Retraction: FrontPage Magazine wishes to retract a quote attributed to Professor George Bisharat of the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, which appeared in the original version of the article below. The statement, “[B]ut when I dug deeper and spoke with the dean, it was clear to me that it was the Jews. The Jews were behind a united attempt to silence academic freedom,” was never made and, therefore, it has been removed from the article. We apologize to Prof. Bisharat for the appearance of this quote.
Academic self-congratulation reached new heights at the University of California, Los Angeles on March 21, 2012, with “An Event Honoring Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl.” Abou El Fadl—Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor in Islamic Law and chair of the Islamic Studies Interdepartmental Program at UCLA—was feted by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, the UCLA School of Law Journal of Near Eastern and Islamic Law, the UCLA School of Law Muslim Law Students Association, and the UCLA School of Law Critical Race Studies Program. Eighty students, professors, and community members gathered to commemorate “the world’s leading authority on Islamic law and Islam, and the prominent scholar in the field of human rights,” according to the event description. In reality, Fadl is an apologist for radical Islam who routinely denies valid concerns over the human rights abuses inherent to Sharia (Islamic) law while charging its critics with “Islamophobia.”
Cheryl Harris, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights at UCLA, opened the event by hailing Abou El Fadl as a hero in “the struggle against Islamophobia in America.” Persecuted for the “sins he has committed . . . from the sin of being a scholar to standing up against the egregious vilification of Muslims in the West,” Abou El Fadl—in Harris’s fevered imagination—is a victim of slander from both liberals and conservatives. Ratcheting up the melodrama even further, she then declared that “the Korematsu trope has been recycled in the post-9/11 world against Muslims,” referring to the 1944 United States Supreme Court case deciding the constitutionality of the order to intern Japanese-Americans during WWII. This ludicrous comparison has been made on more than one such occasion; it never seems to lose its appeal to academic peddlers of victimhood.
Continuing this theme, George Bisharat, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, reveled in sinister—albeit imaginary—campaigns to stifle academic freedom. He focused on a March 2011 Hastings conference that he organized titled, “Litigating Palestine: Can Courts Secure Palestinian Rights?” The conference featured a roster of anti-Israel speakers advocating the delegitimization of Israel through U.S. courts—otherwise known as lawfare. Because of the radical, one-sided nature of the conference, local Jewish leaders expressed their reservations to Hastings dean Frank Wu, who subsequently canceled his welcoming address and the law school’s official co-sponsorship. Bisharat objected to Wu’s actions, telling the San Francisco Chronicle that “opponents had wrongly accused the conference of ‘Israeli-bashing.” Yet journalist Stephen Schwartz, who attended the conference and reported on it for Campus Watch, wrote:
In fact, that’s exactly what took place at the conference. The anti-Israeli rhetoric of the participants was notably extreme, and even bizarre. . . . Hastings officials were correct in withdrawing their sponsorship and canceling the participation of their dean in this effort.
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