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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Brandeis University’

(Even More of) 2013′s Bright Pro-Israel Lights on US Campuses

Monday, January 6th, 2014

There were so many new and/or successful pro-Israel initiatives on U.S. campuses in 2013, that, in order to explain how creative and successful each one was, we had to divide the article into a two-part series.

This is the second part, the first ran on December 31, “Guess What: 2013 was a Great Pro-Israel Year on US Campuses!

Most of the stars reported here were born out of some stalwart’s refusal to allow the anti-Israel forces to get away with the kind of mischief they have enjoyed for far too long on far too many campuses.

Hat’s off to the initial seven and to the following five:

8.  A brand new, student conceived of and run organization was created in late 2013 in response to a specific event, but so generalizable, it’s a surprise it took this long for pro-Israel students on U.S. campuses to create.

The name of this new initiative is Students for Accuracy about Israeli and Palestinian Affairs. According to Daniel Mael, co-founder and Brandeis University junior from Newton, Massachusetts, SAIPA was not created as a “hasbara” organization. Instead, it is intended to ensure that public conversations or events about the Arab-Israeli conflict take place before an audience that has been provided with accurate facts and appropriate context.

Think of SAIPA as a CAMERA-like organization that deals with campus events about the Middle East, rather than with media coverage of the Middle East.

Mael, whose op-ed in The Jewish Press described a pro-Israel event at Brandeis last spring that went wrong and which was one of the main inspirations for SAIPA, and co-founder and fellow Brandesian Guy Morag launched SAIPA in October. It became an approved student organization at Brandeis in December.

9. Tammy Rossman-Benjamin teaches Hebrew Language at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  A few years ago she and a colleague, Leila Beckwith, started the AMCHA Initiative, the mission of which is to  investigate, document, educate about, and combat antisemitism on U.S. college campuses.  If this list were not year-specific, the AMCHA Initiative would be on the list. But what Rossman-Benjamin did in her personal capacity in 2013 has earned her a spot.

The Hebrew professor originally filed a Complaint alleging anti-Jewish discrimination by California colleges in 2009.  But the Office of Civil Rights, the entity which has jurisdiction over such claims, rejected Rossman-Benjamin’s complaint and two others alleging anti-Semitism at California campuses this summer.  Rossman-Benjamin refused to accept the dismissal.

The mistakes made by the OCR which Rossman-Benjamin pointed out in the appeal she filed in October – ones that are made constantly and nearly universally by academic institutions – is the confusion between “free speech” and “academic freedom” to make horrible, false statements about Jews and/or the Jewish state, and support of such events by the academic institutions themselves.  The latter constitutes an element of discriminatory harassment, one that is not blanketed with immunity with constitutional protections, even when those may at times may be applicable for individual speakers.

So whether the Office of Civil Rights is willing to recognize Rossman-Benjamin’s painstakingly thorough appeal as valid, her efforts to require academic institutions as well as the U.S. Office of Civil Rights to apply appropriate legal standards and offer legal protection to victims of anti-Semitic activities on U.S. campuses is heroic and a model to be emulated.

10. An example of pro-Israel (or simply anti-anti-Semitic) activity similar to Rossman-Benjamin’s was undertaken by several pro-Israel Brooklyn College students who refused to accept their ouster from an anti-Israel event on campus.

On February 7, Brooklyn College hosted an event co-sponsored by its own political science department promoting the economic and legal warfare movement against Israel known as BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel).  Efforts to remove the school’s official promotion of the event went unheeded.

Guess What: 2013 Was a Great Pro-Israel Year on US Campuses!

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

For years those engaged on the pro-Israel side of the battle for hearts and minds of American college students have watched in horror as anti-Israel forces – whether they call themselves “pro-Israel” or not – metastasized on campuses.

The Israel-demonization events, the infiltration by Israel vilifiers into what were formerly at least moderately pro-Israel institutions, and the disruptions of Israeli or pro-Israel events, were met almost always with either complicity or a hands-off response from the academic administrations, faculty, and often eventhe organized Jewish leadership on campuses.

Things were so bad that Arab Israeli journalist Khaled abu Toameh famously wrote that on his speaking tours of U.S. campuses, he found more sympathy for Hamas than he does in Ramallah.

