English Literature Professor at Al-Quds: We have the right to kill Israelis (& Syracuse cuts ties)

November 22, 2013

Above and below: further photos of the campus rally at Al-Quds University earlier this month. (The photos which have been described as more explicitly Nazi-like can be found here)


* Syracuse University “indefinitely” suspends its relationship with Al-Quds University, making it the second American college to sever ties this week after Palestinian students held a large Fascist-style demonstration on campus, and the university authorities refused to condemn it unequivocally.

* Jonathan Tobin: “There’s more to this story than just this distressing exchange. The problem here is not just that terror groups are as accepted at Palestinian universities – even those that are generally respected abroad as Al Quds is – as sports teams are at their American counterparts. It’s that most Americans, including American Jews like those who run Brandeis, haven’t a clue about why this is so or how pervasive this trend is in Palestinian society. Such groups are not just welcome at Palestinian schools but an essential part of the fabric of student life as well as the general culture.”

* Al-Quds also partners with: Columbia, George Washington, Rutgers, Dearborn, Wayne State University, MIT, Tufts, George Mason, and Lesley. In Germany with Heidelberg, Hohenheim, Karlsruhe and the Berlin Free University. In France with Paris 4, Paris 8, Bordeaux, Rennes and Lille universities. In Canada with Toronto, McGill and York universities; and many others. The New School has a “co-existence initiative” with Al Quds.

* Tom Gross: I am NOT advocating a severing of ties by any of these institutions, but they should make the Al-Quds University authorities and professors understand that encouraging violence against civilians is unacceptable.



1. English Literature Professor at Al-Quds: We have the right to kill Israelis
2. “What Americans don’t know about Palestinian culture” (By Jonathan Tobin, Commentary Magazine, Nov. 22, 2013)
3. “Syracuse follows Brandeis in halting ties with Al-Quds” (By Henry Rome, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2013)
4. “Al Quds University has partnerships with MANY other universities worldwide” (Elder of Ziyon, Nov. 22, 2013)
5. “Al-Quds president says Brandeis counterpart ‘gone overboard’ in row over rally” (By David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Nov. 22, 2013)
6. Statement from Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence
7. “Brandeis University cuts ties with Palestinian school” (USA Today / AP, Nov. 21, 2013)


[Note by Tom Gross]

Since there has been considerable interest from readers of these dispatches, asking for more on the Al-Quds story, here is a fifth dispatch on this subject. (Links to the previous dispatches can be found at the very end of this page.)

I attach several articles below, including pieces from today’s Jerusalem Post, and The Times of Israel by editor David Horovitz, which carries a response from Al-Quds President Sari Nusseibeh (and a short reply from me at the end of that piece).

After that, there is a short statement from Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence, which he issued just moments ago in response to Nusseibeh’s latest comments.

The Al-Quds story has also finally hit the mainstream media, in large part thanks to a less than fair piece by the Associated Press that has appeared in a number of publications, for example (as attached below) in USA Today. The AP piece fails to explain the unpleasantness, inadequacy and anti-Semitic undertones (or overtones, depending on your reading of it) of Nusseibeh’s statement at the start of this week, a statement that left Brandeis with little choice but to suspend their relationship with Al-Quds.

Nusseibeh, who studied at both Oxford and Harvard, is a Palestinian nationalist who has run Al-Quds University for the past 18 years. He has received a lot of western money for his university, including a large grant from the financier and Holocaust-survivor George Soros.

There is also a list below – from another much-read website – of many universities that have ties with Al-Quds. I am NOT advocating a severing of ties between them and Al-Quds, but others might, and Sari Nusseibeh would be well advised to make a clear unambiguous statement now, telling his students and professors that encouraging violence against civilians (whether Jewish or otherwise) is unacceptable.

-- Tom Gross

(A reader reminds me that the American 20-year-old, Alisa Flatow, who was killed in an Islamic Jihad terror attack on a bus, was a Brandeis student on a semester abroad at the time.)


