Update: Al-Quds photos receive attention from Netanyahu through to Al Jazeera

November 11, 2013

In my dispatches last Wednesday and Sunday, I revealed that black-shirted and black-hooded students at Al-Quds University in east Jerusalem had held a Fascist-style rally on campus, apparently with the consent of the university authorities. Since there has been considerable interest in this topic, below are a few follow-up notes.

The previous dispatches can be read here:

* Scenes yesterday afternoon from a “moderate” Palestinian university

* Al-Quds: Fascist-style rally by our students last Tuesday was “totally unacceptable”

(This dispatch was written and posted on Nov. 11, but updated on Nov. 12.)


The university authorities said that students should not bring their guns on campus, hence the students used fake guns in the rally



1. Al-Quds statement condemning rally will only be in English, not Arabic
2. Israeli PM Netanyahu cites Al-Quds photos in Israeli cabinet meeting
3. Netanyahu shares Al-Quds photos from this website on twitter
4. Al-Quds rally mentioned on Al Jazeera TV
5. Al-Quds rally and photos now reported on in Hebrew press
6. The sound of silence
7. Islamic Jihad post photos of their own
8. Al-Quds American partner university, Brandeis, continues its mysterious silence
9. “Brandeis University: School for Scandal” (By Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, Nov.11, 2013)
10. “Kerry denounces Israeli settlements while Pal. students call for genocide” (By Jordan Schachtel, Breitbart, Nov. 7, 2013)


[Notes by Tom Gross]


The Al-Quds University spokesperson has now confirmed that the statement they issued (that I included in my last dispatch) was signed by Dr. Imad Abu Kishek, Executive Vice President of Al-Quds University.

However, the university spokesperson has also confirmed that the university’s statement is only in English and will not be released in Arabic – which is strange if they truly want to send a message to their students that this kind of Fascist-style display is “totally unacceptable,” as the vice-president of the university wrote in his English-language statement.



At the weekly Israeli cabinet meeting at the start of this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the Al-Quds photos when discussing the growing Palestinian incitement against Jews.

According to Israeli press reports:

“Noting that it was the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, in which the Nazis realized they could attack, rob and kill Jews without any meaningful reaction from the West, thus paving the way for the Holocaust, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: ‘It is very disturbing that precisely 75 years later we are witness to the phenomenon of swastikas and Nazi-style salutes,’ Netanyahu said, referring to an incident last month when a Nazi flag was hoisted near Beit Umar in the West Bank, and to a military-style parade at Al-Quds University last week organized by the Islamic Jihad faction where students gave Hitler-style salutes.

“‘This is a direct result of the continued wild incitement against the State of Israel,’ Netanyahu added. ‘This is not the way to achieve peace.’”



Netanyahu then shared the al-Quds University photos from the “Tom Gross Media” website on his official twitter account.



The Al-Quds rally and photos were mentioned during a discussion show both yesterday and today on Al Jazeera TV. For example, they are mentioned at 11 minutes 10 seconds, and then again at the end at 24 minutes 20 seconds in this clip .

(Unlike Al-Jazeera the rally has not, to my knowledge, been mentioned on the BBC or any of the major American networks.)



The rally has now been covered in Hebrew, for example, here by Ma’ariv, with quotes from me:

(I want to disassociate myself from some of the readers’ comments on Ma’ariv’s website which I think are unpleasant and unhelpful for the cause of peace.)



It continues to be a matter of disappointment that while many right-leaning media have covered this (as well as foreign-language online media in Spanish, French, German, Polish (if you scroll down) and other languages) not a single centrist or left-wing journalist based in Jerusalem (and many subscribe to this email list) has covered this topic. It is surely not for lack of space since they regularly report on whatever negative stories they can find about Israelis.

Instead it has been left to ordinary readers to put a link to the Al-Quds photos in the comment sections under various other articles on the Middle East on the websites of liberal and centrist media.