This is how abu Toameh analyzed the ugliness spread across American academia:

What is happening on these campuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the U.S.

But things were beginning to look quite different in 2013.

There has been a sea change on U.S. campuses this year, carried out by those who refused to back down when false claims of Palestinian Arab victimhood or Israeli brutality were raised.

Hallelujah. So we are fortunate to be able to write a list of Top Twelve Pro-Israel Bright Lights on U.S. campuses. What follows is the first installment. Part II will run later this week.

*******

1. Far and away the most significant example of this refusal to accept the tired meme of Israel As The-Worst-Human-Rights-Abuser -And-Biggest-Enemy-of-Peace is The Backlash to the American Studies Association’s vote to boycott Israeli Academic Institutions.  We now know that 95 universities across the United States have rejected and publicly condemned the ASA boycott of Israel.

That includes the most prestigious private schools, state schools, schools at which anti-Israel activity had been flourishing, and almost every other kind of American academic institutions. Condemnations poured in from the likes of Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Yale, University of Chicago, Penn State, Northwestern, Goucher, as well as industry-wide associations of professors and of universities. Several schools, such as Brandeis, Penn State, Kenyon and Indiana University summarily withdrew their membership in the ASA because the boycott so clearly reflected a loss of the association’s mission, an affront to academic freedom and a discriminatory singling out of a single nation for condemnation.

2. and 3. A tie for second place goes to two relatively new leaders of at least nominally Jewish institutions, each of whom staked new ground, rejecting their predecessors’ policies for tolerating abusive positions towards Israel.

Eric Fingerhut became president and CEO of Hillel International this past summer.  For years, many Hillels across the United States have chosen an aggressively passive response to anti-Israel events on campuses, choosing to have their own quiet events instead of confronting viciously anti-Israel events filled with misinformation and lies about the Jewish State. Hillels have even welcomed some of the worst offenders into their buildings or even their own events, in the hopes of showing the enemy that they are really good people. It’s been a disaster.

This past fall the Hillel group at suburban Philadelphia’s Swarthmore College decided it would publicly challenge the pro-Israel guidelines set by Hillel International.  Students bridled against being forbidden the “right” to invite speakers who engage in “demonization, delegitimization or applying double standards to Israel,” or support the economic and legal warfare movement known as the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel.  Swarthmore Hillel students voted unanimously to reject the guidelines and declare theirs an “Open Hillel.” And then they received a surprise.

Brandeis Alumni, Students Protest Pay to Reinharz

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

More than 1,600 alumni and students of Brandeis University and others with ties to the institution have signed an online petition protesting pay to former university president Jehuda Reinharz.

Reinharz reportedly receives more than $600,000 a year in retirement pay and at least $800,000 a year from the Mandel Foundation, which he serves as president. The Boston Globe reported last month that Reinharz has earned at least $1.2 million for part-time advisory work since stepping down as president at the end of 2010.

The petition calls on the university’s board of trustees to institute a policy of transparency regarding past, current, and future executive compensation, and to overhaul its compensation policies.

“We owe a great deal to the university, which taught us the tenets of social justice that continue to influence our lives and careers. We expect to see these values reflected in the decisions the university makes,” the petition says. “The gulf of inequality at Brandeis University is growing.”

The petition also accused the university of undermining “its own values when it prioritizes donor relationships and institutional prestige over student access to scholarship and good stewardship of our communal resources.” It warns: “This path is financially unsustainable and irresponsible.”

Brandeis spokeswoman Ellen de Graffenreid told the Globe that the board is considering making changes to its compensation policies and could vote on a proposal at its next meeting in late January.

The university also acknowledged last week that it paid Reinharz’s wife, Shulamit Reinharz, an extra $30,000 a year for hosting university events and fundraising, in addition to her salary as director of the Women’s Studies Research Center and as a professor of sociology.

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

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

In early November, a rally vilifying Israel and glorifying jihad and martyrdom took place on the campus of Al-Quds University. Following articles about this appearing in various media outlets, there was a public outcry, particularly amongst those in some ways affiliated with American universities that have academic relationships with Al-Quds.

