Brandeis University Severs Ties with Palestinian Al Quds University

Comes following anti-Israel rally Al Quds held on its campus

Brandeis University ended its partnership with the Palestinian Al Quds University after an anti-Israel rally in Novemeber
Brandeis University ended its partnership with the Palestinian Al Quds University after an anti-Israel rally / AP
November 19, 2013

Brandeis University has ended its long-standing partnership with the Palestinian Al Quds University after the latter school was caught holding an anti-Israel rally on its campus.

Brandeis, America's most well known Jewish university, initially declined to distance itself from the Nov. 5 Al Quds rally, which featured students dressed in black military gear and automatic weapons marching on the school’s campus while raising the traditional Nazi salute.

The Jewish university’s refusal to condemn the rally when approached last week by the Washington Free Beacon sparked a furious reaction from students, teachers, and pro-Israel activists on campus.

Al Quds officials initially distanced themselves from the rally, which was organized by the student branch of the terror organization Islamic Jihad.

However, after news of the rally spread through the Jewish and Israeli media, Al Quds publicly lashed out at the Free Beacon and other outlets, labeling them "Jewish extremists."

"The university is often subjected to vilification campaigns by Jewish extremists with the purpose of discrediting its reputation as a prestigious academic institution with a unique, humane calling," read a statement issued Sunday night and addressed to Al Quds students.

"These extreme elements spare no effort to exploit some rare but nonetheless damaging events or scenes which occur on the campus of Al Quds University, such as fist-fighting between students, or some students making a mock military display," said the statement by Al Quds president Sari Nusseibeh, which led with a passage from the Quran.

Al Quds’ statement prompted Brandeis on Monday to officially suspend its partnership with the Palestinian university.

"Unfortunately, the Al Quds statement is unacceptable and inflammatory," Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence said in a statement. "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 the school it will "re-evaluate the relationship as future events may warrant."

Brandeis had initially refused to comment on the rally, declining multiple Free Beacon requests for comment last week.

This silence sparked a pitched controversy on campus, eventually leading the school's president to issue a short statement promising to investigate the rally.

However, some critics said the statement did not go far enough in its condemnation of the rally's anti-Semitic and anti Israel displays.

They demanded that the school immediately cease its partnership with Al Quds, which has come under fire for anti-Israel activities in the past.

Brandeis administrators quietly blamed the Free Beacon for the controversy and even lashed out at the website in postings on the Facebook.

"The paper reporting [and promoting] the issue has a clear slant," Andrew Flagel, Brandeis’ senior vice president for students and enrollment, said. "This was not a University sanctioned event there, and it seems that Brandeis is being linked to such an event for shock value. I’m disgusted by the event but also by media trying to make names for themselves in this way."

Student Eve Herman, president of the Brandeis Zionist Alliance, praised the university for finally severing its ties to Al Quds.

"As a student at Brandeis, I recognize the power of voice and am thankful that the university finally acknowledged the wrongdoings of Al Quds demonstration and suspended any ties with destructive human behavior," she said to the Free Beacon.

Published under: Anti-Semitism , Israel