Brandeis University has cut its historic ties to a popular Palestinian college, after Al Quds University hosted an anti-Zionist, neo-Nazi style rally.
On November 5, the Al Quds campus in Jerusalem saw protestors march in military gear with fake weapons, waving flags and giving Nazi salutes. Images of Palestinian suicide bombers were also displayed, and several students mimed dead Israeli soldiers.
Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence wrote to his counterpart at Al Quds University, asking that Sari Nusseibeh issue a condemnation of the display. Brandeis, a prestigious Jewish school based in Boston, has been a sister school of Al Quds since 1998.
Instead, Nusseibeh issued a statement that seemed to applaud the behavior.
“Jewish extremists [are using the demonstration to] capitalize on events in ways that misrepresent the university as promoting inhumane, anti-Semitic, fascist, and Nazi ideologies,” the Al Quds president wrote Sunday.
“[Without these ideologies] there would not have been the massacre of the Jewish people in Europe; without the massacre, there would not have been the enduring Palestinian catastrophe.”
“The Catastrophe,” or “Al Nakba” in Arabic, is a term used by Palestinians to describe the day the Jewish state was created.
“As occurred recently, these opportunists are quick to describe the Palestinians as a people undeserving of freedom and independence, and as a people who must be kept under coercive control and occupation,” Nusseibeh continued.
“They cite these events as evidence justifying their efforts to muster broad Jewish and western opinion to support their position. This public opinion, in turn, sustains the occupation, the extension of settlements and the confiscation of land, and prevents Palestinians from achieving our freedom.”
In response, Lawrence said Brandeis will sever its ties to Al Quds, but will re-examine the relationship at a later date.
“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,” Lawrence said.