After his initial clumsy public relations move to quell the outcry fizzled, Al-Quds University president Sari Nusseibeh has now moved on to a more subtle form of what still appears to be faux contrition. Al-Quds University, home of the Abu-Jihad Museum, named for one of the most notorious Jew/Israeli/American murderers of all time, will be offering a course this summer on “Hate Speech and Racism.”

Still, this effort is a far more masterful public relations move than Nusseibeh’s original “Blame The ‘Jewish extremists’” for making a big deal about an anti-Israel hate-theater performance on his campus which took place on Nov. 5.

In a move that clearly surprised Nusseibeh, the presidents of two American schools with long-time close links to Al-Quds were not satisfied with his offensive statements and finger-pointing (at Jews!).  As Brandeis President Fred Lawrence said, Nusseibeh’s public response was “unacceptable and inflammatory.”

Because of the rally and Nusseibeh’s response to criticism about it, both Brandeis and Syracuse universities severed their ties to Al-Quds. Brandeis also removed Nusseibeh from the board of advisers of its Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

SPECIAL SUMMER COURSE ON HATE SPEECH ONLY APPEARS IN ENGLISH VERSION WEBSITE

In a move that might be lauded as nearly brilliant by westerners, and a sell-out by his own constituency if word gets out, this coming summer the Al-Quds University will offer a summer course on “Hate Speech.”

In a posting on the English version – and only on the English version – of its website, Al-Quds announced that in June and July of 2014, Al-Quds will be offering a course on Hate Speech and Racism.

Of course nothing at all about the summer course on Hate Speech appears on the main, Arabic language version of the Al-Quds University website. And once you get past the perfectly reasonable-sounding title, a few alarm bells may go off.

For one thing, the course on Hate Speech and Racism which Al-Quds University is offering this summer not only does not appear on the Arabic website for the school, the course will be taught in English.  Given that the vast majority of Al-Quds University students speak Arabic, this program appears to be geared for a special audience, not its regular students.

The Nov. 5 rally that started the whole kerfluffle (which actually was simply a repeat of a similar Jew- and Israel-hating rally which took place on May 10 at Al-Quds University) was held entirely in Arabic.  Do you get the sense that the Hate Speech course is not really directed at the people who glorified martyrdom and trampled on the Israeli flag?

There’s more that should raise the eyebrows of a jaundiced Al-Quds/Nusseibeh watcher.

The announcement of the course refers to the “anti-Israeli para-military” rally which sparked the disruption between Al-Quds and the two American schools.  But the language used still seems to place the onus of blame on the “American Jewish sources” which were “critical” of the rally.

There is no mention in the course description of Nusseibeh’s offensive response to Brandeis President Fred Lawrence which blamed “Jewish extremists” for starting a “vilification campaign” against Al-Quds.  The language is softer, but the blame remains squarely on the Jews. Nusseibeh’s “unacceptable and inflammatory” response to the original situation has softened in tone, but not in spirit.

Members Flee Academic Group Boycotting Israel, May Form New Group

Friday, December 20th, 2013

When the American Studies Association decided to spurn Israel because it disagrees with some of its policies, it should have anticipated that some of its own members might do the same and that it would be on the receiving end.

When a majority of the voting members (only one quarter of those eligible voted) of the American Studies Association voted to ratify a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions, elation broke out amongst the advocates of the economic warfare movement against Israel known as BDS.  BDS stands for the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel.

Given the vagueness of the actual terms of the boycott (it doesn’t apply to most individual Israeli professors and it doesn’t apply to American professors who wish to teach in Israel), and of the goal it seeks to achieve (the resolution talks about ending the “Occupation,” but it cites as its inspiration a Palestinian Arab organization which sees the entire Jewish State as the occupier, not just some towns beyond an imaginary Green Line), perhaps the only thing the ASA boycott may achieve is a dissolution of the American Studies Association.

Already two universities have formally withdrawn their membership from the ASA.

PENN STATE’S AMERICAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT WITHDRAWS FROM ASA

Penn State University, whose American Studies Department is located at its Harrisburg campus, was the first to walk out the door.  Dr. Simon J. Bronner chairs his school’s American Studies Department. He was the editor in chief in 2011 of the Encyclopedia of American Studies – an ASA publication. Bronner  issued a statement announcing his department’s withdrawal from the ASA.

