New York – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the formal relationship that Brandeis University has developed with Al-Quds University, a Palestinian educational institution in eastern Jerusalem, whose website denies the Jewish historical connection with Jerusalem and promotes other falsehoods. Brandeis is being funded as part of a $500,000 Ford Foundation Grant meant to bolster Al-Quds University through various programs. Brandeis International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, which has coordinated Al-Quds visitors programs, also includes Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh on its advisory board.
Nusseibeh is often falsely presented as a Palestinian moderate but, as ZOA revealed in October 2002, Nusseibeh has actually demonized Israelis, praised jihad fighters and justified the killing of so-called Palestinian collaborators. He has also explained that purely tactical reasons he once signed a petition calling for a halt to Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. Moreover, Nusseibeh was arrested by Israel in January 1991 for collecting security information for Iraqi intelligence.
A perusal of Al-Quds University website page dedicated to Jerusalem History indicates that the university publicizes propaganda aimed at denying Jewish history and especially the Jewish connection with the land of Israel and Jerusalem, thereby fostering extremism and hatred of Israel.
The statements that appear on the Al-Quds website are similar to claims made by Palestinian officials, including Yasser Arafat, who refused to make peace with Israel in 20002 and told President Clinton that Jerusalem had no connection to Judaism. Arafat also said in an October 2002 interview that, For 34 years [the Israelis] have dug tunnels [around the Temple Mount]…they found not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there, because historically the Temple was not in Palestine [at all]. They found only remnants of a shrine of the Roman Herod… They are now trying to put in place a number of stones so that they can say We were here. This is nonsense. I challenge them to bring a single stone from the Temple of Solomon. (Al-Hayat (London), October 5, 2002, translation courtesy of MEMRI).
Examples of the falsehoods on Jewish history on Al Quds Universitys official website include:
- The salem in the name Jerusalem does not come from the Hebrew word for peace, but allegedly from Shalim, a Canaanite deity associated with the citys founding by Jebusites.
- King David never existed, except in myth and that Israeli efforts to connect the city with David are intended to formalize connections between present Jews or Israelis and that idealized biblical community called Israelites … [others] now confirm that David never existed as a tribal chief — except in the huge realm of legend … Jerusalem has no trace at all of a person called King David.
- These facts are known among Israeli academicians, but some are afraid it is a threat to the legitimacy of Israels creation.
- Extensive Israeli excavations [under the Temple Mount] have threatened the foundations beneath the Dome [of the Rock] complex.
- Israel also continues to impose other changes in demography and geography, altering facts that took millennia to accumulate. Populations are imported and local inhabitants dislocated.
- The conquest as described in Joshua never occurred.
- The Exodus story is nothing more than Canaanite cultural memory appropriated by Israelites as their tradition.
- The Al Aqsa Mosque is not built on the ruins of the Jewish Temple.
- The First Temple never existed: What is called the first temple, associated with the legendary Solomon, was in fact a pre-monotheistic place where many gods were worshipped.
- The Palestinians are descended from the original Canaanites and are thus the natives of the land: The people of
- Palestine may have become more mixed with each consecutive conquest, or may have changed religions, but essentially (especially in villages) the population remained constant-and is now still Palestinian, though many villagers were tragically dislocated in the 1948 Nakba.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We are shocked that Brandeis University, which is named after one of the greatest Zionist figures in this country, should wish to be associated with Al-Quds University, which unashamedly promotes on its website denial of the history of Israel and the Jewish people, thus undermining Jewish rights to the land. Al-Quds University, as the quotes above show, essentially engages in the same denial of Jewish history as Yasser Arafat and other anti-Semites. A major Jewish university such as Brandeis should be especially sensitive to Jewish sensibilities and be careful not to bestow respectability to a university that promotes anti-Israel and anti-Jewish falsehoods.
This is straightforward propaganda. It has nothing to do with genuine scholarship and has no place on the website of a university. It is deeply troubling that Al-Quds University has been able to maintain this website and deepen its connections with other institutions, including Brandeis University, without being held to account for promoting false claims about Jewish history. Al-Quds University is basically saying on this website that the Jews are a fraudulent people with no connection to their historical homeland. Al-Quds University does not deserve an association with any university that deals with genuine scholarship when it promotes falsehood and hatred.
Brandeis University should have been aware of the nature of the Al-Quds University website before dignifying the university with a formal association, and if it was aware, it should have refused to formalize the relationship. We strongly urge Brandeis, which carries an honored name and reputation, to review immediately its relationship with Al-Quds University. It should be a matter of concern to all Brandeis supporters and alumni that Brandeis University is lending credibility and respectability to Al-Quds University.
This is especially troubling in light of the fact that Brandeis continues to employ Khalil Shikaki as a scholar in its Crown Center for Middle East Studies, a man who participated in panels at anti-Israel conferences such as the Islamic Conference for Palestine (ICP) and co-founded the World & Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE) with the notorious University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, who brought in as speakers such outrageous figures as Omar Abdel Rahman, later convicted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and Hassan Turabi, who is generally considered the real leader of the terrorist Sudan government and also was involved in transferring funds in the 1990s to the Palestinian terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to both the FBI and renowned terrorism expert Steve Emerson.