Below is a comment that Rima Najjar, the Assistant Professor of English Literature at Al-Quds University, posted yesterday on her Facebook page. I attach it verbatim, complete with her spelling mistakes.

Rima Najjar


Those of you following the story re: Brandeis University suspending its partnership with Al-Quds University might like to take another look at the campus rally that instigated the ruckus. The rally was meant to honor the martyrs of Islamic Jihad and specifically the father of martyr Mohammad Rabah ‘Asi. Regarding the salute at the Islamic Bloc rally that was likened to a nazi salute, it is done by extending the arm and pointing the index finger to indicate the basic “there is no Allah but Allah” Muslim religious” creed. Was there military zeal and a subtext of violence in the imagery used and the slogans chanted against the Jewish Zionist state as symbolized by the star of David that students were stepping on? Yes, of course, there was. It’s the right of the oppressed to use violence against the oppressor and no amount of “terrorist” labeling or Islamophobic ranting is going to change that.

As it happened, we had (by coincidence) three professors from Brandeis visiting us while all this was happening - in fact, they met with members of the English department to discuss course design and development, and they do not share the view of their administration that suspending the partnership between the two universities was the right action to take.

Islamic Block Rally on Campus Honors Palestinian Martyrs


And a screenshot of the above from her Facebook page:




What Americans Don’t Know About Palestinian Culture
By Jonathan S. Tobin
Commentary Magazine
November 20, 2013


Some Jewish liberals got a terrible shock last week when British journalist Tom Gross broke a story about a fascist-style military rally held on the campus of Al Quds University. Al Quds is a Palestinian college located in Jerusalem and has had an academic partnership with both Brandeis University and Bard College in the United States. The rally was organized by the Al Quds branch of the Islamic Jihad group (though it was joined by much of the rest of the student body that joined the jihadi storm troopers in marching on an Israeli flag) and followed two other demonstrations sponsored by Hamas to honor suicide bombers at the school.

The story about the event, illustrated by a much-circulated picture of the Islamic Jihad group in black uniforms and masks giving a Nazi-style salute, posed a dilemma for Brandeis. While no one in charge at Bard seemed particularly exercised about the fact that their partner held pep rallies for terrorism the way a typical American school does for football or basketball, Brandeis is an avowedly Jewish institution and when the Washington Free Beacon posed a question about what it was doing in a relationship with such a place, the university was initially flummoxed and hunkered down, offering no comment about the story even as many of their students and faculty expressed outrage. It took more than a week, but yesterday Brandeis extracted its head from the sand and President Frederick Lawrence announced that it was reevaluating its relationship with Al Quds. Lawrence’s move came after he called on Al Quds President Sari Nusseibeh to condemn the rally in Arabic and English. Instead, the renowned Palestine “moderate” rationalized the rally, defended the students, and blamed the controversy on “vilification campaigns by Jewish extremists” leaving Brandeis no choice but to back out of their relationship.

But there’s more to this story than just this distressing exchange. The problem here is not just that terror groups are as accepted at Palestinian universities – even those that are generally respected abroad as Al Quds is – as sports teams are at their American counterparts. It’s that most Americans, including American Jews like those who run Brandeis, haven’t a clue about why this is so or how pervasive this trend is in Palestinian society.

If much of the discussion about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians on college campuses and throughout the rest of the American liberal world seem so skewed it is not just because Israel is often unfairly smeared as an “apartheid state.” It is also because many Americans simply don’t know the first thing about contemporary Palestinian culture. Websites like Palestine Media Watch and Memri, which provide constant updates about what is broadcast and printed by Palestinian sources, could give them a quick lesson about how deeply hatred of Israel and the Jews is embedded in popular Palestinian culture as well as its politics. But those who bring up these unhappy facts are more often dismissed as biased extremists who don’t understand the Palestinians.