Continuing to ignore the widespread and growing Palestinian incitement to kill Jews, as the more liberal international media do, does not bode well for peace.

Some might say that keeping silent in the face of such extremism makes as loud a statement as those who actually staged the event in the first place.

Islamic Jihad were open about what they were doing in a public rally. But what are we to think of those American universities, media and diplomats who let down their liberal credentials by turning a blind eye to these events? Shrugging it off as though this kind of thing doesn’t happen should not be an option for them.




Tom Gross comments:

Palestinian students at Al-Quds University tell me that the rally was organized and attended by Al-Quds university students belonging to the Islamic Jihad faction of students at Al-Quds University, and held on campus with the full knowledge of the Al-Quds University administration, and the Brandeis statement is incorrect.

In addition, the photos show a very clearly organized event, with a huge printed backdrop with pictures of suicide bombers, a “red carpet” style Israeli flag walkway for all to trample on, seats carefully laid out for the audience, and a sun cover mounted over the seats to shield the audience from the sun.

Regardless of the reassurances given to the Brandeis president by Al-Quds University, just from looking at the photos, one can see that it is logistically highly unlikely that the event could have been organized without their authorization. Given this, one wonders if they will be satisfied by the promised Al-Quds investigation if it exonerates the university.

The statement by the Brandeis president also ignores the previous two similar demonstrations held on campus so far this academic year by the Hamas student faction at Al-Quds. Will the Brandeis president call for the dismantling of the Islamic Jihad faction of students at Al-Quds University? Islamic Jihad, by their own admission, have killed civilians including children and babies and are listed by both the U.S. and EU as a terrorist group.


Update (November 12):

I am told further, having spoken to students at the university, that there is no such thing as an unauthorized demonstration at Al-Quds University, or indeed almost anywhere under Palestinian Authority control. The university has security guards at the gates that monitor everyone that comes into the university. You have to show student ID to get on to the campus. Last Tuesday's student-organized Islamic Jihad rally lasted between two and three hours and up to 1000 students attended or watched the rally for at least part of this time, according to students who were there.

And in the Al-Quds demonstration by the Hamas student faction a few weeks ago, vile literature was handed out, including leaflets comparing the Israeli campaign in Gaza to the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, and photos of suicide bombers were displayed.

Another organization designated by the West as a terrorist group, the PFLP, which also has a student faction at the university, also held a student rally a few weeks ago on the campus of Al-Quds.

Update (November 19):

There is a new dispatch here:

* Brandeis suspends partnership with Al-Quds after (they appear to defend) Fascist-style rally



Islamic Jihad’s official website as well as “Palestine Today” have now put up their own pictures of the rally:



(They have, under advisement I am told, not put up the worst of Fascist-salute photos from the rally which were placed on my website, but some are nonetheless shocking – especially since both Al-Quds and Brandeis proclaim Al-Quds to be a liberal institution.)


The Islamic Jihad organization in the Palestinian territories has been labeled a terrorist organization by both the United States and European Union. It has carried out many terrorist attacks killing and maiming hundreds of civilians.

Islamic Jihad also runs social services in the Palestinian territories in which children are indoctrinated. Last year, according to press reports, at an Islamic Jihad sponsored kindergarten graduation ceremony, a young boy exclaimed, “When I grow up I’ll join Islamic Jihad and die as a suicide martyr.” The boy continued, “I love the resistance and the martyrs and Palestine, and I want to blow myself up on Zionists and kill them on a bus in a suicide bombing.”



Brandeis University – America’s best known liberal Jewish university – is facing criticism after refusing to distance itself from the rally held on the campus of its Palestinian partner university.

The Brandeis-Al-Quds partnership is funded in part by the Ford Foundation, which has come under intense criticism in the past for funding organizations that have been accused of being anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic.

Brandeis spokesman Bill Schaller, despite being repeatedly asked by American journalists for a comment about the pictures and press reports on the Al-Quds rally, has (as of yesterday) still refused to give one. While other students at Brandeis condemned the rally, the branch of the J Street organization at Brandeis has also refused to comment on the demonstration.

