Brandeis Fellow Shikaki has credible terrorist links
The distinguished Middle East scholar and director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia), Dr. Daniel Pipes, author of 14 books and hundreds of articles, has condemned Brandeis University for incurring a sorry record when it comes to Israel.
Pipes criticized Brandeis scholars such as Khalil Shikaki, a Crown Center [for Middle East Studies (CCMES)], fellow who has been credibly accused of terrorist links and has a second-to-none record in getting it wrong in his chosen field of Palestinian public opinion? He also criticized academic Natana DeLong-Bas as an apologist for Al-Qaeda whose depraved thinking was exposed in several recent articles (including Natana DeLong-Bas: American Professor, Wahhabi Apologist and Sympathy for the Devil at Brandeis, from frontpagemag.com).
Pipes further criticized Brandeis for staging that [anti-Israel] Voices of Palestine art exhibit, hiring DeLong-Bas and Shikaki, granting an honorary degree to the anti-Zionist playwright Tony Kushner, appointing the muddled Prof. Shai Feldman (POL) to head the Crown Center, permitting an Islamist ( Qumar-ul Huda) to serve as its Muslim chaplain and setting up the Brandeis-Al-Quds University study-abroad connection (Brandeis Justice, February 13, 2007, available at DanielPipes.org).
Last year, the ZOA launched national public campaigns exposing Brandeis Fellow Khalil Shikakis past (as well as against Tony Kushners being honored by Brandeis, Al-Quds/Brandeis connection and Voices of Palestine exhibit). We revealed reports in January 2006 that Shikaki had previously distributed funds within the Palestinian Authority (PA) for people associated with the terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Shikaki had also been a founding director of the Florida-based World & Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), which was shut down by Federal authorities because of its ties to PIJ. WISE regularly invited radical Islamic speakers such as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, later convicted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; exiled Tunisian Rashid-el-Ghanoushi, considered a terrorist by the US and was refused a visa by the State Department; and Hassan Turabi, who is generally considered the real leader of the terrorist Sudan government. Oliver Buck Revell, the FBIs former top counterterrorist official said that anybody who brings in Hassan Turabi is supporting terrorists.
Shikaki denied any knowledge that top figures in WISE, including PIJs current leader, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, and an Al-Arian associate affiliated with WISE, Sameeh Hammoudeh, were at all involved in PIJ. Wiretaps of conversations between Shikaki, Shallah, and Hammoudeh introduced as evidence at the Al-Arian trial, suggested that Shikaki distributed money for Al-Arian associates within the PA, who raised the funds in America, and then stopped the money transfers in January 1995, shortly after PIJ was declared a blocked terrorist organization by President Clinton (New York Sun, January 17, 2006).
The renowned terrorism expert, Steve Emerson, Director of the Investigative Project, wrote a 13-page expose of Shikaki detailing Shikakis possible links to terrorists. At the time, the ZOA urged Brandeis President, Jehuda Reinharz, to thoroughly investigate Shikakis background and reconsider his appointment if necessary. He ignored our request and instead resorted to name-calling, describing ZOA National President Morton A. Klein as a Jewish McCarthyite while praising Shikaki as a great scholar.
Equally disturbing is Brandeis Professor Natana J. DeLong-Bas, who stated in an interview with the Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat (December 21, 2006) that she had found no convincing evidence that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center. She has claimed that Islamist terror has nothing to do with radical religious interpretations, and blamed everything wrong in the Muslim and Arab world on the U.S. and Israel. She even described the democracy of terrorist groups like Hamas and the Wahhabi agents in Somalia as superior in achievement to U.S. democratization efforts. Her book Wahhabi Islam, dealing the extremist Islamist sect which is the state religion of Saudi Arabia, was produced with the support, including financial support, of establishment figures and institutions in Saudi Arabia.
In 2006, Brandeis conferred an honorary doctorate on the anti-Israel playwright, Tony Kushner, whose screenplay for the film Munich was widely condemned by numerous critics as being grossly inaccurate in ways that were hostile to Israel and inappropriately sympathetic to Palestinian terrorists. Kushner has made numerous egregious statements viciously condemning Israel and decrying its very existence, saying on one occasion that Israels founding a mistake, and that it it would have been better if Israel never happened. Kushner has also repeatedly blamed Israel for supposed ethnic cleaning and dispossession of Palestinians, supported boycotting Israel and attacked Jewish supporters of Israel as the most repulsive members of the Jewish community. Reinharz ignored these statements saying, We are not interested in Kushners political views on Israel and simply praised him as a great playwright for which he was being honored.
The ZOA also previously raised the issue of Brandeis association with Al-Quds University, a Palestinian educational institution in eastern Jerusalem, whose website page dedicated to Jerusalem History denies the Jewish historical connection with Jerusalem and promotes other falsehoods. 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. Though often falsely presented as a Palestinian moderate, Nusseibeh was exposed in October 2002 by the ZOA for having 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. Nusseibeh was arrested by Israel in January 1991 for collecting security information for Iraqi intelligence and also appeared in a panel discussion on Qatari Television (June 29, 2002) alongside Hamas official Khaled Mashal and Mrs. Umm Nidal, the mother of a suicide bomber, who had encouraged her son to carry out his attack. Nusseibeh said in that panel discussion, When I hear the words of Umm Nidal, I recall the Koranic verse stating that Paradise lies under the feet of mothers. All respect is due to this mother, it is due to every Palestinian mother and every female Palestinian who is a Jihad fighter on this land. The ZOA urged Brandeis to review immediately its relationship with Al-Quds University, something it has refused to do.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We are gratified that a renowned Mideast scholar like Professor Daniel Pipes has come out in support of ZOAs concerns about the ongoing onslaught of anti-Israel scholars, events, honorees and affiliations at Brandeis. ZOA was widely criticized for exposing the facts about Brandeis, including by Abraham Foxman of the ADL. Justice Louis Brandeis, for whom this university is named, was an ardent supporter of Zionism, who considered stepping down form the Supreme Court to lead the World Zionist organization and who, upon his death, made the largest bequest in his will to the Zionist movement. We are certain that Justice Brandeis would be turning over in his grave over the recent record of Brandeis University when it comes to Israel and Middle East studies.
Daniel Pipes is right to take up the issue of Brandeis sorry record on Israel and Middle East scholarship. Whether in appointing Khalil Shikaki, maintaining links with Al-Quds University and its denial of Jewish history and connection with the land of Israel or in its many other contentious choices, Brandeis has failed to exhibit the care and professionalism that one would have expected from a distinguished university created under Jewish auspices, funded largely by Jewish donors, and whose Crown Center was originally conceived in part to be a counterweight to the biased and politicized treatment of Israel and the Middle East at so many other North American universities. Brandeis has disappointed the very substantial number of pro-Israel donors and students who assumed that Brandeis would be different from other universities and show concern and sensitivity to the Jewish state of Israels plight.