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I just wanted to add a little history of Arabic Studies concerning the University of Minnesota. I was accepted on a full doctoral scholarship to study ajam i.e. aljamía Old Spanish in Arabic script Hadith with Anwar Chejne, author of The History of Muslim Spain. I am sure you know the text. This was in 1978. I had already studied two year tutorial with Rabbi Marc Angel's Uncle Prof. David Romey - Ladino at PSU. Chejne did not want to train me because I was a Jew. In the end he had to. Arabic studies program was at war with Hebrew. Comp. LIt. was translating all the classic works that would constitute wok lit. and published through the U of M Press. The entire academic arena was antisemitic. I believe that Minnesota was the backdoor for the Muslim Brotherhood. Minnesota the fantasy land of the exotic other along with Minnesota nice and Ilhan Omar. In 2010 I made aliyah with great relief.

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There are currently two Jewish professors in the news; one from Columbia (a former Israeli) and one from Berkeley (I think just an American Jew) who are standing up on their campuses against the pro-Hamas demonstrations. They both claim that they had no previous indication that their campuses were rife with antisemitism. I worked for Tel Aviv University 2009-13 in the US recruiting students for our study abroad program and it was obvious to me what was going on. How did they not notice when they were right there on campus with the most vocal antisemitism. The world is in a dark place. Thank G-d for people like DR Oren.

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Thank you for your intelligence, wisdom, and love for Israel. You are a voice of sanity in the wilderness out there. My son (a paratrooper reservist) graduated (2016) at the top of his Princeton class in the Near Eastern Studies department. He was a lone soldier after graduation and now, as a reservist, has fought in Gaza and the West Bank after October 7. He earned his M.A. in Security and Diplomacy studies at TAU. In addition, his professional work is in service to the viability and flourishing of Israel, Judaism, and the Jews. The Jews need more men like you both.

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Kol hakavod!

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Fantastic article. Can't wait for Part II.

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Wow! I believe the Arab expression is: “So that’s where the dead camel is buried!”

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Wonderful piece! Thank you for pulling back the curtain and sharing parts of your academic/professional journey. Fascinating stuff, particularly for someone such as myself, who served in IDF during Ist Lebanon and considered going into Middles Eastern Studies.

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Thank you so much for this article and for your aptly-named publication. I attended the Machon leadership institute in Jerusalem in 1970 and I recall among my fellow students a contingency from Paris, veterans of the 1968 leftist revolt. They were already questioning the official narrative of the time and were very critical of the IDF, but were considered a fringe element even among the leftist zionist movements in our student body. Fast forward to 2010 and my daughter took a course on the Mideast at University of Toronto. Her understanding of the conflict had gone so far into the "New History" narrative that we could not even have a conversation.

BTW, I have reread your Six Days of War probably a half-dozen times and I find it such a vivid and riveting account from all sides of the conflict.

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As a writer myself, I cannot fathom how anyone can call Michael Oren’s writing “atrocious”— it’s excellent, his articles read like novels. As a side point, I’ve never really understood Benny Morris but at the very least he wrote an oped in today’s New York Times saying Israel must go to Rafah.

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He was recently interviewed in the WSJ where he expressed some regret and almost a kind of resignation to the idea of his rejection by his former friends and supporters.

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Hmm that’s interesting. I read WSJ but couldn’t find an interview with Morris…

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Curiously, I think there has been a shift in Morris' approach. In his interview with Coleman Hughes, where they talked about the history and origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict post-Ottoman Empire, Morris deviated from his New Historian persona, which greatly surprised me as I typically put him in the same category as Noam Chomsky.

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In fairness to Benny Morris, he never changed his position on the historical facts (based on his research of archival documents not previously made available until expiration of Israel’s 30 year holdback period) — I.e., that Ben Gurion favored a policy of displacement in 1948 (a transfer of local Arabs outside Israel’s sovereign borders).

What did change was his assessment of the “justness” of that policy. With the benefit of hindsight (after the second intifada and especially after October 7th) he now believes that Ben Gurion didn’t go far enough (I.e., it would have been more just to completely cleanse the Arab population from the Jewish State (or perhaps even from all territories West of the Jordan River))

Historians are judged by the accuracy of their facts. They may claim the right to judge those facts but that merely proves that they are human like the rest of us.

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Benny Morris thinks he can redeem himself after all the damage he did to a whole generation. Not bloody likely.

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Godspeed, Dr. Oren.

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Thank you. Your writings have changed my outlook. From the day after the Hamas massacre, I’ve been listening to you and reading what you write. I’m afraid that my daughter has been indoctrinated in her Middle Eastern courses at university of Michigan. I had no idea where all the hate was coming from. I am married to a Lebanese Christian whose parents fled Lebanon because of the Islamic persecution. I am Catholic, with maternal Jewish roots from Darmstadt Germany. they fled Germany sometime in the early 1800s. I don’t know what to do about my daughters and her indoctrination other than counter it as well as I can, show her your articles and pray. Some of us, Catholics contemplate Saint Monica, who was the mother of a notorious pagan (Saint Augustine). That helps me.

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"I don’t know what to do about my daughters and her indoctrination "

Send her on a trip to Lebanon.

I'm sorry if that sounded flippant, but I mean it. Except you wouldn't want her to go there, it's too dangerous.

Tell her about Lebanon. Start there. Then go on to Israel. Don't give up.

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Stay Brave! Thank God for all that you do. God Bless your efforts. Hope to hear you lecture again sometime soon!

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Apr 12·edited Apr 12

Back in New Haven in the mid 2000s I remember how bewildering it was to see you Michael, a celebrated scholar still basking in the halo of the hugely successful Six Days (2002), isolated and eating alone with us students. To connect this valuable post with another recent essay you posted on "The Final Battle for the Holocaust," it is galling to see hot-takes and blatant op-eds masquerading as scholarship, such as this essay, "Gaza as Twilight of Israel Exceptionalism: Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Unprecedented Crisis to Unprecedented Change," https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14623528.2024.2325804

co-written, predictably, by an Israeli scholar abusing his scholarly appointment in the US. I would not object if the scholar filled his social media posts or personal blog with such drivel. But to see tendentious political activism posing as research is galling for anyone who respects truth and scholarship.

The intellectual travesty is not that scholars of literature, history, area studies, ethnic studies, and gender studies are pushing an objectionable political ideology but that they are pushing any political program at all. The total embrace of political prejudice that Michael diagnoses here is the academic crime that has all but destroyed the humanities and social sciences. Most of these fields have long stopped to function as areas of inquiry, and therefore, their viable role in the academy.

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Since I met you while waiting for a meeting with Bibi outside his office - i think you were just about to leave for assignment in USA, I have appreciated your clarity. Glad you are in this medium, and accessible with provision of clarity in dark and foggy times such as these.

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Wonderful history of the origins of the now ingrained anti-Israel/anti-Zionist bias seen everywhere in the U.S. Sadly, these unfounded “myths” are alive and well in CA, even at talks given by professors at so called “peace” institutes in Sonoma!

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Thank you Michael!

Cleaning out the sewers of academia is a thankless task. So I pray that you are rewarded in high for being a beacon of truth in a sham world. Light on.

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