But the point about campus activities at Al Quds is that there is nothing exceptional about large groups of students demonstrating their hate for Israel and their devotion not to Palestinian nationalism but its extreme Islamist adherents such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad that call for the death of Jews. Such groups are not just welcome at Palestinian schools but an essential part of the fabric of student life as well as the general culture.

Thus, the shock here is not that Brandeis (if not Bard) has been alerted to the true nature of their partner and even a respected front man like Nusseibeh. Rather, it’s that it never occurred to anyone in authority at Brandeis that this was the inevitable result of any cooperation with Al Quds. If it had or if more American academics got their heads out of the sand and realized the cancer of hate that is still the dominating feature of Palestinian political culture, the assumption that Israel is the villain of the Middle East conflict might be challenged more often.



Syracuse follows Brandeis in halting ties with Al-Quds
By Henry Rome
Jerusalem Post
November 22, 2013

U.S. schools severed ties this week after Islamic Jihad held a Nazi-style demonstration on the Palestinian university’s campus. Sari Nusseibeh


Syracuse University “indefinitely” suspended its relationship with Al-Quds University on Thursday, making it the second American university to sever ties this week after Islamic Jihad held a Nazi-style demonstration on the Palestinian university’s campus.

“We are very disappointed and saddened to have learned of these recent events at Al-Quds University,” said Kevin Quinn, Syracuse’s senior vice president for public affairs, in an email to The Jerusalem Post.

He said Syracuse’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism would end its ties with Al-Quds. The decision by Syracuse came three days after Brandeis University severed its relationship.

Meanwhile, the president of Al-Quds, Sari Nusseibeh, came under increasing pressure to respond to Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence’s demand to condemn “radical” behavior at the Islamic Jihad’s rally.

“We don’t believe in oppressing freedom of opinion, but respecting it.” Nusseibeh told The Media Line. “I said clearly about what happens in this rally that such manifestations are harmful to the university. The university will not allow the breaching of respect.”

It was a reversal from Nusseibeh’s previous public statement on the matter – he said the university was “often subjected to vilification campaigns by Jewish extremists” – but did not appear to be a sufficient apology for Brandeis officials.

“I think that Brandeis University leadership and faculty members who were previously involved in the partnership are very carefully monitoring the situation and I think we’re in wait-and- see mode,” Ellen de Graffenreid, Brandeis senior vice president for communications, told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The event that sparked the uproar was a demonstration on November 5 at the Al- Quds campus, in which members of Islamic Jihad dressed in military uniforms, carried fake assault rifles and trampled on Israeli flags.

The event featured posters of suicide bombers and demonstrators raising their arms in a Nazi-style salute.



Al Quds University has partnerships with MANY other universities worldwide
From the Elder of Ziyon blog
November 20, 2013


As I reported on Monday, Brandeis University cut ties with Al Quds University over its shameful tolerance of hate on campus and its blaming “extremist Jews” for bringing it to light.

The question is, what other universities does Al Quds partner with?

In its 2006 annual report, Al Quds wrote:


In the field of academic cooperation and scientific research, the (Al-Quds) university continued to open new horizons of cooperation with numerous international universities in the US. These include: Columbia, Brandeis, Dearborn, Wayne State University, MIT, Tufts, George Mason, and Leslley. The (Al-Quds) university has excellent ties with numerous German universities like Heidelberg, Hohenheim, Karlsruhe and the Berlin Free University. The same is true regarding French universities like Paris 4, Paris 8, Bordeaux University and Lille University. We also have agreements with the Ricardo Palma University in South America, and more.




Al Quds 2011 annual report mentions Syracuse U, Montana U, Tufts U, Drexel U, Berkeley U and Babson College in the US; Western Ontario U, British Columbia U, McGill U and Toronto U in Canada, and many European universities including and Napoli University, Santa Anna University, Turin U, Ferrara U, Verona U, Antwerp U, Marie Curie U, University of Rennes, and Bordeaux U.