The ASA boycott decision, Bronner wrote, will act to “curtail academic freedom and undermine the reputation of American Studies as a scholarly enterprise.” Bronner went further.  He said that not only will his department drop its ASA membership, he “will encourage others to do so.”

BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY’S AMERICAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT SECEDES FROM ASA

The Brandeis University American Studies Department was the second school to secede from the ASA.

Professor Stephen Whitfield has taught American Studies at Brandeis for more than forty years. He is the Max Richter Professor of American Civilization and the author of eight books dealing with the field of American Studies, along with dozens of scholarly articles, as well as ones of public interest.

The Jewish Press asked Whitfield about his department’s response to the ASA boycott. He responded by email that the vote by the ASA

defies the very purposes of the American Studies Association, which is a scholarly organization–not (as the boycott vote suggests) the conscience of humanity.  The members of the ASA are free–as citizens, as individuals–to take any position they wish on the vexing issues of the Middle East and elsewhere.  But the deepening politicization of the ASA, which ought to ensure that its members feel at home as Americanists regardless of their politics, is deeply offensive, indeed repugnant.

The statement on the Brandeis American Studies Department website announced it will discontinue its affiliation with the ASA. It condemns the boycott vote as a “politicization of the discipline,” and scolded that it was “a rebuke to the kind of open inquiry that a scholarly association should foster.”

We remain committed to the discipline of American Studies but we can no longer support an organization that has rejected two of the core principles of American culture– freedom of association and expression.

ALTERNATIVES TO AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION TO FORM?

In an exchange between Penn State’s Bronner and Prof. William A. Jacobson of Cornell Law School, Bronner hinted that alternative organizations for serious scholars in the discipline who want to concentrate on American Studies rather than contemporary politics may be forming.

Abbas Honors Al-Quds U ‘Hero’ Responsible for Most Dead Jews

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

The acting leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has awarded the Star of Honor to the arch terrorist known as Abu Jihad, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch on Dec. 11. The PA isn’t the only Palestinian Arab institution to honor this mass murderer. So does the former partner of Brandeis University: Al-Quds University.

Abu Jihad, whose nom not de guerre was Khalil Al-Wazir, was responsible for the murder of 124 Israelis. He was  a co-founder of Fatah, he was its military strategist and he was the second-in-command to Yassir Arafat. Abu-Jihad helped form the Shabibah – the Fatah Youth Movement. The Shabibah formed the nucleus for the first “intifada.”

Abu Jihad is significant not only for the many Israelis whose lives he cut short, but also because he was involved in some of the most heinous murders, including the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre, in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered, and the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, in which 38 civilians were murdered, including 11 children.

It was not only the number of Israelis Abu-Jihad murdered that makes him so special to the Palestinian Arab leaders. Abu-Jihad also was responsible for the torture and murder of two American diplomats in Khartoum, in 1973.

He was part of the team that kidnapped, tortured and then murdered two American diplomats, U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel and Charge d’Affaires George Curtis Moore, in Khartoum, Sudan, in 1973.

Those diplomats were kidnapped in order to force a trade in which the U.S. would release prisoner Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestinian Arab who murdered American Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. The deal went bad and the diplomats were murdered.

In the ceremony marking the posthumous awarding of the Star of Honor to Abu Jihad, Abbas signed a decree describing the esteem in which Abu Jihad, mass murderer of athletes, children, and American diplomats:

in recognition of his honorable national role and his history of struggle as one of the founding leaders of the Palestinian revolution, and out of great appreciation for his high position and significance in the defense of Palestine as a country, a nation, and a cause. He was the model of a true fighter and devoted leader [and] through his commitment and contribution he left his mark on the history of the Palestinian revolution and the PLO.

But the honorifics bestowed on Abu Jihad’s widow and the glorification of his murderous past is not limited to the Palestinian Arab leader Abbas.

BRANDEIS FACULTY REPORT WHITEWASHES AL-QUDS UNIVERSITY LONG HISTORY OF HONORING TERRORISM

The Palestinian Arab university, Al-Quds, the one from which Brandeis University recently severed its ties, also glorifies the mass murderer Abu Jihad.  It is at Al-Quds University that the Abu Jihad Museum, originally known as the Al-Quds Abu-Jihad Center for Political Prisoners, is located.

