With government approval of its status change, the university in Ariel passed another stage on its way to becoming a fully-accredited university. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the upgrade is an academic necessity, not a political one. “The population growth has created the need for another academic university institution.” At the same time, in private meetings, Ehud Barak has said that “it is not clear why Ariel – yes and Tel Hai – no.”
The battle over Ariel university is over. The government approved the status upgrade of the university center to a full-fledged university. During the debate over the issue, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that it is important for there to be another university in Israel. “I don’t think that seven universities are enough in the State of Israel, that after 40 years, there shouldn’t be another university,” he said.
According to the Prime Minister, “Ariel is an inseparable part of the State of Israel and it will remain an inseparable part of the country in any possible future arrangement, just like all other population blocs. The approval of the Ariel university is part of a series of steps being taken to advance higher education in Israel. This decision is an expression of our confidence in the academic level of the Ariel university.”
At the same time that the Prime Minister was asking cabinet members to approve the status change of the university, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was privately saying that, “it’s not clear why Ariel – yes and Tel Hai – no,” referring to Tel- Hai College, on Israel’s northern border.
At the beginning of the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu stated that the approval of Ariel fills an academic necessity, rather than a political one. “I don’t think that seven universities are sufficient for the State of Israel. There is a need for another one.” Netanyahu said, “After decades during which our population has doubled and tripled, our young people want to acquire university education and I am opposed to the protectiveness of the academic guild.”
Education Minister Gideon Saar has been attempting, for quite some time, to gain the necessary majority in the cabinet to upgrade Ariel to a fully accredited university. “The university met all the necessary criteria and academic standards. I truly believe that the establishment of an eighth university in Israel will strengthen the system of higher education, and I hope the cabinet will make this decision,” he said.
For the past 15 years Abdullah Faarruq was the Muslim chaplain at Northeastern University in Boston. This week, Faarruq was revealed to be an Islamic extremist who encouraged acts of violence and who has publicly supported multiple convicted terrorists. But all traces of Faarruq suddenly disappeared from the Northeastern University website just days after his ties were announced in an article, and just before a shocking and carefully sourced video was released.
Dr. Charles Jacobs, a Boston-area human rights activist and president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, created the video revealing Faarruq as a supporter of convicted Islamic terrorists, such as Aafia Siddiqui, a close associate of the Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
In 2004, FBI Director Robert Mueller described Aafia Siddiqui as one of the seven most wanted Al Qaeda terrorists. Siddiqui, who used to attend Farruuq’s mosque, was also assisted by him in distributing jihadist literature.
In 2008, Siddiqui was arrested in Afghanistan and charged with attempting to use an assault rifle on FBI agents. In her possession were plans for a chemical attack on New York City and a large amount of cyanide. In 2010, she was convicted and sentenced to 86 years in jail.
In lectures around Boston, Faaruuq had called on Boston Muslims to defend Siddiqui because “after they’re finished with Aafia, they’re gonna come to your door.” He told worshippers to not be afraid to “grab onto the gun and the sword, go out into this world and do your job.”
Faarruq has publicly supported other known terrorists, such as Tarek Mehanna. Mehanna who was arrested and convicted in April 2012 on terror charges, including plans to murder American soldiers and politicians, and another plan to attack a mall in Massachusetts, patterned on the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Mehanna had taught evening classes on Islam at Northeastern.
Faarruq is shown with Northeastern students in APT’s video at a rally outside the courthouse where Mehanna was denied bail, in February, 2011. Mehanna was indicted with another man with Northeastern University connections, Ahmad Abusamra. The two considered themselves to be the “media wing” of al Qaeda in Iraq.
On April 3, 2011, the student members of the Islamic Society of Northeastern University, whose spiritual advisor was Faarruq, held a seminar and concert in support of Tarek Mehanna.
Jacobs told The Jewish Press that, although he was “pleased that Northeastern University removed Faarruq from a position of influence over university students,” much more needed to be done.
