Brandeis University: Backing Hamas on Campus
SJP defended student who called for an American intifada.
Editor's note: David Horowitz Freedom Center is naming the “Top Ten Worst Schools that Support Terrorists.” The latest school to be named to this list is Brandeis University. Known for its Jewish origins, Brandeis joins the University of California-Berkeley, the University of California-Irvine, the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and San Francisco State University on the list. Coinciding with the naming of Brandeis to this list, the Freedom Center placed posters on the Brandeis University campus exposing the links between Students for Justice in Palestine and the terrorist organization Hamas, whose stated goal is the destruction of the Jewish state.
As revealed in recent congressional testimony, Students for Justice in Palestine is a campus front for Hamas terrorists. SJP’s propaganda activities are orchestrated and funded by a Hamas front group, American Muslims for Palestine, whose chairman is Hatem Bazian and whose principals are former officers of the Holy Land Foundation and other Islamic “charities” previously convicted of funneling money to Hamas. The report and posters are part of a larger Freedom Center campaign titled Stop University Support for Terrorists. Images of the posters that appeared at Brandeis and other campuses may be viewed at www.stopuniversitysupportforterrorists.org.
Brandeis University was named for the first Jewish justice on the Supreme Court, Louis D. Brandeis, and is one of only a few prominent American universities to be founded primarily by Jews. In spite of these strong ties to the American Jewish community, Brandeis has stood apart in recent years for its hostility to Israel and its strong support of Israel’s terrorist enemies. In the past year, swastikas have appeared in multiple locations on campus and the campus SJP chapter has held an event supporting Hamas’s policy of refusing to normalize relations with Israel or its allies. Brandeis rescinded an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a critic of radical Islam and advocate of Muslim women’s rights, while granting one to notoriously anti-Semitic playwright Tony Kushner. Brandeis also hosted a secret listserve where prominent professors exchanged emails attacking Israel—even comparing the Jewish state to Nazi Germany— and supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that is supported and funded by Hamas. When a Brandeis student used her personal twitter account to call for an Intifada, she was vigorously defended by the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Two additional Brandeis students sought to restore relations between the university and Al Quds University in Palestine, which is a recruiting ground for the terror group Hamas.
In November 2016, a swastika was found on the door of the men’s restroom in the campus library at Brandeis.
On November 3, 2016, Brandeis SJP held an event titled “Apartheid is Not ‘Green’: Greenwashing and Palestine.” The purpose of the event was to demonize Israel and to claim that the Jewish state uses its record of positive environmental activism to hide its alleged “apartheid” and mistreatment of the Palestinians. The event description stated: “Israel inaccurately portrays itself as environmentally conscious in order to justify and distract from its violence against Palestine.” Of course all the violence in the Middle East conflict is the result of a 70-year unprovoked aggression by the Arab states and terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas against the Jewish state.
On March 8, 2016, Brandeis SJP held an event called “Presentation & Discussion on Pinkwashing.” The term “pinkwashing” is used by Israel’s enemies to claim that the Jewish state uses its overwhelmingly positive record on gay rights to hide its mistreatment of the Palestinians.
In May 2015, Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, known for his extreme anti-Israel views, gave the Commencement address at Brandeis. In an op-ed recently co-written for Politico.com, Pickering repeated Hamas tropes such as “Israel’s half-century-long occupation” and stated that “the marginal improvement in Israel’s security provided by these expansive Israeli demands can hardly justify the permanent subjugation and disenfranchisement of a people to which Israel refuses to grant citizenship in the Jewish state.”
On April 23, 2015, Professor Noam Chomsky, known for his extreme anti-Israel views, spoke at Brandeis. During his speech, he described Israel’s actions towards Palestine as “vicious, brutal and criminal” and claimed that Israel “is alone in denying” its “illegal occupation of territories.”
During March 21-27, 2015, Brandeis SJP held Israel Apartheid Week on campus. Israel Apartheid Week is a weeklong series of anti-Israel events designed to demonize and destroy Israel. Events included a talk on “Facing the Ongoing Nakba.” (Nakba, an Arabic term meaning “catastrophe,” is used by Hamas and its supporters to describe the creation of Israel). The “Nakba” event included a display of the false Hamas maps which purport to show the infiltration and colonization by Jews of Arab “Palestine.” The Week also included a talk by Professor Sa’ed Atshan, an anti-Israel activist who currently serves as a professor in “Peace and Conflict Studies” at Swarthmore College, who has called Gaza an “open-aired prison” and has referred to Israeli military strategy as “scorched-Earth policy.”
