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Brandeis University is facing criticism from students and faculty members after refusing to distance itself from an event recently held on the campus of its Palestinian partner school that critics decried as a "Nazi-style" rally.
Groups of Al Quds students dressed in black military gear and armed with fake automatic weapons marched on the school’s campus while waving flags and raising the traditional Nazi salute, according to pictures first posted by Middle East analyst Tom Gross.
The rally was organized by the Islamic Jihad’s student faction, which is known to be active on the Al Quds campus.
Brandeis, which began partnering with Al Quds in 2003, declined multiple requests for comment on the rally. The rally prompted some students and faculty members to express outrage.
“It bothers me very much that the school I am attending has a partnership with a school that inherently promotes death to Jews,” said student Eve Herman, who serves as the president of the Brandeis Zionist Alliance.
“It is indeed incredibly unfortunate that a demonstration, such as this Nazi-style one, can take place on a campus,” Herman told the Washington Free Beacon via email. “The fact that students were encouraged to give Hitler style salutes is a complete and utter form of anti-Semitism.”
One Brandeis faculty member who agreed to speak anonymously said he found it “appalling” that that such inflammatory activities take place at Al Quds.
Brandeis officials should be communicating their outrage at such a demonstration, the faculty member said.
However, Brandeis spokesman Bill Schaller repeatedly declined comment after the Free Beacon presented him with pictures and articles about the rally.
“We have no comment,” Schaller told the Free Beacon on multiple occasions.
Brandeis and Al Quds exchange students, administrators, and faculty members under the program.
Several actors portraying dead Israeli soldiers also could be seen sprawled across the banner.
Al Quds students reportedly called for “jihad” during the event, as well as for the death of Israeli soldiers and their families, according to Islamic Jihad.
An Al Quds spokesman condemned the event and told the Free Beacon that the event was “led by people from outside the university.”
“The threat of violence implied by the military dress, the fake weaponry, and the fascist salutes are not acceptable on our campus,” the spokesman said. “The university administration will be conducting an investigation immediately to determine who was responsible and to ensure that this kind of thing does not happen again.”
Imad Abu Kishek, the executive vice president of Al Quds University, also denounced the rally in a statement.
The demonstration “horrified the whole student body who is not used to such acts on campus,” Kishek said.
Al Quds promotes “openness and toleration” despite daily provocations by “Israeli soldiers,” Kishek said.
“This has been the case in spite of all kinds of difficulties that Al Quds University students, in specific, are facing on daily basis from Israeli soldiers, whom provokingly keep attacking them along side university staff with hundreds of tear gas bombs,” he said.
“These events have always been met by restraint of any retaliation, imposed by the university administration on its student body, following its policy of non-violence and pacifism.”
Kishek’s statement was provided in English only to members of the press who inquired about the demonstration, according to Middle East expert Gross.
“I have been told by students that the university has not yet translated it into Arabic nor posted it on any official university website,” Gross told the Free Beacon.
Several members of J Street U Brandeis, a campus group affiliated with the liberal Middle East lobbying group J Street, did not respond to a Free Beacon request for comment on the demonstration.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited on Sunday the Al Quds rally as a recent example of the "wild incitement against the State of Israel."
This is not the first time that Al Quds has hosted militant rallies, Gross said.
“I am informed by students at Al Quds University that the Hamas student faction there had already conducted at least two similar military-style demonstrations praising suicide bombers at the university so far this academic year, and no discipline was taken against them afterwards because no photos of them were exposed to a Western audience, like last Tuesday’s demonstration was,” Gross said.
“Perhaps even more disturbingly,” Gross added, “Brandeis University, the traditionally Jewish liberal university in America (which partners with Al Quds), has still to issue a statement condemning the rally, despite being asked to do so for over four consecutive days by American journalists such as yourself from the Free Beacon.”