Middle East Forum

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Middle East Forum
TypeForeign Policy Think Tank
Daniel Pipes
Revenue (2014)
Expenses (2014)$3,640,349[1]
Websitewww.meforum.org Edit this at Wikidata

The Middle East Forum (MEF) is an American conservative[2] think tank founded in 1990 by Daniel Pipes, who serves as its president.[3] MEF became an independent non-profit organization in 1994. It publishes a journal, the Middle East Quarterly.

According to the organization's website, they promote "American interests and works to protect Western civilization from the threat of Islamism",[4] advocate strong ties with Israel and other democracies as they emerge, work for human rights throughout the region; seek a stable supply and a low price of oil; and promote the peaceful settlement of regional and international disputes.[5]

The Middle East Forum, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization, has established the Legal Project to protect researchers and analysts who work on the topics of Islam and related topics from lawsuits designed to silence their exercise of free speech and to discuss key issues of public concern.[6] The Legal Project aided Dutch politician Geert Wilders' legal defense when he faced a criminal indictment for his views in 2009.[7]

Publications and projects[edit]

Middle East Quarterly[edit]

Middle East Quarterly
Middle east quarterly.jpg
DisciplineMiddle Eastern studies
Edited byEfraim Karsh
Publication details
Middle East Forum (United States)
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4Middle East Q.
OCLC no.644061932

Middle East Quarterly (MEQ) is a peer-reviewed quarterly academic journal published by the Middle East Forum. It covers subjects relating to the Middle East and Islam, and analyzes the region "explicitly from the viewpoint of American interests".[8] It was founded in 1994 by Daniel Pipes and the current editor-in-chief is Efraim Karsh, Research Professor and former Director of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King's College London.[9] The journal was not originally peer-reviewed but introduced peer review in 2009 both to improve the quality of articles and "to give junior faculty an opportunity, while building their careers, to express their views freely."[8]


In 2002 Juan Cole, a professor at the University of Michigan and a Campus Watch target, accused the journal of making "scurrilous attacks on people".[10] In 2014, Christopher A. Bail of Duke University described it as a "pseudo-academic" journal with editorial board members who share an ideological outlook, adding that while it appears to present legitimate academic research, it is regularly criticized "as a channel for anti-Muslim polemics".[11]

Abstracting and indexing[edit]

The journal is abstracted and indexed in:

Campus Watch[edit]

In 2002, the Middle East Forum initiated the Campus Watch program and identified what it finds to be the five major problems in the teaching of Middle Eastern studies at American universities: "analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students."[14] Winfield Myers is the director of Campus Watch.[15]

Initially, Campus Watch published a list of problematic instructors, which led some professors to accuse Campus Watch of "McCarthyesque" intimidation; in protest, more than 100 other academics asked to be listed too.[16] Subsequently, Campus Watch removed the list from its website, but replaced it with a list titled Professors to Avoid.[17][18]

Islamist Watch[edit]

On April 21, 2006, the Middle East Forum launched Islamist Watch,[19] a project that it states "combat[s] the ideas and institutions of nonviolent, radical Islam in the United States and other Western countries. It exposes the far-reaching goals of Islamists, works to reduce their power, and seeks to strengthen moderate Muslims."

According to the organization's website, Islamist Watch seeks to educate the government, media, religious institutions, the academy, and the business world about lawful Islamism. It focuses on the political, educational, cultural, and legal activities of Islamists in the United States and, to a lesser degree, in other historically non-Muslim countries, especially Western Europe, Canada, and Australia.[20] Islamist Watch does not focus on counter terrorism and only indirectly concerns Islamism in Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, and its three main "activities" include "research, advocacy, and activism."[20]

In 2012, Marc Fink became the director of Islamist Watch.

The Legal Project[edit]

The Middle East Forum established the Legal Project in June 2007 to protect researchers, analysts, and activists who work on radical Islam and related topics from predatory lawsuits designed to silence their exercise of free speech.[21]

According to the Legal Project's website, it acts in four ways to counteract Islamist threats to free speech, "Fundraising for an Escrow account to supplement the court costs and litigation fees for victims of Islamist lawfare (all funds raised go directly to lawfare victims); Arranging for pro bono and reduced rate counsel for victims of Islamist lawfare; Maintaining an international network of attorneys dedicated to working pro bono in the defense of free speech; and, Raising awareness about the issue. Efforts include briefings by legal experts on how to avoid libelous statements, and consultations with libel lawyers before publishing on certain topics."[21]

Middle East Intelligence Bulletin[edit]

The Middle East Intelligence Bulletin was jointly published by the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon and the Middle East Forum. It was, from 1999 to 2004, a free monthly publication that provided analysis of political and strategic developments in Lebanon, Syria, and the Middle East.[22]

The staff included:[22] Gary C. Gambill as editor and Daniel Pipes and Ziad K. Abdelnour as publishers. The editorial board included Thomas Patrick Carroll, Michael Rubin and Youssef Haddad. Mahan Abedin served as London correspondent.

