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NYU Gaza encampment
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Why is the pro-Palestinian encampment craze sweeping our colleges?

NYU Gaza encampment

This is not even close to being a spontaneous phenomenon.

By Robert Spencer, Frontpage Magazine

Campus fads come and go, but we’ve come a long way from swallowing goldfish, stuffing as many people as possible into phone booths, and the ever-popular drinking until you pass out.

The latest craze among college kids is, as Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) indelibly put it, “living in a pup tent for Hamas.”

No sooner do cops clear out one encampment than another one springs up, and it looks as if they’re going to be with us for the rest of this semester and may even be revived once the universities reconvene next fall.

This is, however, not even close to being a spontaneous phenomenon. The groundwork for what we’re seeing now has been laid for years.

Not only is it not spontaneous, it’s clearly orchestrated from outside the colleges and universities where the encampments have sprung up.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has acknowledged that “professionals” were involved in the Columbia University encampment.

Another sign that this isn’t exactly a grass-roots movement is the fact that a large number of the pro-Hamas protesters have identical tents.

Which well-heeled leftist bought them? We don’t know and may never know, but someone certainly appears to have done some buying in bulk.

Still, the movement needed foot soldiers. The cadres had to be recruited and indoctrinated.

That has been the work of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the professional organization of Middle East Studies professors at colleges and universities nationwide.

MESA, whose members dominate the Middle East Studies faculties of most colleges and universities in the United States, says that it is “a non-profit association that fosters the study of the Middle East, promotes high standards of scholarship and teaching, and encourages public understanding of the region and its peoples through programs, publications and services that enhance education, further intellectual exchange, recognize professional distinction, and defend academic freedom.”

That strikes all the right notes, but as you likely suspect, the reality is not so noble and high-minded.

MESA is a far-left, pro-jihad activist organization that is dedicated to providing an academic sheen to Marxist agitprop and Palestinian jihad propaganda.

To see what MESA busies itself with doing, scan the 25 items that are currently on the front page of the news section of the MESA website.

Two stories are pinned to the top of the page; one of them is actually on the side of genuine justice and human rights, decrying the Iranian Islamic regime’s dismissal of professors who supported the recent Woman, Life, Freedom protests in Iran.

The other pinned story, however, is entitled “Campus Climate Resources,” which gives the initial impression that it’s propaganda about the myth of human-caused climate change; it’s actually about the “climate” on campus regarding support for the Palestinian jihad against Israel.

MESA here offers an assortment of links to this article denouncing the alleged “repression of protest on campuses,” the alleged “targeting of Palestinian students in Israeli universities,” and the like.

One of these linked articles carries this headline: “MESA Board Joint Statement with CAF [MESA’s Committee on Academic Freedom] regarding the ongoing genocidal violence against the Palestinian people and their cultural heritage in Gaza.”

That article asserts that “the ongoing attack on Gaza by the state of Israel…has now claimed more than 100,000 Palestinians dead and wounded according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.”

Despite still being offered by MESA as if it contained current information, the article has not been revised to reflect Hamas’ admission that its casualty figures have been wildly inflated or any indication that the UN still carries on its list of journalists supposedly killed by the Israelis the name of a man who is very much alive.

In MESA’s world, only the Palestinian side of the story is told, and it is believed without question.

That is what the self-righteous and ignorant students who are in the encampments have been told, and that’s all they know.

Many of the other articles on the first page of MESA’s news section are letters to or from various universities regarding MESA protesting against the dismissal of such professors or the disciplining of pro-Hamas students.

There is nothing, however, about the pro-Israel professor Shai Davidai getting barred from the Columbia campus, but plenty about how the cosseted toy revolutionaries on the campus lawn are being oppressed and their rights denied.

Given MESA’s relentless anti-Israel stance, it is easy to see how university students all over the nation have gotten the idea that supporting Hamas’ genocidal jihad is right and righteous.

Yet MESA, like the universities where these students are posturing and screaming today, was not always this bad.

Its Founding Fellows include genuine scholars such as S. D. Goitein, Majid Khadduri, and Franz Rosenthal.

Among its Honorary Fellows were some of the most consequential figures in the study of Islam, Arabs, and the Middle East, including Sir Hamilton Gibb, Philip K. Hitti, W. Montgomery Watt, Maxime Rodinson, and Annemarie Schimmel.

These actual scholars have been followed, however, by today’s crop, which is a rogue’s gallery of academic hacks and propagandists.

Yet their effectiveness cannot be denied: the pro-Hamas encampments on college campuses are their handiwork.

The post Why is the pro-Palestinian encampment craze sweeping our colleges? appeared first on World Israel News.