With regard to Canadian universities, especially Toronto and McGill and other universities, the (Al-Quds) university has had good ties with them for some time.

In addition, Al Quds has a partnership with Bard College, written up in the New York Times and funded by USAID and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.

USAID seems to do a lot with Al Quds.


York University in Ontario has expanded agreements with Al Quds.


George Washington University Medical school has a joint program with Al Quds.


Rutgers worked on a joint brain research study with Al Quds funded by National Institutes of Health..


Harvard has jointly published an anti-Israel report with Al Quds.


Oberlin created a joint program with Al Quds and Tel Aviv University.


Purdue has a water resource management program with a number of schools, including Al Quds and Technion.


American Universiy Law School partners with Al Quds.


The New School has a “co-existence initiative” with Al Quds.


Smith College.


Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden and the National Technical University of Athens in Greece partner with Al Quds and two other Palestinian Arab universities on environmental issues.



Al-Quds president says Brandeis counterpart ‘gone overboard’ in row over rally
By David Horovitz
Times of Israel
November 22, 2013


Sari Nusseibeh, the president of the Palestinian al-Quds University, on Friday charged that the president of Brandeis University, Frederick Lawrence, had “gone overboard” in an escalating dispute between the two universities stemming from an Islamic Jihad rally held on the al-Quds main campus earlier this month.

During the demonstration two weeks ago, JTA reported, protesters marched in black military gear with fake automatic weapons while waving flags and offering Nazi-style salutes. Banners with images of Palestinian suicide bombers decorated the campus’s main square, according to a statement from Brandeis. Several students also portrayed dead Israeli soldiers.

Lawrence called on Nusseibeh to issue in Arabic and English a condemnation of the demonstration. Unsatisfied with a statement subsequently issued by Nusseibeh in English and Arabic, which Brandeis called “unacceptable and inflammatory,” the Waltham, Mass. university on Monday suspended its partnership with al-Quds, which had been in place since 1998. Lawrence said the university would reevaluate the relationship in the future.

Speaking to The Times of Israel in his office at al-Quds’s Beit Hanina campus on Wednesday, Nusseibeh said he hoped Brandeis would reconsider its position. But on Friday [today], in the latest round of the dispute, Nusseibeh sent a bitter email to The Times of Israel.

Nusseibeh was responding to a follow-up query in which The Times of Israel asked him whether he had condemned the rally – and any lauding of suicide bombers that may have taken place there – in Arabic to the students of al-Quds. Nusseibeh replied with a lengthy critique of Lawrence’s role in the affair and a defense of his own actions in the wake of the rally.

“I think president Lawrence has gone overboard in his reactions – the last being his decision to expel me from the Board of Ethics, justice and public life, with which I have been associated since its inception, and from many years before I forged a partnership between the two universities,” Nusseibeh charged. Brandeis maintains an International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, and Nusseibeh was a member of its international advisory board. (That board, incidentally, is headed by the South African judge Richard Goldstone, author of the Goldstone Report into the 2008-9 Operation Cast Lead, which accused the Israeli army of deliberately killing Palestinian civilians in Gaza – a charge Goldstone personally later retracted.) The website of the Board now states that Nusseibeh is “currently suspended” from membership.

Nusseibeh continued, in his email, by protesting that Brandeis President Lawrence had “chosen to read my letters to students as ‘inflammatory’ – partly I understood because he will not accept that there are such people as ‘Jewish extremists’, and partly also because of my use of the Arabic term ‘majzara’ – which was translated into English as ‘massacre’ – to refer to the holocaust (sic). This, in spite of there being no Arabic term to refer to the holocaust by, and in spite of the literal translation of majzara as slaughter.”