Arab Palestinian political prisoners, of course, are those terrorists who have been caught. The official university website explained that the Center is named for Khalel Al-Wazir. His nickname, Abu-Jihad, means “father of the holy war.”

Abu Jihad is honored by al-Quds University in the way Brandeis honors the scholars and philanthropists whose names grace buildings and research centers on its campus.

But you’d never know this based on the Al-Quds Brandeis Partnership Report authored by several Brandeis faculty members, including Daniel Terris, and released on Monday, Dec. 9.  That report does its best to exonerate Al-Quds University president Sari Nusseibeh in particular, and the university in general.

The Report whitewashes the Nov. 5 demonstration at which Al-Quds students trampled on pictures of the Israeli flag while attired in full military regalia, and sang songs extolling the beauty of martyrdom, and ignores the fact that this demonstration was almost an exact replica of one that took place in the spring, on May 10, as shown in this YouTube video. The excuses offered for the fall demonstration ring particularly hollow given it had already happened before.  And it is just plain hard to ignore the many other ways in which terrorism is glorified at Al-Quds. But the Terris Report manages that feat.

The Terris Report, astonishingly, pooh-poohs the language used by Nusseibeh in his public response to the Nov. 5 demonstration, in which he begins by blaming “Jewish extremists” for inciting criticism against his university. It was that language that Brandeis President Fred Lawrence described as “unacceptable and inflammatory,” and which led to the disruption in the Al-Quds-Brandeis relationship.

It is useful to line up the Nusseibeh statement and its characterization in the Terris Report. One might conclude, based upon its treatment, that the Terris Report was written on behalf of the Al-Quds administration, rather than as an objective factfinding report prepared by Brandeis faculty for the Brandeis administration.

The Terris Report concludes with a call for bravery.  But the bravery this Report calls for is the bravery to overlook the repeated glorification of murderers – murderers of Jews, murderers of Americans, murderers of children – because hey, it’s a tough neighborhood.  “Supporting the Al-Quds University administration in these efforts will take courage on the part of Brandeis University.”

They continue:

We recognize that abhorrent speech events happen on all college campuses, including our own, but these events do not at all speak for the university as a whole; and that universities are charged with the challenge of education students for a civil society in which such acts will not recur. It is thus crucial to exploit such student events as opportunities involving heightened attention to the salience of the values of tolerance rather than as occasions for rupturing a longstanding institutional relationship.

Not surprisingly, there is no mention anywhere in the Terris Report of the longstanding honors paid to Arab mass terrorists at Al-Quds University, in particular the murderers of children, athletes, diplomats or American teenagers.

That would probably require too much courage.

Did Palestinian Media Fabricate ‘Israeli Attack’ on University?

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

In what threatened to become a public battle between two university presidents vying to prove each one’s constituency as the true victim, Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al Quds University, cited what appears to be a completely fabricated news report, one that he would have to know was fabricated. That article described the Israeli army’s “vicious incursion” on Nov. 17, during which Al-Quds students were shot.

Nusseibeh complained that the Brandeis University president “did not express sympathy” for the plight of his university. The president of Brandeis University refused to engage in such a media debate.

Al-Quds University has been the subject of many news articles recently.  Brandeis University, founded in 1948 as a refuge for Jews who were largely shunned elsewhere, began a sister university relationship in 2003 with Al-Quds University, the Palestinian Arab university located in eastern Jerusalem.

The relationship continued for many years, despite numerous examples of Al-Quds University being an institution that honors terrorists who murdered many Israelis, other Jews, and Americans.

However, when a large group of Arabs were photographed during a Nov. 5 demonstration at the Al-Quds campus in paramilitary gear, with arms raised in what resembled a Nazi salute, trampling on pictures of Israeli flags, and honoring suicide bombers, the Brandeis administration finally called for an explanation.

Brandeis’s relatively new president, Frederick Lawrence, contacted his counterpart, Al-Quds University president Sari Nusseibeh, whom he asked to denounce the demonstration, and to do so in both English and Arabic.  Instead, the response Nusseibeh posted on the Al-Quds website and sent to Lawrence, attacked “extremist Jews” for “exploiting” a situation and daring to criticize and delegitimize Al-Quds University.

