Controversy has erupted at California’s Claremont McKenna College after a student journalist exposed how the head of the Middle East Studies Department, Dr. Bassam Frangieh, is an open supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. The college has responded by pretending his record of praising the terrorist groups doesn’t exist and editing Frangieh’s Wikipedia entry.
Charles C. Johnson of The Claremont Independent has done extensive research on Frangieh, including having his Arabic works translated. Johnson tells FrontPage that more incriminating material is on the way, but what has already been discovered is nothing less than shocking.
In May of 2006, Frangieh congratulated Hamas on winning the Palestinian elections, saying, “I wonder what else would the Arabs have without Hamas and Hezbollah? Nothing. Except humiliation.” He said that he “view[s] Hamas with great pleasure” and even went so far as to say, “Hamas might be able to produce the beginning of salvation.” This lavish praise cannot be denied, clarified or downplayed. It is clear that Frangieh is an unabashed supporter of the terrorist group.
He also supports specific acts of terrorism. He signed a petition in 2006 describing Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel, which included the firing of rockets on civilians and the kidnapping of soldiers, as a “heroic operation.” The document referred to Israel as a “Zionist killing machine” that is “motivated by historical ambitions…[and] a racist supremacist ideology that denigrates the indigenous population, their culture, and their very existence.”
It describes Hezbollah as the “Lebanese Resistance” and asks the Lebanese government to enlist it as its army. The petition also demands that the international community boycott Israeli products, cut off diplomatic ties and even boycott Israeli academic and scientific institutions that do not condemn the invasion of Lebanon.
Frangieh also wrote an essay in 2000 titled, “Modern Arabic Poetry: Vision and Reality” that praises an extremist poet named Abd al-Rahim Mahmud, whose poetry has made its way into Palestinian and Saudi textbooks designed to indoctrinate the youth into supporting terrorism and hatred. Two of his most popular poems, “The Martyr” and “A Call to Jihad,” are particularly admired by terrorists.
In his essay, he said that even if Arab poets blew themselves up, it would not force the change he feels is necessary in the region. “For real change to come about, thousands of people will have to die; thousands must martyr themselves. It appears that only massive revolution will succeed in overturning the corrupt regimes of the Arab world,” he writes.
Though Frangieh views all the Arab regimes as corrupt, one stands out among him as the best: Saddam Hussein. He says the dictator “really did something for his country” and “wasn’t a thief,” though he is quick to add that this doesn’t mean he is defending Hussein’s brutality.
Frangieh also espouses wild conspiracy theories. In 2007, he signed a petition condemning a resolution that would divide Iraq into three sectarian-based autonomous regions as a “Zionist plot.” It described the war in Iraq as “barbaric” and hatched by “cowboys” seeking the country’s wealth. Like other anti-American conspiracy theorists and Islamic extremists, he sees U.S. foreign policy as secretly orchestrated by Zionist imperialists with evil motives.
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