their parks, their homes with gardens, their schools, their markets, their stores, their coffee shops, their restaurants, and.... or do you think they are subhuman and they don't deserve any of the above? 

Seventh,  this article merely states the facts and let's the reader make up his/her mind.  I have not passed judgement nor will I do that.  I do have my own opinion which is:

The scholar in question should attend without mentioning his affiliation.  After all, where is Samara and Judea on  the world map???

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Why I refuse to sign the statement

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I welcome attendance of anyone who is invited. The best way to have understanding is though dialogue not through exclusion. Let him come and talk to him. Maybe he will learn something and maybe you will learn something.

In addition I have said many times before the Palestinian Israeli problem is not an Iranian problem. We should worry about our own issues and ONLY WHEN that is resolved we would deal with other things.

Our nation is being destroyed by Islamofacsists and you people are worried about Gaza or the West Bank? Shame on you and your upside down priorities. What kind of person would put their own nation behind other people! Sharm angiz ast.


Where is Juan Cole?

by Nur-i-Azal on

He hardly signs such petitions anymore? Why??



dingo daddy En passant

This powerful petition should be read by all

by dingo daddy En passant on


A Joint Letter to the International
Society of Iranian Studies on "Ariel University of Samaria, Israel"

Dear Professor Sandler
Members of the Executive Committee
International Society for Iranian Studies

We write to register our deep concern that during
the 2010 Iranian Studies Biennial Conference in Santa Monica,
California, the International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS) intends
to host a faculty member from “Ariel University of Samaria, Israel.” We
understand that due to some concerns expressed, recently on your
website you have changed “Ariel University of Samaria, Israel” to simply
“Ariel University.” But the change cannot mask the nature of the

As you know, “Ariel” is the fourth largest illegal
Israeli settlement in the heart of occupied West Bank.  Ariel College in
fact began as a campus of Bar-Ilan University in 1982. Its recent
upgrade to "university" by the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
highlights the involvement of the Israeli military establishment with
this institution.  A “university” built illegally on confiscated
Palestinian land is not recognized under international laws. The
establishment of such a “university” in occupied Palestinian territories
is in flagrant violation of numerous UN Resolutions, as well as Article
49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), which clearly states, “The
Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian
population into the territory it occupies.” 

Moreover, by hosting a representative of such
“university,” your organization not only shows disregard for
international law, but also effectively lends legitimacy to the brutal
military occupation of a people’s homeland.  By recognizing this
“university,” the ISIS is endorsing the illegal and immoral occupation
of Palestine.  Such recognition would also show ISIS disregards the call
of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and
Employees for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in
the occupation and other violations of international laws.  

As concerned academics, we urge you to reconsider a
decision which disregards international law and lends legitimacy to a
prolonged and brutal military occupation of the Palestinian homeland.  


