Brandeis U. Crown Center Fellow Khalil Shikaki Calls For Release of Palestinian Killer of Jews, Marwan Barghouti
February 20, 2007

Daniel Pipes: Shikaki credibly
linked to terrorism

New York – Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CCMES) Fellow Khalil Shikaki has called in a Crown Center publication for the release of convicted Palestinian Arab murderer of Jews, Marwan Barghouti. Barghouti, a leader of the ‘young guard’ of Mahmoud Abbas’ terrorist movement, Fatah, (whose Constitution calls for Israel’s destruction) headed the Tanzim armed group within Fatah at the start of the Palestinian Arab terrorist war against Israel in September 2000 and which carried out a number of suicide bombings in Israel. He was arrested by Israeli forces in Ramallah in April 2002 and subsequently tried and convicted in May 2004 on five counts of murder of Jewish Israeli civilians, resulting from three attacks, one north of Jerusalem, one in Tel Aviv and one in the West Bank. He was also found guilty of one count of attempted murder resulting from a failed suicide car bomb. In June 2004, he was sentenced to five life sentences for the five murders and 40 years imprisonment for the attempted murder.

In a February 2007 Brandeis University’s Crown Center Working Paper entitled, ‘With Hamas in Power: Impact of Palestinian Domestic Developments on Options for the Peace Process,’ Shikaki notes (p. 9) that Barghouti is one of the Fatah ‘young guards’ who supports a Fatah-Hamas Palestinian Authority (PA) coalition government and that, as part of Fatah reorganizing itself within a PA unity government, “Israel needs to release Barghouti as part of a large package of prisoner releases” (p. 12) ( Crown Center Working Paper No. 1, February 2007).

Shikaki is the founder and director of the polling institute, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. Before he was hired by Shai Feldman, chairman of the Crown Center, and Jehuda Reinharz, president of Brandeis University, there was strong evidence that Shikaki distributed funds within the Palestinian Authority (PA) for people associated with the terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). PIJ was founded by his brother, Fathi Shikaki. This evidence emerged from investigations into Sami Al-Arian, a Florida professor accused of operating the American wing of PIJ. Among PIJ’s more infamous acts was an April 1995 bombing in Israel that killed a Brandeis student, Alisa Flatow. PIJ has carried out most suicide bombings in Israel during the 2005 Palestinian “ceasefire”, including the suicide bombing in Netanya in December 2005 that killed 5 Israelis and maimed 49 more.

Shikaki was a founding director with Al-Arian of the Florida-based World & Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), which was eventually shut down by Federal authorities because of its ties to PIJ. Other directors of WISE include Al-Arian’s brother-in-law Mazen al-Najjar and Ramadan Abdullah Shallah. Shallah became head of Islamic Jihad in the early 1990s. 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, who 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 FBI’s former top counterterrorist official said that “anybody who brings in Hassan Turabi is supporting terrorists.”

Shikaki has denied any connection to his brother’s terrorist operation and any knowledge of the connections between WISE and the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP) — both alleged by the US government to be front groups for PIJ. He has also denied any knowledge that top figures in WISE, including PIJ’s current leader, 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, however, suggest 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).

Experts speak out on Shikaki:

  • Mideast expert Prof. Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia): Khalil Shikaki … 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?” (Brandeis Justice, February 13, 2007, available at

  • Prominent terrorism expert Steve Emerson, Executive Director of the Investigative Project : “The pattern of evidence from the wiretaps introduced at the trial … and other material clearly show that Shikaki was intimately not just aware of, but participated in the operations of Islamic Jihad until January 1995, contrary to all of his public denials … He was a pivotal player in the creation of these institutions — the transfer point between the different parties in the Islamic Jihad, and their transfers of monies” ( New York Sun, January 17, 2006).

  • Prof. Martin Kramer, formerly of Tel Aviv University and Wexler-Fromer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: “Is it possible that the Shikaki polls were … Fatah election propaganda? … the professionalism of his polls is very much in question” (, January 28, 2006).

  • Steven Flatow, father of the murdered Brandeis student Alisa Flatow: “What troubles me most [about Shikaki] is the fact that he’s been rehabilitated … How ironic is it that if he is tainted by Islamic Jihad, that he be teaching at a university where one of the students was killed by Islamic Jihad? … You have to wonder what [the Crown Center at Brandeis] were thinking” (New York Sun, January 17, 2006).

Despite these remarkable revelations and commentary by top scholars, Brandeis University president, Jehuda Reinharz, has resisted investigating Shikaki’s background, dismissed revelations about Shikaki as “unsubstantiated innuendo” and Brandeis has defended him as “among the most serious, responsible, credible, committed, and courageous observers of Middle East politics” ( New York Sun, February 10, 2006). Reinharz also attacked ZOA by resorting to name-calling, referring to the ZOA as “Jewish McCarthyites” simply because we exposed Shikaki’s background.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Despite all that has happened at Brandeis, including its refusal to investigate the background of Khalil Shikaki despite the revelations about his past activities and association with terrorist figures, it is surprising that Shikaki now openly calls in a Brandeis publication for the release of a Palestinian Arab terrorist with Jewish blood on his hands. Barghouti is a convicted terrorist found guilty of involvement in the murder of Israeli civilians. Accordingly, releasing Barghouti would not only negate an act of justice but harm the Israeli and world-wide war on terrorism, sending the message that one can murder innocent civilians and get of jail. But then what ideas should one expect from Shikaki, someone who according to terrorism expert Steven Emerson and the New York Sun has funneled money to the terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which was after all founded by his own brother?

“It is clear that Brandeis University is failing to address the widespread concerns about the direction its Crown Center has taken and Shikaki’s recent call for Barghouti’s release simply reinforces ZOA’s outstanding call that donors to Brandeis should reconsider giving money to Brandeis, a university founded 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. It simply reinforces Daniel Pipes’ call that donors should reconsider their gifts to Brandeis. Of Brandeis, Pipes said it has incurred ‘a sorry record when it comes to Israel … [Brandeis professor Natana DeLong-Bas is 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 … [Brandeis has also permitted] 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 Justice, February 13, 2007, available at”

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