Al Quds, now this
New York – Brandeis University, whose mission statement says that it was founded “under the sponsorship of the American Jewish community to embody its highest ethical and cultural values” and was named after one of America’s great Zionists, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, seems to have recently dishonored both its mission statement and its namesake, yet again.
The latest anti-Israel shock at Brandeis University is a new art exhibit being displayed at the Goldfarb Library as of April 26, 2006 called “Voices from Palestine,” an art exhibition of children’s paintings from Bethlehem. The painting displayed in the poster announcing this event shows a dove in the colors and shapes of an Arab checkered kaffi, bleeding profusely and apparently crying blood tears while being cut by barbed wire. There is a large pool of blood on the ground. There is a picture of a PLO flag which is behind the dove. One can see it above the dove and below it. This flag is in the shape of Israel, implying all of Israel is Palestine. There is also a heart above the dove apparently ripped from the dove. In the center of the dove where the heart used to be is a Mosque-like dome with a minaret apparently signifying the Al-Aqse Mosque in Jerusalem, showing the heart-felt importance of Jerusalem to Muslims. There is also a “key” in the picture apparently signifying that some Palestinians still have the “keys” from the homes they allegedly lost to the Israelis, showing they have been dispossessed. The caption states by “Hussam, 16, from Beit Jibri, a village destroyed in 1948. He dreams of liberation from Palestine (sic) and hopes to become a Nerves (sic) surgeon.” One expects such an ugly anti-Israel exhibit to be displayed at an anti-Israel university in Syria or Iran, not at a Jewish-sponsored university like Brandeis. The poster also states that “Ibrahim Masri will be speaking who has over 10 years of experience working with children — families living in Palestine (sic). He will talk about the political, social and psychological situation and its impact on the Palestinian family in general and the children in particular.” ZOA is also troubled by the fact that at Brandeis’ Middle East Conferences the Palestinian Arab speakers who were from the Palestinian territories were always listed as being from “Palestine.” At this point a State of Palestine does not exist and an academic institution should not be stating that it does.
In the past year, there have been many insensitivities to Israel at Brandeis. We learned that Brandeis hired Khalil Shikaki as a senior lecturer at its Crown Center for Mideast Studies. Shikaki has spoken at numerous Islamic Committee for Palestine conferences where anti-Israel rhetoric was commonplace. He was a founding Director of the Florida-based think-tank World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), which was founded by Sami-al-Arian, a professor at the University of South Florida who was recently deported from the US after admitting that he was centrally involved in “making or receiving contributions of funds, goods, or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ),” with which he was closely “associated and participated in this conspiracy, knowing its unlawful purpose, and aware that the PIJ achieved its objectives by acts of violence.” Al-Arian employed his think-tank in the service of these objectives, and “falsely stated that its officers, such as Shikaki, were engaged ‘in only scholarly work’.” (Source – Weekly Standard 5/1/06). Al-Arian was a close friend of Shikaki’s and Shikaki’s brother Fathi actually founded Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Fathi was assassinated by Israel in Malta.)
The Shikaki-Al-Arian think-tank regularly brought known sympathizers of terrorism to speak. Shikaki was also linked to gathering funds for Islamic Jihad until 1995, according to the FBI and terrorism expert Steve Emerson.
Shikaki has also given many public speeches, blaming Israel for virtually every problem that exists between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israelis. We, at the ZOA, wonder what falsehood about Israel Brandeis students may be learning from Shikaki’s lectures there, giving them false reasons to feel negative about Israel.
Next we learned that Brandeis has recently affiliated with a Palestinian institution, Al Quds University, whose president Sari Nusseibah has praised Hamas member Um Nidal for preparing her son, Muhammed Farkhot to attack a high school in the Israeli village of Atzmono on March 7, 2002. In that attack, Farkhot murdered 5 teenage Jewish seminary students and wounded 24 other Israeli civilians. Um Nidal gained notoriety because she encouraged her son to commit the murders and also appeared in a farewell video on the eve of the attack. In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Al Quds University President Sari Nusseibah said, “When I hear the words of Um Nidal (the terrorist’s mother), I recall the noble Koranic verse stating that Paradise lies under the feet of Mothers” and that “all respect is due to the every Palestinian mother and every female Palestinian who is a Jihad fighter on this land.” (June 29, 2002) see www.aljazeera.net/programs/opendialog/articles/2002/7/7-2-1.htm)
The Al Quds University website has many troubling statements including:
- 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.