Rabab Ibrahim ABDULHADI (San Francisco State
University, USA)
Ervand ABRAHAMIAN (City University of New York, USA)
Nadia ABU EL-HAJ (Barnard College, USA)
Bashir ABU-MANNEH (Barnard College, USA)
Fawzia AFZAL-KHAN (Montclair State University, USA)
Norma ALARCON (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
Kazem ALAMDARI (California State University, Northridge, USA)
Charlotte Karem ALBRECHT (University of Minnesota, USA)
Hamid ALGAR (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
Sama ALSHAIBI (University of Arizona, USA)
Janet AMIGHI (Montgomery County Community College, USA)
Jacqueline ANDRES (American University of Beirut, LEBANON)
Naseer ARURI (University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA)
Barbara ASWAD (Wayne State University, USA)
Bill AYERS (University of Illinois, Chicago, USA)
Paola BACCHETTA (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
Margot BADRAN (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
Janet BAUER (Trinity College, USA)
Oren BEN-DOR (School of Law, Highfield, UK)
Sherna BERGER GLUCK (California State University, Long Beach, USA)
Haim BRESHEETH (University of East London, UK)
Stan COHEN (London School of Economics, UK)
Ned CURTHOYS (Australian National University)
Hamid DABASHI (Columbia University, USA)
Lawrence DAVIDSON (West Chester University, USA)
Lara DEEB (Scripps College, USA)
Randi DEGUILHEM (Institut de Recherche & d'Etude sur le Monde
Arabe et Musulman, FRANCE)
Judith DEUTSCH (University of Toronto, CANADA)
John DOCKER (The University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA)
Aseel Nasir DYCK (Portland State University)
Nada ELIA (Antioch University, USA)
Noura ERAKAT (Georgetown University, USA)
Sasan FAYAZMANESH (California State University, Fresno, USA)
Manzar FOROOHAR (California Polytechnic State University, USA)
Katherine FRANKE (Columbia University, USA)
Nancy GALLAGHER (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)
Irene GENDZIER (Boston University, USA)
Jess GHANNAM (University of California, San Francisco, USA)
Deborah A. GORDON (Wichita State University, USA)
Mary GREY (St Mary's University College, UK)
Marilyn HACKER (City University of New York, USA)
Elaine C. HAGOPIAN (Simmons College, USA)
Barbara HARLOW (University of Texas at Austin, USA)
Mahamood HASSAN (California State University, Fullerton, USA)
Nubar HOVSEPIAN (Chapman University, USA)
Nancy JABBRA (Loyola Marymount University, USA)
Suad JOSEPH (University of California, Davis, USA)
Mohsen KADIVAR (Duke University, USA)
Mohja KAHF (University of Arkansas, USA)
Rhoda KANAANEH (New York, USA)
Ousmane KANE (Columbia University, USA)
Persis M. KARIM (San Jose State University, USA)
Simin KARIMI (University of Arizona, USA)
Paul KELERMAN (University of Manchester, USA)
Assaf KFOURY (Boston University, USA)
Katherine KING (UCLA, USA)
David KLEIN (California State University, Northridge, USA)
Dennis KORTHEUER (California State University, Long Beach, USA)
Adi KUNTSMAN (University of Manchester, UK)
Frank LAND (London School of Economics, UK)
Mark LEVINE (University of California, Irvine, USA)
Genny LIM (California Institute of Integral Studies, USA)
David LLOYD (University of Southern California, USA)
Yosefa LOSHITZKY (University of East London, UK)
Shireen MAHDAVI (University of Utah, USA)
Sunaina MAIRA (University of California, Davis, USA)
Mahmood MAMDANI (Columbia University, USA)
Nur MASALHA (St. Mary's University College and SOAS, UK)
Joseph MASSAD (Columbia University, USA)
Afshin MATIN-ASGARI (California State University, Los Angles, USA)
Minoo MOALLEM (University of California at Berkeley, USA)
Chandra Talpade MOHANTY (Syracuse University, USA)
Fouad MOUGHRABI (University of Tennessee, USA)
Bart MOORE-GIBERT (Goldsmith, University of London, UK)
Martha MUNDY (London School of Economics, UK)
Marcy NEWMAN (Amman Al-Ahliyya University, JORDAN)
Gary Y. OKIHIRO (Columbia University, USA)
Jennifer OLMSTED (Drew University, USA)
Cecile PINEDA (San Diego State University, USA)
Nicola PRATT (University of Warwick, UK)
Bruce ROBBINS (Columbia University, USA)
Lisa ROFEL (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA)
Jonathan ROSENHEAD (London School of Economics, UK)
Roshni RUSTOMJI-KERNS (Sonoma State University, USA)
Ahmad SADRI (Lake Forest College, USA)
Mahmoud SADRI (Texas Woman’s University, USA)
Mariam C. SAID (New York, USA)
George SALEM (University of Southern California, USA)
Vida SAMIIAN (California State University, Fresno, USA)
May SEIKALY (Wayne State University, USA)
Anton SHAMMAS (University of Michigan, USA)
Simona SHARONI (SUNY Plattsburgh, USA)
Magid SHIHADE (Lahore University, Pakistan)
James SCHAMUS (Columbia University, USA)
Yumna SIDDIQI (Middlebury College, USA)
Gayatri Chakravorty SPIVAK (Columbia University, USA)
Samir TARTIR (Philadelphia University, Jordan)
Ali TIZGHADAM (University of Toronto, CANADA)
Nayereh TOHIDI (California State University, Northridge, USA)
Corbin TREACY (University of Minnesota, USA)
Shouleh VATANABADI (New York, University, USA)
Patrick WILLIAMS (Nottingham Trent University, UK)
Howard WINANT (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)
Patrick WOLFE (Harvard University, USA)
Sherifa ZUHUR (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic
Studies, USA)


This is a tempest in a tea pot

by Nur-i-Azal on

Granted the Iranian studies scholarly community ought to take a decisive stand against Zionism (as well as with Islamism), but there  isn't an issue here to get all tied up in knots about, really. That this Israeli is being penalized for his institutional affiliation is a reverse kind of Neo-Con inspired kulturkampf that went on in North American universties and campuses during the Bush years, but now from liberals. As such it is  discrimination.  What about the guy's work, his scholarship and writings? Does that count for anything to the ISIS board, or is everything about politics with them?

Furthermore, at the annual MESA gatherings of the Middle East Studies Association of North America you have always had all kinds of unsavory politically-connected individuals attending and presenting papers there, like the devil himself, Bernard Lewis. Why should ISIS be different and why is it inserting itself into a political question it needs to stay above? It isn't as if this guy is personally responsible for any Israeli-Zionist policies in the West bank?