“It’s very hard to understand why Northeastern administration has for so long tolerated the troubling and extremist influence of Chaplain Faaruuk on Northeastern’s Muslim student organization,” Jacobs said. “Until we began exposing Faaruuq in 2010, the ISNU website openly promoted to Northeastern Muslim students radical books and extremist leaders who call for jihad, the genocide of Jews, and death for homosexuals.
“We are concerned,” Jacobs said, that extremist influence on Muslim students at Northeastern might be a factor in inciting terrorism. Recently another Northeastern graduate, Rezwan Ferdaus, pleaded guilty to plotting an attack on the Pentagon and Capitol buildings in Washington.”
But more importantly, Jacobs made the point that if a person with so many public connections to terrorism has been permitted to mentor students at a place like Northeastern University – “we’re not talking about Irvine, for goodness sake,” then it is clear that “the same kind of thing can happen anywhere.”
Jacobs believes that what happened with Faarruq provides an extremely instructive lesson for everyone who cares about the condition of our universities.
“For one thing,” Jacobs explained, Northeastern had to be aware of Faarruq’s activities, or they are not running a tight ship. “So if they knew, how come no one took any action to put a stop to it?”
It was only the public exposure created by Jacobs’ article and the announced release of a meticulously detailed video that caused action to be taken.
“Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun is a good person. We do not believe he is someone who supported what Faarruq was saying and doing,” explained Jacobs. “But he had to know that if he took action on his own, the blowback would have been enormous, given the heavy influence of political correctness on campuses, and the willingness of Muslims to stand up for their own.
“If people want university officials to take the right action, there has to be pressure,” he continued, “otherwise, unless an administrator is a saint, they will avoid the pain of taking a negative step like removing even someone who is doing things that are clearly wrong.”
Expanding on this theme, Jacobs instructed that “Jews like to believe that it is reason, rather than pressure, that guides action in the world.” However, “that’s just wrong, and, my goodness, we should have learned that long ago.”
When asked whether he thinks, as a general matter, Jews are reluctant to openly pressure decision makers to take action in support of their positions, Jacobs responded affirmatively, and went further: “Jewish communal leadership is weak, they are conflict-averse.” Adding, mostly seriously, he said, “Jews would rather schmooze than fight.”
In response to a request for an interview with Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun regarding the removal of Chaplain Faarruq, the school’s communications director sent the following statement to The Jewish Press:
Northeastern recently reorganized its office of spiritual life to better serve our students and more closely align with our educational mission. The newly created Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service is under the leadership of a new executive director, and we are currently expanding the number and diversity of our spiritual advisers. Some of our previous spiritual advisors, including Abdullah Faaruuq, are no longer affiliated with the university.
The university refused to respond to any other questions surrounding this matter.
Last night, Defense Minsiter Ehud Barak decided that Nitzan Allon, head of the IDF Central Command, will not sign his approval for Ariel University to be recognized as a fully accredited university. This decision brought about a very angry reaction from right wing government factions, Israel Today reported.
In a letter that he sent last night to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Barak indicated that after he had completed the last round of consultations with relevant elements, among them key university heads, the chairman of the board of higher education in Judea and Samaria, chairman of the board of planning and budgeting, Emanuel Trachtenberg and others, he decided to recommend that “the university center in Ariel will not become a full-fledged university prior to the Supreme Court ruling on the matter.”
People in Barak’s circle explained his decision saying that in any case the issue is hanging until it is decided by the Supreme Court, and that until the Supreme Court rules on the matter there is no reason to rush to make the Ariel University a full-fledged university, a step which is the subject of professional controversy.
Barak’s associates added that according to Barak and Netanyahu’s recommendation, if the Supreme Court approves the transformation of the Ariel center into a full-fledged university, the matter will be presented for a joint decision before all the cabinet ministers.