That was the last straw for Lawrence and for Brandeis University.  The formal relationship between the two universities was suspended by Brandeis on Nov. 18 – not irrevocably, but certainly for the near future.

Because Nusseibeh was the one who issued the insulting statement – truly a slap in the face to President Lawrence as well as anyone else who had sought an explanation for a sister university publicly condoning Israel and Jew hatred – on Nov. 21, Brandeis also removed Nusseibeh from the board of advisors of the Brandeis International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

There were some who were highly critical of Brandeis for disrupting the relationship between the schools, especially those who believe with all their might that the relationship might blossom into closer relations and better understandings between Jews and other Americans and Arab Muslims.

But the president of Al-Quds seemed stunned by Brandeis’s strong-willed response.  An article appeared in the Times of Israel in which Nusseibeh suddenly claimed that he condemned the Nov. 5 demonstration.  But because the public response on the Al-Quds website and its translation which was provided to Brandeis’s Lawrence by Nusseibeh himself was so utterly lacking in contrition, and instead blamed “extremist Jews” for essentially overreacting to something that was unimportant, Lawrence stood firm and refused to undo the separation.

NUSSEIBEH THEN TURNS ON BRANDEIS PRESIDENT

Nusseibeh was not content to simply bide his time and wait until he would likely to be welcomed back into the bosom of Brandeis University, or to some other American universities eager to claim kinship with a real, live Palestinian Arab university.

Nope.

Instead, as reported in the Times of Israel, Nusseibeh then reached out again to its editor in a long email, arguing that Brandeis’s Lawrence had “gone overboard” in response to the Nov. 5 demonstration at Al-Quds.

In what way did Lawrence go overboard?

Well, in addition to suspending the relationship between the two schools and suspending Nusseibeh from the Center for Ethics board, Nusseibeh suggested Lawrence mischaracterized the letter Nusseibeh addressed to his students in response to the demonstration. He wrote that Lawrence “had chosen to read my letter to students as ‘inflammatory.’” In part, Nusseibeh went on, because Lawrence “will not accept that there are such people as ‘Jewish extremists.’”

Brandeis Removes Al Quds’ Nusseibeh From Ethics Center

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

In a move reinforcing the basis for its decision to sever ties with Al-Quds University, Brandeis University issued a statement on Thursday, Nov. 21, that Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University, will be removed from his position on the Advisory Board of the Brandeis International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

Ellen De Graffenreid, senior vice president for communications of the Waltham, Massachusetts Brandeis University, read a statement to The Jewish Press:

President Lawrence has decided that Brandeis University’s suspension of its partnership with Al-Quds University requires that Dr. Nusseibeh not be a member of the Board of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public life. As with the suspension of relations between the two universities, Brandeis will re-evaluate this issue as events may warrant.

BACKGROUND

Nov. 5 Nazi Demo at Al Quds

As has already been widely reported, on Nov. 5 there was a demonstration on the Al-Quds campus that included banners depicting images of “martyred” suicide bombers and Nazi-style salutes.  Once Brandeis officials verified the facts, President Lawrence communicated directly with Nusseibeh and asked that he “issue an unequivocal condemnation of these demonstrations in both Arabic and English.”

Instead, as we reported, the official statement issued by Al-Quds and communicated in English to Lawrence by Nusseibeh, was, in Lawrence’s words, “unacceptable and inflammatory.”

In fact, Nusseibeh refused to either take responsibility for the offensive demonstration, or to distance himself or Al-Quds from it.

What he did instead was blame “extremist Jews” for seizing on the demonstration and starting a “vilification campaign” against Al-Quds. The statement was also critical of the Nazis solely because what they did ended up creating what the Palestinian Arabs refer to as “al Nakba,” that is, the catastrophe: the creation of the State of Israel.

But the official sister university relationship between the two universities was not the only official connection Nusseibeh has to Brandeis.

REMAINING CONNECTION BETWEEN BRANDEIS AND NUSSEIBEH

The Jewish Press contacted Brandeis University administration officials on Tuesday, Nov. 19, the day after the Jewish-sponsored school announced it had severed ties with Al-Quds.