In December 2014, Brandeis junior Khadijah Lynch, an undergraduate department representative in the African and Afro-American Studies Department, was exposed for her violent anti-American and anti-Israel tweets, including “amerikka needs an intifada. enough is enough” and “a social justice themed institution grounded in zionism. word. thats a fucking fanny dooley.” When Jewish student Daniel Mael published her public tweets, Lynch attacked him and Mael subsequently received death threats. Brandeis SJP defended Lynch in a public statement on Facebook.
On November 9, 2014, Brandeis SJP posted a petition in support of convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmeah Odeh on its Facebook page. Odeh was convicted by an Israeli military court in 1970 for her involvement in two fatal terrorist bombings. She was subsequently convicted of immigration fraud by a U.S. federal jury in 2014, after she failed to disclose her previous conviction on her application for U.S. citizenship. Odeh has claimed that she was tortured into confessing to the Israeli bombings, but U.S. prosecutors have uncovered Israeli military reports indicating that they found “explosive bricks in her room” along with “extensive bomb-making materials and explosives.”
In July 2014, a Jewish student at Brandeis, Daniel Mael, exposed a secret faculty email Listserve of 92 left-wing professors at Brandeis. Some participants in the listserve expressed extreme anti-Israel views while also supporting Hamas’ rhetoric and positions. Professor Donald Hindley, for instance, referred to the Jewish state as “The Vile, Terrorist Israeli Government,” in a post about the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas terrorists. Hindley also sarcastically wrote: “Zionist olive trees grow wondrously on Palestinian corpses…In that way, we combine great trees with our own holocaustic ethnic cleansing.” Hindley also compared an event challenging the anti-Semitic BDS movement to a Nazi rally, describing it as “Germany in the later 1930s with everyone at least a Nazi sympathizer” and asking “Will the lunch be kosher?” Also on the listserve, Brandeis sociology professor Gordon Fellman sought signatures for an open letter to “end the illegal occupation in Palestine.” According to the letter, “the government of Israel, having provoked the firing of rockets by its rampage through the West Bank, is now using that response as the pretext for an aerial assault on Gaza which has already cost scores of lives.”
In April 2014, two Brandeis students, Eli Philip and Catriona Stewart, who served as co-presidents of the anti-Israel, Jewish student organization, J. Street U., received a $10,000 grant from an organization called the Davis Projects for Peace to travel to Al Quds University in Palestine to attempt to repair relations between Al Quds and Brandeis. The previous relationship between the universities formed in 2003 was severed in 2013 after Al Quds hosted rallies for Hamas during which participants performed a traditional Nazi salute. Philip and Stewart previously disrupted the speech of an IDF member on campus.
Under pressure from students and faculty, in April 2014 Brandeis withdrew an honorary degree offered to women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Some students protested giving the honorary degree to Somali-born Ali, who has condemned the mistreatment of women in Muslim countries, including female genital mutilation, because she is a vehement critic of radical Islam. The tipping point in the controversy came when eighty-seven Brandeis faculty members signed a petition calling for rescinding Ali’s degree because of her “extreme Islamophobic beliefs.” (The term “Islamophobia” has been used polemically by the Muslim Brotherhood to censor any criticism of Islam, including Sharia law.)
Brandeis had previously awarded an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner, who has a long history of anti-Semitic statements, among them the claim that “The biggest supporters of Israel are the most repulsive members of the Jewish community.”
During February 2014, Brandeis SJP staged “Israel Apartheid Week,” a weeklong series of anti-Israel events designed to demonize Israel and create a rationale for its extinction. Events included a speech by notorious anti-Israel activist Max Blumenthal, author of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, a book about which one reviewer commented, “It is no exaggeration to say that it could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed).”
On March 26, 2012, members of Brandeis SJP disrupted an event featuring members of the Israeli Knesset which was held at a local Temple. The SJP members wore shirts with “apartheid” written on them in Hebrew and shouted slogans, including “Israel is an apartheid state and the Knesset is an apartheid parliament!” and “We will not welcome Israeli officials to any Brandeis University event until apartheid ends!” These actions are consistent with Hamas’s policy of refusing to “normalize” relations with any pro-Israel groups.
On April 4, 2011, a university panel featuring six members of the Israeli Knesset was disrupted by Brandeis SJP activists who repeatedly called the members “war criminals” and attempted to distribute fake warrants calling for their arrest. The students particularly targeted Avi Dichter, former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, accusing him of torture. One student called to him in Hebrew, “Don’t worry Avi Dichter, we’ll meet you in The Hague.”