Monday, December 11, 2006

Campus Watch Targets Kathryn Babayan

In an obvious intimidation attempt, Winfield Myers, Director of Campus Watch, is criticizing University of Michigan professor Kathryn Babayan in the Washington Examiner even though "Babayan didn't disrupt [Professor Raymond Tanter's] talk: 'She didn’t prevent me from speaking,' he said." Babayan's offense: She allegedly "sat with the demonstrators as a sign of solidarity and insulted Tanter personally from the floor."

In the article, "Is a professor's job to teach or obstruct?" Myers writes, "A Power Point slide show was rendered useless by constant interruptions and shouts, which included 'Tanter is a pig.' " I was in the room before the protesters showed up and, in fact, the Power Point presentation "was rendered useless" because Tanter and/or the organizers were unable to get the computer working until well after he had begun his question and answer session. When he was finally brought a working computer, Tanter made no attempt to use it (unless after the police riot), except to point to one slide of the "Shi'a crescent." I did not hear anyone call him a "pig" or a "war hawk," as suggested in the Ann Arbor News.

Myers' article claims, "Students in attendance were disappointed that Tanter was unable to speak, and that [Babayan] would ally herself with protesters whose goal was to shout down a lecturer." It is patently false that Tanter "was unable to speak" and the protesters, while heckling Tanter at times, never made any attempt to "shout [him] down."

Of course, Myers is, apparently, ignorant of or undisturbed by the fact that Tanter called for removing the Mujahedeen-e Khalq from the US State Department's terrorist list so that they can wage covert military action against Iran with the full expectation, as Tanter told the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, that this will lead to "civil war" in Iran and, hopefully, (for Tanter) a military coup.

Here is a telling excerpt from the Ha'aretz article, "Ultimately, the U.S. will attack":
... the members of Mujahideen-e-Khalq established headquarters in Paris, and since then they have been activating thousands of activists and underground fighters from there. They have guerrilla and terrorist activities to their credit, such as the elimination of senior officers, including the chief of staff of the Iranian army, and an attack on the presidential palace in Tehran (in 2000, during the term of President Khatami.) In addition, it was members of the organization who discovered the two secret plants for enriching uranium that Iran had not declared, and which were therefore not under international supervision. When the U.S. Army invaded Iraq, it disarmed the organization and prohibited it from operating.

The reason why Mujahideen-e-Khalq is defined as a terror organization is based on several incidents. The group's activists are suspected of the murder of U.S. citizens on Iranian soil during the period of the Shah. Prof. Tanter and his associates claim that those who carried out the acts were Maoist activists who did not obey the leadership of the organization. Another reason is its support for the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by Iranian students and holding its 52 employees as hostages.

Tanter believes that Israel can help legitimize Mujahideen-e-Khalq: "I'm not asking the Mossad to join them and cooperate with them. They should not be involved, and Israel should stay out of the picture. Mujahideen-e-Khalq do not wish such a tie with Israel. But Israel has influence in the United States. It has supporters and a lobby and it can ask them to have MEK removed from the State Department's list of terror organizations.
In the Examiner article, Myers and Tanter try to downplay the Israel angle at Tanter's lecture:
But his sponsorship by Jewish students was sufficient to send self-professed "anti-Zionist" agitators into action. ...

Tanter mentioned Israel only tangentially by noting that it may preempt American policy by striking Iranian nuclear facilities on its own.
The sponsoring organization is not an expressly Jewish organization but is called the "American Movement for Israel." Furthermore, it is clear that Israel is aggressively agitating for punitive actions against Iran. Israel is simply not tangential to a talk about Iran, sponsored by a pro-Israel group and, especially, one given by Ray Tanter, who, among other things, came to his Reagan administration National Security Council post via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

So far, there is little, if any, evidence that Professor Babayan's colleagues are going to publicly rally to her side. Let's hope this changes soon.

Campus Watch is a project of the Middle East Forum.

For more information, including eyewitness reports and Prof. Babayan's statement see also:

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