Yesterday, Minister of Education Gideon Saar said, “This is an obvious maneuver by Barak to try and delay the recognition of Ariel as a university. It’s possible that the Supreme Court will wait for the signature of the Head of the Central Command before conducting a judicial review. The head of the Central Command is supposed to be directed by the government in this matter and not by the Minister of Defense.“
According to the Peace Now Movement, “Barak’s decision is bringing back sane priorities to the government. The decision to transform the Ariel college into a proper university is not essential and doubtfully legal.”
Coalition chairman MK Zev Elkin said that “Barak is making illegal use of his authority. This coalition may consider itself no longer obligated to adhere to agreements which are important to Barak and his party.”
The Ariel University Center stated that “we expect the Prime Minister to exercise leadership and to complete the process which began with a government decision in 2005, and to put into effect the decision giving permanent recognition to the center as a full-fledged university.”
A Jewish student at Michigan State University said he was attacked at an off-campus party in what he is calling a hate crime.
But the East Lansing Police Department said Tuesday that a preliminary investigation has determined that the incident two days earlier likely was not a hate crime, The State News reported. The police reportedly spoke with two witnesses and have identified a potential suspect who does not live in the area.
Zach Tennen, 19, said that just before Sunday’s assault, his attackers asked him if he was Jewish and that he answered in the affirmative, according to reports. Tennen, a resident of suburban Detroit and a sophomore at the university, told WDIV-TV in Detroit that his attackers also “were making Nazi and Hitler symbols and they said they were part of the KKK.”
Tennen, whose jaw was broken in the attack near MSU’s East Lansing campus, was knocked unconscious. The assailants stapled his mouth shut through his gums.
Others at the party watched as Tennen called a taxi to take him to the hospital. His mouth was surgically wired shut.
His family has called the Anti-Defamation League regarding the assault. Tennen plans to return to classes in a week.
The university in an email statement referred all questions about the police investigation to East Lansing Police, as the incident occurred off campus.
“Michigan State University’s Student Affairs and Services office has reached out to the family of the student who said he was assaulted in East Lansing to provide the academic and other support the student needs,” the statement also said.
Monday night, Bar Ilan University president Professor Moshe Kaveh informed lawyers representing the committee of heads of Israeli universities that he is withdrawing Bar Ilan University from the petition to the Supreme Court to annul Ariel University’s accreditation, Walla reported.
The Committee responded that it was sorry that Bar Ilan gave in to political pressure.
The petition was submitted after all the university directors, including Professor Kaveh, who met at the beginning of the month and agreed to pursue it. But, according to an inside source, Bar Ilan’s directors have been under pressure by right wing political figures as well as supporters of the university to retract their name from the petition.
The committee of heads of Israeli universities said it was “very sorry that political pressure caused Bar Ilan University to remove its name from the petition which had already been approved by the university’s president and rector. We are sure that the defense minister will wait for the Supreme Court decision on the matter and will not give in to coalition pressures.”
The universities are planning to continue to advance the petition.
“After it became clear that the university heads were required to sign on a separate power of attorney for each university to submit the petition, Bar Ilan’s president Professor Kaveh announced that he is opposed to it and will not sign the power of attorney for two reasons: Bar Ilan University helped to establish the institution in Ariel and provided it with academic sponsorship for many years; and Bar Ilan signed an academic cooperation agreement with the institution for joint guidance/training of Ph.D. candidates at Ariel university.
What’s great about the following story is that it shows how diverse academic institutions can act together to achieve a common goal. In the end, when the need arises, differences are dropped and a rare unity can be achieved. If these same institutions collaborated this way on other issues, who knows, we could have an Israeli mission to Mars, if not farther away.
The only downside is that these exulted academic institutions are working in concert to decimate another academic institution, for its original sin of standing close to ten miles east of the “green line,” or the armistice line, where the Jordanian Legion and the IDF interrupted the hostilities in 1949.
