Long ago, in Jerusalem, in Ecclesiastes, King Solomon, King David's son, famously wrote: "There is nothing new under the sun."
How right he was. Brandeis's decision to disinvite Ayaan Hirsi Ali is "nothing new" under the liberal Waltham sun.
In 2003, Brandeis partnered with Al-Quds University—and did so, year after year, until 2013, when violent demonstrations broke out on the Al-Quds campus, replete with traditional Nazi salutes.
In 2006, the Brandeis community of students and professors did not protest the Distinguished Professorship Brandeis awarded to the "inflammatory" anti-Zionist playwright Tony Kushner.
In 2006, Brandeis also staged a "Voices of Palestine" exhibit. Seventeen paintings by Palestinian youths depicted their lives under Israeli "occupation." This time, refreshingly, Brandeis students had the exhibit taken down because there was absolutely no Israeli perspective being exhibited.
This was not surprising. There usually isn't an Israeli perspective exhibited. Kudos to these Brandeis students.
In 2006, Jordan's Prince Hassan bin Talal delivered the keynote address at the Brandeis graduation. Students did not protest Jordan's human rights record vis a vis the Palestinians (they massacred them in 1970), or in terms of torturing its own citizens, nor its abysmal record on honor-related violence, including honor killings.
Indeed, Brandeis students and staff did not hold Jordan accountable for its former systematic desecration of Jewish holy places and for its forcing the evacuation of Jews, many of whose families had been there for centuries, from the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem in 1948.
Brandeis students did not create online petitions to debate the merits of choosing Jordan's Prince as a speaker.
Here's why. Arabs and Muslims have been and still are treated super-sympathetically on American and Canadian campuses. Jews and Israelis are not. Nevertheless, the false charge of "Islamophobia" is received as divine revelation on many of these same campuses.
In 2007, Dr. Daniel Pipes was invited to speak at Brandeis. However, he was defamed by Brandeis's former President who compared the distinguished and sober Pipes to Holocaust denier Norman Finkelstein. Both allegedly were speakers who "inflame passions, whose mission is not so much discussion and education as it is theatre, a show." Pipes did not lecture at that time—but subsequently did so.
In 2007, President Jimmy Carter, the author of the scandalously anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid "was invited to speak at Brandeis. Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz insisted on a joint appearance. No one protested Carter's appearance; if they did, their view did not prevail.
In 2010, Michael B. Oren, the distinguished historian and author of Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East and Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present, the co-editor of New Essays on Zionism, and Israel's then Ambassador to the United States, was invited to deliver the keynote address at Brandeis's commencement exercises.
What a scandalous bro-ha-ha ensued!
Brandeis students were divided—and hotly so. The denouncers claimed that Ambassador Oren would be "political," (this means they did not agree with what they believed he would say), and as such, "divisive" and "polarizing." Brandeis Professor Gordon Fellman said: "His role (as Ambassador) obligates him to defend Israeli policies…that includes defending the Israeli incursion into Gaza, housing policies of the occupation, and so on. I think for many people that's a third rail. Why mess up a commencement with a third rail?"
How did this all come about?
First, it took many years of Soviet-Arab League-Saudi-Palestinian and Soros-funded hate propaganda, doctored footage and Big Lies, all of which were meant to toughen people up for the simultaneous and subsequent legal, social, cultural, economic, diplomatic, and military blows against Israel. And, against Israeli officials.
In 2003, I published The New Anti-Semitism. It effectively ruined my reputation as a pioneer feminist and intellectual among my rapidly "Palestinianized" colleagues. But, I saw it then and I see it even more clearly now: This is open season on Israel, not only at the United Nations (which has legalized Jew hatred), and at every international human rights organization, but also in the media and on too many campuses in both the Islamic and Western worlds. Israel is the pariah Jew of the world, the designated scapegoat. Israel is the "Nazi, Apartheid state."
No one dares say the truth, which is that Islam is the largest practitioner of both gender and religious apartheid in the world and it is coming our way sooner rather than later. In Paris, mobs shouted "Kill the Jews" when Dreyfus was (falsely) accused and found guilty and they shouted this again in the early twenty first century.
What students and professors fail to understand, Orwell understands all too well. Israel is the world's "Goldstein," the one who is blamed for everything and whose permanent punishment is what diverts people from noticing who their real oppressors might be.
But Brandeis is not the only pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist university in America.
In 2005, "Israeli Apartheid Week" was first unfurled on campuses all across America. The stated aim was to "bolster opposition to Israeli Apartheid and to support the BDS campaign against Israel. As of 2014, campuses in 160 cities around the world are participating. This campaign includes activities such as film screenings, lectures, workshops, protest rallies, and social media publicity, as well as more "creative" demonstrations such as a "mock Israeli Apartheid Wall or Checkpoint" or a flash mob.
Brandeis is not alone in this collective madness.
We cannot blame the Brandeis students—not when at least eighty-five of their professors urged that Ayaan Hirsi Ali be disinvited.
We cannot blame the Brandeis students—not when they have been taught to be super-sensitive to permanently "offended" Muslim feelings, not when the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR, or the Muslim Brotherhood in America), has so successfully indoctrinated their Muslim Student Association flock into believing that black is white—and for thinking in radically black-and-white ways.
The world is watching. How can Brandeis ever remove the stain from its reputation? Would Louis D. Brandeis, the first Jewish-American Supreme Court Justice, be allowed to speak at his namesake university today? After all, he wrote:
"In the frank expression of conflicting opinions lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental actions." And:"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants."
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, is the author of thousands of articles and of fifteen books, including the best-selling Women and Madness and Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman. Her latest book, An American Bride in Kabul, just won a National Jewish Book Award. She is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum and can be reached through her website: www.phyllis-chesler.com