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Clever PR Move: Al-Quds University Offers Course on Hate Speech

Offering a summer course on hate speech that is only mentioned on its English website, will only be offered in English, and which focuses on "ethnic cleansing and genocide" suggests Al-Quds University is looking to score PR points but is unrepentant for harboring terrorist celebrations.


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The English language version of the Al-Quds University website announces it will have a summer course on Hate Speech and Racism

The English language version of the Al-Quds University website announces it will have a summer course on Hate Speech and Racism
Photo Credit: al-Quds University website



Oddly, the Al-Quds Hate Speech course announcement also mentions that it came about in part in response to “various Jewish-sponsored Schools in the United States with whom Al-Quds University has been building bridges over the past two decades have decided to cut their ties with the University.”  While Brandeis is a school originally sponsored by the Jewish community, the only other school that cut ties with Al-Quds is Syracuse University.  Syracuse is hardly a “Jewish-sponsored” school.

Here is the language used to describe the school and the Hate Speech course on the Al-Quds English version of its website:

In the same spirit of bridge-building that has guided the University over the past two decades, Al-Quds University has decided to hold a special English-speaking summer course June/July 2014 to discuss ways of combating hate-speech and racism, with special emphasis on some of its gruesome consequences, such as wars, ethnic cleansing and genocide, for both its students as well as for a limited number of students from the United States and Europe.

We should all be wary of the words “ethnic cleansing and genocide.” In the war of demonization of Israel, language is one of the primary weapons.  The term “ethnic cleansing” and the word “genocide” are ones routinely and virtually exclusively used by people who seek to vilify Israel, claiming that Israel engages in both “ethnic cleansing” and in “genocide,” with respect to the Palestinian Arab population.

If this course is one in which the Hate Speech and Racism that will be addressed is the fabricated anti-Arab acts by Israel, the course may well do more to split apart the erstwhile partner schools and other interested parties than even the Nov. 5 rally and its aftermath accomplished.

The announcement also publicly informs the reader that Al-Quds “will invite prominent experts to deliver lectures in this course, and will extend an invitation to its critics, including the President of Brandeis, Dr. Frederick Lawrence, to participate.”  Let’s hope the invitation was made privately, first, but given that the language used in this particular sentence is in the future tense, it seems unlikely.

President Lawrence could not be reached before publication of this article.  Either way, naming President Lawrence on the website announcement as someone who will be invited to speak at the course merely adds to the sense that this course is purely a public relations move.

Including as a consultant for the course Professor Yair Auron from the Open University of Israel is certainly an interesting and smart move. Prof. Auron is an expert on the Armenian genocide. However, the focus on genocide again sends a strong signal that Israel is the one likely to be portrayed as the sole aggressor in this course.

OFFERING A COURSE ON HATE SPEECH DOES NOT UNDO THE DECADES OF TERRORISM GLORIFICATION AT AL-QUDS UNIVERSITY

But this is key: the Al-Quds administration describes the school as having been guided by a “bridge-building” spirit for the past two decades. The reality is far different.  Over the course of the past two decades, Al-Quds has engaged repeatedly in the glorification of Palestinian Arab terrorism and of lionizing the most monstrous murderers of Jews, Israelis and Americans.

So long as there remains an Al-Quds Abu Jihad Museum, which honors a man responsible for the murder of scores of Jewish and American children, women, athletes, diplomats and other humans, is Al-Quds really a place with which Brandeis University or any other freedom and justice-loving institution should engage?

So long as Al-Quds is a university in which a huge banner was unabashedly hung to honor Sami Salim Hammad, a former Al-Quds student, because he blew himself up in Tel Aviv, killing 11 people – including an American teenager – and ended his own life, should American universities partner with it?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


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