He criticized Lawrence for never bothering “to express any sympathy for the continued plight of my university – the latest being yet another vicious incursion by the army into the campus just a day after the rally, as a result of which more than 30 students were hospitalized from various gas-related effects.” Nusseibeh may have been referring to an incident last week reported by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. “Nor has he shown any sympathy for the fact that my graduates continue to suffer from not having their degrees accredited in the Israeli system. In other words, nothing that he has done has shown any feeling for our plight under occupation. Yet he demands immediate reaction just based on a picture and comment circulated by someone who clearly wishes to inflame the political climate between Israelis (and Jews more generally) and Palestinians.”

Turning to the November 5 rally itself, Nusseibeh said he first learned of it “when someone sent me the blogger’s picture and comment. I reacted immediately by giving instructions to issue an official statement saying such manifestations of militarism are unacceptable (remember, I still had no information on exactly what all this was about).

“Secondly, I issued instructions to set up an investigation into the event: its nature, the people behind it, the occasion, the procedures employed to get permission for holding it, and so on. Thirdly, I received the call from president Lawrence expressing anger, and calling for a condemnation of nazi-style militarism. He said he was being pressured by his trustees and other members of the Jewish community. I assured him of our mutual agreement that I will act promptly to express our official rejection of such manifestations and that I will do whatever I can that such matters will not be repeated. I asked him to send a draft statement of what he needed.

“Fourthly, president Lawrence sent me a draft statement that expressed more his immediate needs than my needs as a university president having to handle a culture rather than a one-time event. I therefore preferred to draft my own statement, wishing to address the problem at its roots: so far ‘the problem’ as I knew was simply that of holding nazi-style militarist manifestations. What I had to address was therefore the matter of what free speech meant, its limits, and the values that go with it.

“Fifthly, I had to begin reacting to President Lawrence’s reactions. I and other colleagues were in close consultation about the matter with three Brandeis faculty who happened to be visiting us, trying to contain the fallout. These three were invited to attend an initial briefing by the investigation committee we had set up.

“Sixthly, and only yesterday, I learnt (still informally) from one of the people on the investigation committee what the occasion was: the jihad faction was protesting the manner of killing by the Israeli army a few days ago of the suicide bomber from three years ago: they had invited the parents of the person bombed inside the cave where he was hiding by way of ‘paying respects’ to them.”

Nusseibeh may have been referring to the late-October killing by the IDF of Islamic Jihad’s Muhammed Aazi, who was allegedly among the planners of a bus bombing in Tel Aviv last November in which 29 people were injured. Aazi, who was said by the IDF to be planning another attack, was shot in a clash in the cave where he was hiding out west of Ramallah.

Nusseibeh’s email continued: “Having said all that, I can now tell you that for me, there was neither a suicide bombing I was called upon to laud or condemn. What I was first called upon to do was to express the university’s rejection of militaristic parades. And my role here was not simply to express displeasure or condemnation, but to give students a message about what freedom of opinion meant. And I think that, judging by the number of comments (positive and negative or none) I received from students, I can say the message had the effect desired by all of us who hope to contain extremism and to create a climate conducive to peace (my own objective, if not that of others).

“As to suicide bombings,” he concluded, “I have never lauded them, and have always condemned them. And as to nazism, I should just add here that I was informed by the investigation committee member I mentioned above that no nazi or fascist sentiments were expressed. However, to my mind, fascism and anti/demur ism can be expressed in more than one way, and it is a duty to condemn and suppress it wherever it reveals itself.

“I am sorry for a long answer to a simple query, but simple questions can sometimes only elicit very shallow and incomplete answers,” Nusseibeh signed off.

Meanwhile, journalist and commentator Tom Gross, who first publicized news and photos of the rally, told The Times of Israel that he “and others writing about this absolutely resent being called Jewish extremists since I have for over 20 years supported an independent Palestine state and still do – and all I and others want is for the Palestinians and Israelis to both engage in responsible governance so that the Palestinian state in formation will live at peace with Israel.”

In his statement issued to al-Quds students Sunday, Nusseibeh had said that “Jewish extremists” were using the demonstration to “capitalize on events in ways that misrepresent the university as promoting inhumane, anti-Semitic, fascist, and Nazi ideologies.”