Israel Victory Project[edit]

The Israel Victory Project, launched in 2017, is an initiative aimed at securing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by putting pressure on Palestinians to end anti-Israel terrorism and acknowledge Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state, rather than through bilateral negotiations. Daniel Pipes has stated that "Peace is not made with enemies; peace is made with former enemies."[23][24][25]


According to a report by the Center for American Progress published in 2011, the two main contributors to the Middle East Forum were Donors Capital Fund and the William Rosenwald Family Fund.[26]

Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative reported in 2018 that the MEF had received millions of dollars from Donors Capital Fund ($6,768,000), the William Rosenwald Family Fund, the Middle Road Foundation, and the Abstraction Fund.[27]

Support for Tommy Robinson[edit]

In 2018, the MEF stated that it had been "heavily involved"[4] in the release from prison of British anti-Islam activist and far-right political operative[28] Tommy Robinson, who is best known as a co-founder, former spokesman and former leader of the English Defence League (EDL) organisation, and for his service as a political adviser to the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Gerard Batten.[29] They revealed that "the full resources of the Middle East Forum were activated to free Mr. Robinson",[4] which included: conferring with Robinson's legal team and providing necessary funds; funding, organizing and staffing the "Free Tommy" London rallies on June 9 and July 14, which was, they claim, reported by The Times, The Guardian, and The Independent; funding travel of the US congressman, Rep. Paul Gosar, Republican from Arizona, to London to address the rallies; and lobbied Sam Brownback, the State Department's ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, to raise the issue with the UK's ambassador, which he did.[4][30] The MEF has itself been considered a part of the counter-jihad movement.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Middle East Forum" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  2. ^ MacFarquhar, Neil (March 14, 2007). "Scrutiny Increases for a Group Advocating for Muslims in U.S." The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Middle East Forum" listed in "Search Results" and "Resource Library" on the website of the Foreign Policy Association; cf. organization website for Meforum.org, Middle East Forum, one of DanielPipes.org", "Daniel Pipes's websites" (incl. its "Mission" statement), all accessed February 24, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d Gregg Roman, News from the Middle East Forum (1 August 2018). "Tommy Robinson Free – MEF Heavily Involved". Middle East Forum. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  5. ^ Daniel Pipes, "The MEF Mission", danielpipes.org (personal organization website of Daniel Pipes), n.d., accessed February 17, 2007.
  6. ^ "Donate to The Legal Project". www.meforum.org.
  7. ^ "Will Obama Stand With Geert Wilders?". canadafreepress.com.
  8. ^ a b MacEoin, Denis (2009-01-01). "Editors' Note: On Peer Review". Middle East Quarterly. 16 (Winter): 3.
  9. ^ Biography of Efraim Karsh; Middle East Forum
  10. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (2002-09-30). "Mau-mauing the Middle East". Salon. Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  11. ^ Bail, Christopher (2014). Terrified : how anti-Muslim fringe organizations became mainstream. Princeton University Press. pp. 29–30. ISBN 978-0-691-15942-3.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Middle East Quarterly". MIAR: Information Matrix for the Analysis of Journals. University of Barcelona. Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  13. ^ "Source details: Middle East Quarterly". Scopus Preview. Elsevier. Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  14. ^ Qtd. from "Mission Statement," in "About Campus Watch", Campus Watch (campus-watch.org), n.d., accessed February 17, 2007.
  15. ^ "Who's Who at Campus Watch", Middle East Forum (meforum.org), n.d., accessed September 15, 2022.
  16. ^ Tanya Schevitz, "Professors Want Own Names Put on Mideast Blacklist", San Francisco Chronicle September 28, 2002, accessed February 17, 2007.
  17. ^ Tanya Schevitz, "'Dossiers' Dropped from Web Blacklist", San Francisco Chronicle October 3, 2002, accessed February 17, 2007.
  18. ^ Hussam Ayloush, "Column a Slur on Muslim Community", Orange County Register December 1, 2002, accessed February 17, 2007.
  19. ^ "Islamist Watch". Islamist Watch.
  20. ^ a b "Islamist Watch" (information page), Middle East Forum, n.d., accessed February 17, 2007.
  21. ^ a b Gambill, Gary C. "Middle East Intelligence Bulletin (MEIB)". United States Committee for a Free Lebanon and the Middle East Forum. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  22. ^ Seaman, Daniel. "Missing from the election buzz: How to end the conflict". JNS.org. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  23. ^ ""Israel Victory Project" launches new round on Israeli campuses". Israel National News. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Daniel Pipes and the Israel Victory Project - Arab-Israeli Conflict - Jerusalem Post". www.jpost.com. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  25. ^ Center for American Progress, The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America, 2011
  26. ^ "Middle East Forum | Factsheet: Islamophobia | The Bridge Initiative". Bridge Initiative. Georgetown University. 14 August 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  27. ^ *"UK far-right figure Tommy Robinson jailed for contempt". Business Insider. 29 May 2018. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  28. ^ "The EDL – Britain's Far Right Social Movement" (PDF). Radicalism and New Media Research Group, University of Northampton, 22 September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  29. ^ Bailey, Luke (14 July 2018). "This hardline US conservative think tank says it's funding Tommy Robinson rallies in the UK". iNews.
  30. ^ Perwee, Ed (2020). "Donald Trump, the anti-Muslim far right and the new conservative revolution". Ethnic and Racial Studies. 43:16 (16): 211–230. doi:10.1080/01419870.2020.1749688. S2CID 218843237.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]