Kushner has made numerous egregious statements in the past few years viciously condemning Israel and decrying its very existence. He called Israel’s founding a “mistake,” saying “it would have been better if Israel never happened.” He also condemned Israel for “ethnic cleansing” and “behaving abominably and denounced, “the shame of American Jews for failing to denounce Israel.”
Kushner also “deplored the brutal and illegal tactics of the IDF” and “the deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people.” He is also on the board of an organization that opposes the security fence, a unified Jerusalem, or military aid to Israel, recommends Norman Finkelstein’s notorious anti-Israel, anti-Jewish books, and supports boycotting and divesting from Israel. He also wrote the screenplay for Spielberg’s Munich which was condemned by numerous critics for its inaccuracies and sympathy for Palestinian terrorists and negative portrayal of Israel.
It is especially painful to think of the anguish this award to the anti-Zionist Kushner would mean to the ardent pro-Israel Zionist Justice Louis Brandeis. He would be horrified having his name associated with such an Israel-hater. We believe that a man who President Franklin Delano Roosevelt regarded as a model of morality, affectionately nicknaming Brandeis “Isaiah” would consider this award the height of immorality in sullying the good Zionist name of Brandeis.
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin wrote in his acclaimed book, “Jewish Literacy,” (Morrow Books, 1991, pg. 412-413):
“Shortly before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Brandeis was converted into a passionate and highly involved Zionist. He served as president of the American Zionist Federation, and actively raised funds to further Jewish settlements and cultural life in Palestine. Subsequent to his appointment to the Supreme Court, he resigned from all extra-judicial affiliations except for his Zionist activities. In 1920 he even considered resigning from the Supreme Court to become head of the World Zionist Organization.
“Brandeis aggressively criticized Jews who expressed fear that support for Zionism would call their loyalty to America into question. “Multiple loyalties,” he cogently explained, do not necessarily imply “mutually exclusive loyalties. A man can be loyal to his family, his city, his state and his country, and need have no fear that these loyalties will conflict.” Today, some three quarters of a century later, American Jews still cite Brandeis’s formulation to counter accusations that those who work on behalf of Israel are guilty of having dual loyalties.
“He was an ardent supporter of Zionism, and upon his death, the largest bequest in his will was to the Zionist movement. He was particularly disheartened — as were many Jews and non-Jews — by the attraction of many secular Jews in the 1930s to communism.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are deeply perplexed about the recent anti-Israel insensitivities at Brandeis University. How can Brandeis expect to continue to attract Jewish supporters who love Israel and non-Jewish supporters who care about the US’s only human rights loving democracy in the Middle East, i.e. Israel. How can Brandeis expect their large Jewish student body to be comfortable in such an environment or proud of such Brandeis actions.
“We are honored to claim Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis as one of ZOA’s past presidents. We feel certain that the ardent Zionist Justice Brandeis would be turning over in his grave if he knew about these recent events at his namesake university. Brandeis had written, “The glorious past of the Jews can really live only if it becomes part of a glorious future; and to this end the Jewish home in Palestine is essential. We Jews of prosperous America above all need its inspiration.” (Menorah Journal, Jan. 1915).
Would Brandeis honor a great playwright or author or scientist who made vicious anti-Black remarks. Never.
Would Howard University honor a William Shockley, Pat Buchanan or Strom Thurmond, for their work as scientist, journalist or Senator. Never. Because of their negative record on African-Americans.
“Please, Mr. President Reinharz, members of the national Board, faculty and students at Brandeis, search your souls, and do what’s right and what’s moral and what Justice Brandeis would have called on you to do. Be more sensitive to Israel issues. Promote programs and people who tell the truth about Israel. No more Shikakis, Kushners, Al Qud relationships or anti-Israel exhibits.”