I am told that the Brandeis student newspaper will soon be running a story on Brandeis’s failure to condemn the rally.

I attach an article on Brandeis below, from The Washington Free Beacon, and another article after that on Islamic Jihad.

-- Tom Gross


* You can comment on this dispatch here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia. Please also press “Like” on that page.



Brandeis University: School for Scandal
‘Nazi-Style’ rally held on campus of Palestinian partner school
By Adam Kredo
Washington Free Beacon
November 11, 2013


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.

Brandeis, the nation’s most well known Jewish university, partners with the Palestinian Al Quds University, where students held a military rally on Tuesday of last week.

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.

The Brandeis-Al Quds partnership is funded in part by the Ford Foundation, which has come under fire in the past for funding organizations that some accuse of being anti-Israel.

Brandeis and Al Quds exchange students, administrators, and faculty members under the program.

Islamic Jihad’s official website also reported on the rally and included multiple pictures of armed men trampling over a banner that had been painted with Jewish stars.

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.”



Kerry Denounces Israeli Settlements While Palestinian Students Call For Genocide
By Jordan Schachtel
Breitbart News
November 7, 2013


On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry was in Israel’s sovereign capital of Jerusalem (which the Obama administration does not recognize as such), lecturing the people of Israel and its government that he and the Obama administration deem new Israeli homes in the disputed West Bank area to be “illegitimate” settlements.

Meanwhile, in the same neighborhood at the Palestinian Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, students were seen proudly displaying Nazi-like salutes, calling for the genocide of Israel’s Jewish population, and honoring terrorists as martyrs for their cause.

Tom Gross, a Middle East commentator and former Jerusalem correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph, uncovered the demonstration, an event held by the Islamic Jihad student campus group. Gross wrote:

“Al-Quds is a Palestinian university in east Jerusalem. It is often hailed as a “liberal” or “moderate” university by western diplomats and journalists. It was established with the help of Israel in 1984, along with other universities Israel helped set up for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank with the aim of increasing the educational level of Palestinians. Academics and students (including, quite possibly, some in these photos) have received and continue to receive grants from European governments, charities and foundations. Al-Quds University is also currently in partnership with liberal (and largely Jewish) institutions in the U.S., including Brandeis University and Bard College.”

The student group was representing the greater Islamic Jihad organization in the Palestinian territories that has been labeled a terrorist organization by the United States and EU. While it is predominantly a Sunni organization, Islamic Jihad maintains strong ties along with financial backing from Israel’s primary geopolitical enemy and known state sponsor of terrorist activities throughout the globe: Iran.

Islamic Jihad is responsible for many of the social services in the Palestinian territories, including educational programs. Last year at an Islamic Jihad sponsored kindergarten graduation ceremony, a student exclaimed, “When I grow up I’ll join Islamic Jihad and the al-Quds Brigades. I’ll fight the Zionist enemy and fire missiles at it until I die as a shahid (martyr) and join my father in heaven.” The kindergartner continued, “I love the resistance and the martyrs and Palestine, and I want to blow myself up on Zionists and kill them on a bus in a suicide bombing.”

Following the latest round of negotiations, the Obama administration would confirm an additional $75 million in American taxpayer dollars towards foreign aid, disbursed into the Palestinian territories for various projects.

Secretary Kerry’s denouncement of Israel’s settlement building activities received international attention, praised by the New York Times as Kerry’s first step towards playing a more “muscular” role towards Israel’s “right-wing” and “volatile element.” By contrast, the Al-Quds University demonstration of openly fascist, genocidal overtures remained largely unreported outside of the Pro-Israel blogosphere.

While the Secretary of State was finishing up berating Israeli PM Netanyahu for letting his citizens build homes, Kerry remarked in a news interview prior to departing for Jordan, “I mean, does Israel want a third intifada?”

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.