Iranians in North America, especially those in the academic world, are becoming as petty and small minded as ever. I am glad I am no longer connected with these people. Unless the guy is a dyed in the wool supporter of the Israeli government's policies in the area under question, he should be allowed to attend as an independent or  even as a full affiliate to the institution he belongs to. And I am saying this as one of the most dyed in the wool anti-Zionists there are!

This projects a terrible image of ISIS. Grow up, you people!


dingo daddy En passant

Fariba makes a great and legitimate point

by dingo daddy En passant on

BibiGol, I'm not involved with ISIS. I don't even live in the states. You have to be blind not to notice the poor damage control job you are doing. You can't just tell people to "shut up, you're not a member", it makes ISIS appear petty. incapable of handling criticism. Is your point to make ISIS and Dr. Tavokoli appear like they are over-sensitive apologists for the Israeli extremists?  You have succeeded. An wonderful suggestion was made that his Zionist University not be honored. He can appear as independent. I like that option. ISIS members should do it.


ISIS and Israeli scholars

by BibiGol on

First, Ms. Amini is not a member of ISIS and has no right to dictate to this society what to do.  The by lines of ISIS clearly leave that decision to its members.  This goes for many of the people who have signed the petition.

Second, Ms. Amini is not a scholar, but only an internet "journalist".  I suggest she not make decisions about academia.

 Third, the charter of ISIS clearly states that it is not a political entity and should not get involved in such matters.  As such, it is not up to Ms. Amini to dictate to the Society what to do.

 Fourth quoting the Spanish is a joke.  They still have the blood of the tens of thousands they killed in the name of religion.

Fifth, Ms. Amini, a journalist who refuses to go to Israel and see things first hand, should try to do some first hand "journalism" and see for herself how many Palestinian students are educated by the Israeli universities in general and this one in particular.

Sixth, Dr. Tavakoli, the current president of the Society has made no comment "in support" of this decision.  I suggest you read your sources beforehand.

All this said, the first thing one should look at before making such rash decision is what the position of this particular Israeli scholar is.  Every person can have his/her own opinion independent of his/her government.  I would hate to see Mrs. Shirin Ebady, Iran's Nobel Peace Laureate, being banned by American universities, because many of us do not like the policies of Iranian government, occupied territories or not.  I see no difference between the two.  Should Columbia University have not accepted Alexadre Solzhenitsin to teach there?  If Britain and British universities adopted such a policiy a few years ago, it was -- and is -- because many of their schools are now being supported by Arabs, whose benefits in many ways depend on adding to this fire in the Middle East.  The Brits have to bow to those who "pay their salaries".  We don't.

I for one would like to hear what this person has to say.  If this Israeli professor's -- or any other non-Iranian scholar's -- research is benefitting Iranian studies, he should be thanked, not ostracized.  We should hear him, and, if we need, question him.

 One last word.  Please leave the internal affairs of ISIS to its memebers.  I assure you the members of this Society are educated and smart enough to make their own decision.  They don't need you to advertise their cause, nor do they need to tell them how to decide.


Mr. aynak

by capt_ayhab on

I see the point you are making. 

Teaching in  an university in occupied lands, which is purely for Jews only[speculating] which purely promotes segregation and apartheid is no different from a scholar in any Iranian university who, rather than carrying out his/her duties as an educator, which is being a liberal and democratic person in order to promote unbiased learning environment for the young minds, he/she promotes the regime agenda.

It is the ideology that these types of learning environments are trying to cram down the students throats and not the physical locations[which in itself is sad enough].

I presented that question hoping I would get a response from the ISIS system, for it appears that they are rather employing double standard.




P/S I trust Tehran University to be one of best universities in the world, along with Sharif and alike. Two of my siblings teach in those prestigious institutions.



to capt_ayhab

by aynak on

As far as I know, there is no university in Iran, that has been built on someone else's land.   That's the nature of dispute here, not whether the professor (in this case Israeli or in your case one with close ties with IRI) has association  with a repressive government.

To put it differently, "Tehran University" or any others in Iran by themselves are not representative of oppression.    However the "Ariel college" by its very existence in disputed (occupied) territories, is not legitimate.

If someone from Tehran U comes to this event, that would not make Tehran U any more or any less legitimate as an academic institution. Tehran U has existed way before IRI and will way after IRI.  But if someone from Ariel college attends a conference  like this,  that endorses the legitimate existence of this college by ISIS.

I hope the difference is clear. 


to capt_ayhab

by aynak on


duplicate post.  See above. 



by capt_ayhab on

Not that I in any shape or form support anything about IR, but let us assume that some scholars who have close ties to the regime wanted to represent their respective universities where students are being beaten, and imprisoned.

Would the honorable scholars and ISIS as a whole take the same position?



P/S Edited for typo