John B. Quigley, Ohio State University law professor, has associated with several anti-Israel groups conveying deceptive messages. With some of these groups, the deception begins with what they call themselves. Examples: American Educational Trust (AET), Council for the National Interest (CNI) and Institute for Research – Middle Eastern Policy (IRMEP). The misleadingly named “American Educational Trust” was founded (according to its blurb) “by retired U.S. Foreign Service officers [mainly anti-Israel Arabists] to provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.”
Quigley’s most recent anti-Israel propagandizing, however, is in a newspaper column seemingly unconnected to any of these groups. The column was distributed by the Tribune Content Agency (TCA) syndication company which is owned by Tribune Publishing. The Chicago Tribune, carried the column on April 18, 2019 under the title: “Con: Talk of looming major attacks is overblown.” The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) carried the same column on April 18 under the title “Claims of looming major attacks by Islamic State [ISIS terrorist entity] are overblown.” The Miami Herald carried the column on April 23 under the title of “Despite panicked predictions, ISIS is not a threat to the West.” The column was also carried by numerous lesser known newspapers.
• In 2019, in his widely distributed April syndicated opinion piece about ISIS, Quigley states that claims of an imminent ISIS resurgence in the Middle East “are overblown” but, he argues, this is likely to change if U.S. support of Israeli actions continues. This is, at the least, misleading. It’s well known that ISIS is driven by an obsessive need to create a worldwide Islamic caliphate with Sharia law imposed upon all human beings. In this scenario, particular Israeli actions and U.S. support do not lead to either a resurgence of ISIS or a discernible recruitment increase judging from the tepid (at the most) reaction to U.S./Israel events (Jerusalem embassy move, Golan Heights declaration). What has reversed ISIS’ successes and continues to prevent its resurgence is the opposition of a potent armed force and effective military intelligence wielded by the United States and its allies.
In his concluding statement Quigley echoes the false “war crimes” charge against Israel and makes other dubious claims:
Trump unfortunately has a knack for giving ISIS issues to use to incite against the United States. Last year, as Israeli snipers shot 6,000 Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border — shootings that the UN called “war crimes” — Trump insisted that Israel was doing nothing wrong.
Last May, Trump moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a city that few in the Arab world see as belonging to Israel. More recently, Trump said that Israel owns the Golan Heights which it seized from Syria in 1967. Actions like these are a gift to ISIS.
Even though ISIS is weakened, it remains a force. We should stop helping it recruit.
CAMERA’s report on the April piece noted that Quigley had echoed the U.N. Human Rights Council’s charge of “6,000 Palestinian protesters” shot (over a period of time) at the Gaza Strip border. But the accuracy of this charge is unreliable. Note that UNHRC has received widespread international criticism for its anti-Israel bias. Even its own founder makes this charge.
The false “war crimes” charge against Israel is not new. But Israeli tactics and actions have not changed since General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2014, refuting similar false war crimes charges against Israel, commended the Jewish state. Likewise, Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, refuted the false war crimes charges against Israel. The report also showed how Quigley grossly exaggerated any negative impact of the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
• In 2014, Quigley bashed Israel as a featured speaker at the “National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel ‘Special Relationship’” which was run by notoriously anti-Israel groups such as Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA).:
• In 1997, numerous charges by Quigley condemning Israel were refuted in a lengthy American University Law Review piece by Professor Louis René Beres of Purdue University. Beres wrote:
Professor Quigley maintains that the Oslo Accords “offer the Palestinians much less than which they are legally entitled.” He bases this position on problematic allegations of a Palestinian majority population “in Palestine.” Leaving aside the very questionable nature of his demographic argument (ie., the assertion that current Palestinians are descendants “from the ancient Canaanites”), Professor Quigley conveniently ignores the fact that almost one million Palestinians are now full citizens of Israel (a condition that is hardly mirrored in the Arab world, where 900,000 Jews were slaughtered and expelled after 1948). Professor Quigley also ignores the fact that it is the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who cling relentlessly to the idea of Jihad or holy war. Professor Quigley, in advocating Palestinian legal claims, fails to recall that the PLO urged Saddam Hussein to launch annililatory attacks upon Israel during the 1991 Gulf War. At the same time that Arafat embraced Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, he sent units of the Palestinian Liberation Army (“PLA”) to assist with the inter-Arab killing, rape, and torture of Kuwaitis.
• In 1992, a Quigley report condemning Israel was refuted in a Duke University law paper by Professor Eugene V. Rostow, who was Dean of Yale Law School and served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Rostow wrote,
After a thin, questionable, and incomplete review of the events surrounding the opening moments of the Six Day War in June, 1967, Quigley concludes that Israel did indeed fire the first shot, and therefore should be quarantined or bombed and invaded until it purges itself of aggression – at least by evacuating the territories it occupied during the Six Day War. Unless this is done, Quigley concludes, the United States and the United Nations Security Council (Security Council) will stand condemned for applying a double standard in their interpretation and application of the Charter. The definition of aggression in international law is hardly the simplistic formula that Quigley advocates. Aggression is a complex phenomenon which appears in many factual contexts…
But, even if one could accept Quigley’s rule for a moment, he is wrong about who fired the first shot in the Six Day War. The Quiglean first shot was Egypt’s use of force in May 1967 to seize the Straits of Tiran and close that international waterway to Israeli cargo and shipping.’ The second “shot” of the war was the mobilization of Arab armed forces around Israel, carried out by Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria. Syria joined the fray later in the week of active hostilities. As Quigley implies, international law has always considered the mobilization of troops to be both a threat to and a breach of the peace in international law which justifies the use in self-defense of whatever amount of force is reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
Israel’s action in June 1967 was a reasonably proportionate defensive response to an armed attack. The attack consisted in the first instance of the closing of the Straits of Tiran and a huge Arab mobilization all around Israel, backed by violent calls for a Holy War to destroy Israel.
In any event, Quigley is wrong about the first shot on the Sinai front, and about United States complicity in the war. I can attest from personal knowledge that neither Johnson nor Rusk knew that Israel intended an immediate attack on the large and growing Arab forces in the Desert and their air support in Egypt.
Quigley’s penchant for misinformation and propaganda is clearly shown in 2018 and 2014 speeches and 2019, 1997 and 1992 writings and statements.
The most widely accepted journalistic code of ethics is that of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). The SPJ code includes these elements routinely violated by Quigley:
• Journalists should take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.
• Journalists should provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.
• Journalists should diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.
The bottom line: Quigley’s history shows that any speech or writing by him is likely to contain disinformation particularly regarding Israel and U.S. policy. Therefore, legitimate groups and publications would do well to beware of the propagandizing professor.