Now the fight against the recognition of Ariel University Center as a full-fledged academic institution comes to the High Court: the Hebrew University, the Technion, Tel Aviv University, the Weizmann Institute, Bar Ilan University (way to go, frum brethren), Haifa University, Ben Gurion University and the Open University have filed a petition to nullify the decision to establish a university in Ariel.
The petition was filed against a long list of plaintiffs: the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria, the IDF command in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli government, the Minister of Defense, Minister of Finance, Minister of Education, the Council for Higher Education (CHE), Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) and the Ariel University Center in Samaria.
The petition claims that the decision to recognize the University Center as a university is rife with defects and exceeds the authority of the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria. It also claims that the decision is “extremely unreasonable and unacceptable.”
But read the signs carried recently by left-wing Ariel haters, seen in the image above. They tell the real story, with messages like: “Ariel is not Israel,” “University for Occupation Sciences,” and “Don’t let the Settler’s State take over the State of Israel.”
According to the petitioners, there is no need to establish a Hebrew-speaking university in Judea and Samaria, since only 15% of the students are residents of the area.
Yes, it must be the Hebrew.
Just take a look at the number of universities in Judea and Samaria, and the list does not include colleges and other higher education institutions:
Arab American University
Al-Quds Open University
An-Najah National University
Palestine Polytechnic University
Al Ahlia University of Palestine
Have you heard anything said, ever, about the legitimacy of these institutions? Do you know why? Because they don’t teach in Hebrew. It’s the Hebrew thing, every time.
If only the founders of that hated institution had the sense to call it Arial Madrassa…
A professor of World Arts and Culture who specializes in Native American cultures at the University of California at Los Angeles, David Delgado Shorter, has been given the official green light to continue using university resources to promote the boycott of Israel by the university’s Committee on Academic Freedom.
Several months ago a California-based group focused on protecting Jewish students from academic anti-Semitism, AMCHA, learned from UCLA students that Shorter prominently features links to the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel on his official class website. The students who brought the anti-Israel concerns to AMCHA were too worried about retribution to complain either to Shorter or to anyone else at UCLA.
The founders of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel have openly stated that their ultimate goal is the dismantling of the Jewish State. Hannah Rosenthal, the U.S. State Department’s former Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, has called their campaign anti-Semitic. It is AMCHA’s position that all boycotts of Israel are deliberate assaults on the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
AMCHA took the students’ information and approached UCLA administrators, asking whether UCLA considered it within the parameters of academic freedom to promote the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. According to Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Lecturer in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University of California Santa Cruz, and co-founder of AMCHA’s Investigative Taskforce on Campus Antisemitism, there was never any intention to either censor or punish Shorter. They simply wanted to know, on the record, the answer to their question.
And now they do.
In a letter to Shorter dated July 9, 2012, the UCLA Academic Senate CAF determined that promoting the boycott of Israel on a professor’s class website was “consistent with professional standards,” and therefore that Shorter’s promotion of that boycott, in the context of his classroom, would be protected by UCLA.
AMCHA points out that such a position conflicts with the UCLA Regents Policy on Course Content, which states that the misuse of the classroom for “political indoctrination” constitutes misuse of the University as an institution. Shorter’s promotion of the academic boycott of Israel on his UCLA class website also appears to be a clear violation of the California Education Code , which prohibits the use of the name of any UC campus for the support, endorsement, or advancement of political or partisan activity or program, with “boycott” specifically named.
But the UCLA CAF was not content to simply exonerate Shorter. Instead, much of its two page letter to Shorter excoriated Leuchter for listening to an “outside group.” Apparently the UCLA CAF imposes the same stringent standards for filing complaints as do United States courts: “The only parties who should have the standing to complain about whether the content of a course threatens academic freedom are members of the University directly affected by the content of a course (e.g., students or teaching assistants).”
Efforts to reach a member of the University of California Board of Regents have not yet been successful.