For those interested, see also:

Brandeis Removes Al Quds’ Nusseibeh From Ethics Center




Statement from Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence
November 22, 2013 (12 noon EST)


Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh has made a number of remarks to the media that have not been conveyed to me personally or through my staff. I am reaching out to President Nusseibeh today and hope that he will be open to a personal discussion.

As I have indicated to him directly, this decision by Brandeis University was taken deliberatively and with broad input. The partnership was suspended – not terminated – pending the receipt of additional information including input from our faculty members.

My position on the issue of free speech and hate speech, a subject that I have studied for my entire professional and academic career, can be read on my blog at: http://blogs.brandeis.edu/president/2013/11/15/confronting-hate-speech/.

I am dedicated to keeping the lines of communication open between our institutions, but I will not respond to specific issues raised in the public media.




Brandeis University cuts ties with Palestinian school
USA Today / Associated Press
November 21, 2013

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) – Brandeis University has decided to end its relationship with a Palestinian university over what it calls a failure by leadership to condemn an on-campus demonstration in which marchers reportedly made what Brandeis officials said looked like Nazi salutes.

Brandeis, based in suburban Boston, is a nonsectarian university founded by the American Jewish community. Its president, Frederick Lawrence, formally ended the partnership with Al-Quds University on Monday.

But Al-Quds in a statement Wednesday urged Brandeis to reconsider. The university said it launched an investigation immediately after the Nov. 5 rally and informed all political factions on campus not to hold such activities. The university said the campus political wing of Islamic Jihad responsible for the rally has a small number of students who violated their agreements with the university.

The faction’s activities are unacceptable and contrary to the university’s “liberal policy and the human values we are trying to promote,” the statement said.

The military wing of Islamic Jihad is a violent militant group committed to Israel’s destruction. It has killed scores of Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks.

Al-Quds said in its statement that the partnership between the universities has shielded students from extremist influences.

“Our arms are always open for peace,” it said. “This has been and will always be our stance, despite the repeated attacks by the Israeli military on our campus and students.”

The demonstration on the Al-Quds campus included masked demonstrators “wearing black military gear, armed with fake automatic weapons, and who marched while waving flags and raising the traditional Nazi salute,” according to a statement from Brandeis. The demonstration included banners depicting images of martyred suicide bombers.

Lawrence contacted Al-Quds President Sari Nusseibeh and requested that he issue an unequivocal condemnation in Arabic and English.

But Brandeis deemed the resulting statement issued Sunday “unacceptable and inflammatory.”

The original Al-Quds statement said “extreme elements” often try to capitalize on campus events that “misrepresent the university as promoting inhumane, anti-Semitic, fascist, and Nazi ideologies.”

“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,” the statement continued. “They cite these events as evidence justifying their efforts to muster broad Jewish and western opinion to support their position.”

Nusseibeh is considered a leading Palestinian intellectual and advocate of non-violence who worked with an Israeli peace activist and former security official on peace initiatives.

A spokesman for Islamic Jihad’s military wing in the Gaza Strip told The Associated Press that although similar, there is no connection between Islamic Jihad’s salute and that of the Nazis. The raised arm pointing toward the sky symbolizes a desire to reach holy Jerusalem, currently under Israeli control, he said.

The decade-long partnership between the schools has included student and faculty exchanges that Brandeis says have advanced the cause of peace and understanding and provided educational opportunities.

Brandeis did not close the door entirely on the partnership, saying the university “will re-evaluate the relationship as future events may warrant.”


The previous dispatches on this issue 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”

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

* Brandeis suspends partnership with Al-Quds after Fascist-style rally

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


UPDATE: Please see also:

* Finally, the New York Times covers official Palestinian Authority praise for Hitler (and reproduces my Al-Quds Fascist rally photos) (Jan. 7, 2014)

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