Joel Beinin: Assailed Again by David Horowitz





Back in 2004, Joel Beinin, a professor of Middle East history at Stanford University, wrote a long and outraged article inveighing against what he called “intense policing to regulate what may be thought and said about the Middle East” in which he attacked critics of increasingly radicalized Middle Eastern Studies departments for daring to state their views. Now Beinin has become the policeman he once scorned.

In March, in a move clearly designed to obstruct opinions he didn’t like, Beinin filed suit for copyright infringement against the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (the publisher of FrontPageMag.com). His target was a year-old pamphlet called “Campus Support for Terrorism” that pictured Beinin (among others) on its cover. To make his legal harassment suit possible, Beinin acquired the copyright for the photo, which previously belonged to someone else and was assigned to him after the fact.

If the claims in the pamphlet had been false, Beinin could have sued the Center for libel. But the claims were true. So he resorted to the copyright gambit. Copyrights, however, were designed to protect commercial values (something the leftist Beinin has spent a political lifetime fighting against). The Beinin picture is in fact worthless. It is not art and the face on it is distinguished only by its insignificance. No one would buy the picture and the fact that the Center published it (at a time it did not belong to Beinin) costs him nothing. Nonetheless, the professor has engaged the machinery of the law in an attempt to make the Center pay for a crime it did not commit because he wants to punish it for an ideological crime a democracy like ours does not recognize.

The pamphlet details how academic radicals and the anti-war campus Left have lent their support to Islamic terrorists, while campaigning against the efforts of democracies like Israel and the United States to defend themselves. Although Beinin has indignantly denied being a supporter of terrorism, his suit is not aimed at the substance of that charge but, as noted, at the allegedly improper use of his photo.

That Beinin would resort to a legal subterfuge rather than address the specifics of the criticism in the pamphlet is not surprising. A review of Beinin’s public record shows that while he may object to the Center’s use of his picture, he is in fact the poster case of the academic apologist for terror, having consistently justified acts of terrorism, downplayed the dangers of radical Islam, and lent moral support to groups operating in the terrorist network....





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