The question to which we sought an answer was whether the person who issued the insulting official Al-Quds statement which led to the “divorce” between the two schools would remain officially affiliated with Brandeis University.

The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life is a Brandeis project which “seeks to develop responses to international conflict and injustice by offering innovative approaches to coexistence, strengthening the work of international courts, and encouraging ethical practice in civic and professional life.”

The Center for Ethics was launched in 1998.  It has three components, in one, Brandeis undergraduates work abroad in NGOs for eight to ten weeks in the summer.  A second component brings together practitioners in the coexistence and conflict field from around the globe to share best practices and develop cooperative projects. A third project was to bring in “distinguished visitors.”

The first “distinguished visitor” brought to Brandeis as part of the Center for Ethics was Sari Nusseibeh.

Nusseibeh and former Brandeis president Yehuda Reinharz have been described as close friends.  Nusseibeh became a member of the Center’s international Advisory Board.  Other members include Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Thomas Buergenthal, former Judge of the International Court of Justice and several jurists and dignitaries from countries such as India, Mauritania, Hungary, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

The Chair of the Center is Justice Richard J. Goldstone (yes, that Goldstone).

PUSHBACK ATTEMPT BY NUSSEIBEH

Based on the length of time it took the University to respond to questions regarding Nusseibeh’s status at the Center for Ethics, it appeared that the answer to the question posed by The Jewish Press – would Nusseibeh remain officially affiliated with Brandeis University – was not clear-cut.

And then on Nov. 20, a media account in the Times of Israel was issued with the curious title “Al-Quds university head condemns Nazi-style demonstration on campus.”

The editor of the Times of Israel, David Horovitz, wrote that he sat with, and asked Nusseibeh point blank, whether Nusseibeh condemned the Nov. 5 demonstration, “Nusseibeh said yes.”

But Horovitz apparently neglected to ask Nusseibeh if that statement was correct, why he issued a public statement blaming “Jewish extremists” and “Jewish opportunists.” Why was Nusseibeh’s statement of contrition only made in private, to a Jewish reporter for a Jewish publication?

The Times of Israel article quotes Nusseibeh: “Needless to say, the event on the campus by this small group — trampling on Israeli flags and behaving as though sympathizing with Nazi or fascist ideology — in no way represents our university values, and we are constantly trying to prevent this kind of thing from happening.”

That statement by Nusseibeh and his prior, official response to the incident don’t match up.

And even in the Times of Israel article, Nusseibeh’s words harken back to the tone of the original public statement.

The Al-Quds president pivoted and suggested that it was the decision by Brandeis which will “strengthen those on the other side who call for boycotts of Israeli universities. It will be picked up by the people who say there is no future in these cooperations [with Israeli institutions]. We have been trying to say it is possible. Yes, there are obstacles but we try to overcome them. We can only overcome them by working together.”

“Hopes for peace” Nusseibeh told Horovitz, “rest on people from both sides who try to hold the reins and steer the whole situation toward ultimate reconciliation, and not allow extremist actions on both sides to blow up the whole thing.”

That’s actually a quote from Nusseibeh.  He’s lecturing Brandeis University on not allowing “extremists” to blow up their good relationship, instead of lecturing the extremists not to blow up anything.

Daniel Mael, a Brandeis junior from Massachusetts was reached mid-day Tuesday afternoon by The Jewish Press.  Upon hearing that Brandeis had chosen to also sever the connection between the school and Nusseibeh, Mael was extremely pleased.

“I told President Lawrence when I saw him at the FIDF dinner in Boston Tuesday night that I was proud of what he and his staff had done,” Mael said.

“I feel this is an appropriate response.  I personally found President Nusseibeh’s statement [on Nov. 18] to be extremely offensive, and this is a necessary course of action.”

 The suggestion by Nusseibeh that the Nov. 5 demonstration was  “inconsistent with the human values we try to teach” at the university and “misrepresented who we are and what we stand for” does not reflect a litany of anti-Israel and pro-terrorist activities at Al-Quds through the years, including naming courses and school buildings after terrorists.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/brandeis-removes-al-quds-nusseibeh-from-ethics-center/2013/11/21/

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