Contact: David Drimer, 212-481-1500
NEW YORK, November 20 — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly praised Brandeis University and its president, Frederick Lawrence, today for suspending its partnership with the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel Al-Quds University in eastern Jerusalem. The suspension is effective immediately. Brandeis’ decision, announced in a statement issued on Monday night, November 18, 2013, stemmed from recent events at Al-Quds, including a November 5th demonstration on the Al-Quds campus where the demonstrators wore black military gear, held fake automatic weapons, and marched while waving flags and raising the traditional Nazi salute. The demonstration took place in the campus’ main square, surrounded by banners with images of “martyred” suicide bombers.
The ZOA brought this demonstration to Brandeis’ attention, as well as other events at Al-Quds that promoted anti-Semitism, the murder of Jews and violence against the State of Israel; the ZOA also documented the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel statements made by Al-Quds President Sari Nusseibeh who is often falsely and absurdly described as a “moderate. In a November 11th letter to Brandeis University President Frederick Lawrence, the ZOA noted reports of at least two other similar military-style demonstrations on the Al-Quds campus in this academic year alone, praising suicide bombers, where the students were never held accountable by the Al-Quds administration. The ZOA wrote: “A school that promotes and tolerates anti-Semitism, and calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel does not deserve any association with any university, let alone one that is Jewish-sponsored like Brandeis. Such a school also does not deserve the respectability and credibility that a Brandeis alliance bestows on it. The alliance with Brandeis University, specifically, allows Al-Quds University to create and perpetuate a false image that its students, faculty and administration have a positive and accepting attitude toward Jews and Israel.”
Responding in a letter to the ZOA on November 13th, President Lawrence expressed his outrage about the November 5th demonstration on the Al-Quds campus. He wrote that he had provided a copy of the ZOA letter to Brandeis faculty members who were visiting Al-Quds, and had asked the faculty to look into the issues the ZOA had raised in order to evaluate “appropriate next steps.”
In a follow-up letter to President Lawrence on November 15th, the ZOA again urged Brandeis to completely sever all ties with Al-Quds. The letter was co-signed by Stephen Flatow, a member of the board of advisors to the ZOA Center for Law and Justice, and the father of Brandeis student Alisa Flatow who was murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in 1995. The ZOA provided a personal, painful and tragic reminder to Brandeis: “Please let us not forget that Alisa Flatow, a student at Brandeis, was murdered in 1995 by Palestinian Arab terrorists of Islamic Jihad with a bomb built by Yahya Ayyash, that Alisa’s sister Francine is a 2002 graduate, and that the Flatow family established a scholarship fund at the University in Alisa’s memory.”
The ZOA documented in its November 15th letter additional anti-Semitism and incitement to violence at Al-Quds. In an interview on Al-Jazeera Television, Sari Nusseibeh, the president of Al-Quds University, made the racist anti-Semitic statement that “no Jew in the world, now or in the future,” will ever be permitted to live in a Palestinian state; he also praised mothers of suicide bombers – showing, the ZOA stated, “that the university’s leader is sympathetic to the Jew hatred on campus.” In addition, the ZOA provided Brandeis with information from Palestinian Media Watch (www.palwatch.org) – that in a recent Palestinian football tournament at Al-Quds University, the participating football teams were named after Jew-killing Arab terrorists – Yahya Ayyash, Dalai Mughrabi, and Ghassan Kanafani. (Ayyash was the terrorist bomb-maker responsible for the murder of Alisa Flatow, then a student at Brandeis.)
The ZOA wrote to President Lawrence: “Al-Quds must publicly and forcefully condemn the [November 5th] demonstration and what was done there – in a speech and in writing – and it must condemn the students and others who participated. The written condemnation should be issued to the entire university community, in English and Arabic, so that everyone understands this was an outrage and why. In addition, the university must hold the wrongdoers accountable by expelling them.”
On November 19, 2013, President Lawrence furnished the ZOA with the Brandeis statement issued the night before, which severed Brandeis’ partnership with Al-Quds. According to the statement, President Lawrence had contacted Al-Quds President Sari Nusseibeh and requested that Nusseibeh issue an “unequivocal condemnation of the demonstrations” which should “be published in both Arabic and English.” President Nusseibeh sent an e-mail to President Lawrence with an English translation of a statement posted in Arabic on the Al-Quds Web site.
Brandeis called the Al-Quds statement “unacceptable and inflammatory,” leading Brandeis to cut ties with Al-Quds effective immediately: “While Brandeis has an unwavering commitment to open dialogue on difficult issues, we are also obliged to recognize intolerance when we see it, and we cannot – and will not – turn a blind eye to intolerance.”
Praising the decision by Brandeis to cut ties with Al-Quds University, ZOA National President Morton A. Klein stated, “Events at Al-Quds University were not just offensive. They incited the murder of Jews and praised and glorified those who murder Jews.
“Brandeis University gave Al-Quds the opportunity to publicly condemn these repugnant events, which were beyond the bounds of decency, and expel the students responsible. It tells us everything we need to know about Al-Quds University and its leadership that Al-Quds President Sari Nusseibeh refused to issue a clear and unequivocal condemnation, as well as a firm commitment to punish the wrongdoers. Instead, Al-Quds issued a provocative and hate-inciting statement blaming “Jewish extremists” and wrongly shifting the focus from the Jew hatred on the Al-Quds campus to the so-called ‘occupation’ of the Palestinian Arabs. Al-Quds showed the world that it is a university that will tolerate, justify and even support anti-Semitism and the incitement to murder and violence against Jews and Israel.”
Stephen Flatow also praised Brandeis University for severing its relationship with Al-Quds University, stating, “I have great respect for President Lawrence for making this decision.”
Tyler Korn, Esq., a Brandeis graduate and an honoree at the ZOA’s upcoming 115th Brandeis Dinner, commended and thanked Brandeis President Lawrence in a letter, stating, “Your leadership in this matter (as in others) is a true credit to Brandeis.”
Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., the director of the ZOA Center for Law and Justice, also commended Brandeis University for its decision to cut ties with Al-Quds, stating, “As a proud graduate of Brandeis University, I feel even prouder today. Brandeis has done the right thing. My alma mater has shown that it will not stand for the promotion and glorification of hatred and violence against Jews or Israel.”
# # #
About the ZOA
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States. With offices around the country and in Israel, the ZOA educates the public, elected officials, the media, and college/high school students about the truth of the ongoing Arab war against Israel. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations through educational activities, public affairs programs and our work on Capitol Hill, and to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media, in textbooks, in schools and on college campuses. Under the leadership of such presidents as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Rabbis Abba Hillel Silver and Stephen Wise, and current President Morton A. Klein, the ZOA has been – and continues to be – on the front lines of Jewish activism. www.zoa.org.