Lake Erie Conservative

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Posts Tagged ‘commencement ceremony’

… A Disgraceful Act [#Brandeis Cowardice] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Friday,April 18th,2014

.. the hashtag line is mine own . The titile is both that of the piece in the Weekly Standard , and that of the author of the letter – writer …

.. Dr. Jeffrey Herf , PHd (History) , a well – known and literate historian , has his PHd from Brandeis in 1981 . He wrote this letter to the President of Brandeis University , and evidently submitted it to the Weekly Standard for publication . Normally , it would be in the Letters to the Editor Section . TWS co – executive editor Bill Kristol submitted it to his readers in its entirety …

.. [h/t — theWeeklyStandard]..

.. [link] to the news piece ..

.. as do I . It is well worth your time to read , and speaks for itself …

The distinguished intellectual historian Jeffrey Herf, whose Ph.D. is from Brandeis, has written an eloquent and powerful letter to Brandeis president Fred Lawrence. Prof. Herf concludes:

That the president of a university founded by Jews in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust should have rescinded an honor to a woman who has had the courage to attack the most important source of Jew-hatred in the world today is a disgraceful act and a failure of leadership. Instead of appeasing intolerance in your faculty, you should have taken this moment to reaffirm the values for which Brandeis has stood for so long and reconfirm the place of universities as models of tolerance and enlightenment in our troubled society. Once a proud alumnus, I will be forced to disavow my relationship with Brandeis in the future.

Here’s the complete letter, well worth reading in full.

Dear President Lawrence:

As a scholar whose 1981 PhD comes from Brandeis, I read the news that you rescinded the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali with particular disgust and anger. Your decision is an act of cowardice and appeasement to those 85 faculty members who signed their document of intolerance, and it has done deep and long-lasting damage to a university whose very existence is predicated on redressing the damage that discrimination within the academy had done to American Jews for so many years. Unless you can find some way to repair the damage you have done, I will not identify with or support Brandeis as long as you are its President.

Ms. Hirsi has had the courage to say unpopular things about the religion of Islam and the ideology of Islamism. In two of my prize-winning books, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (Yale University Press, 2009) and The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust (Harvard University Press, 2006), I have had occasion to address the role of Islam and Islamism in fanning the flames of Jew-hatred. In publishing work that documents the role of the Islamist interpretation of the Koran in promulgating the most absurd and idiotic ideas about the Jews, I have faced intolerance from scholars working on the Middle East. They have denounced well-founded scholarship as “Islamophobia” or “Zionist propaganda” and denied that the Koran or Islamism could possibly have anything to do with anti-Semitism. Like Tony Kushner and Desmond Tutu, to whom Brandeis has given honorary degrees, they have erroneously argued that Arab and Islamist antagonism to Israel is exclusively the result of the alleged sins of Israel. As far as I know, neither has had anything of substance to say about the role of Islam and Islamism in fanning the flames of hatred of the Jews and of Israel. These critics have said that those of us who point to the anti-Jewish elements of the Koran and the Jew-hatred of modern Islamists are guilty of intolerance towards Muslims. I have seen this up close for years now. The last place I expected to find groveling, embarrassing appeasement of this rubbish was from the president of Brandeis University.

No doubt, Hirsi’s comments about Islam offend many believers. The same was true of Sigmund Freud’s Future of an Illusion. Freud, you will recall, dismissed religion as the product of a universal infantile neurosis of humanity. Yet I doubt that if Freud were alive today, those 85 faculty members would have protested his honorary degree. On the contrary, his criticism of religion in general, especially of Judaism or Christianity, would be seen as simply an entry ticket into intellectual respectability.

Your decision reflects a now-widespread double standard of broad criticism of Judaism and Christianity combined with fear—yes it is fear—to write and speak with equal critical spirit about Islam. We historians of modern Germany and Nazism know that the Nazi interpretation of Christianity as well as the core texts of the Christian tradition itself, were used by the Nazis to justify their mass murders. In our own time, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brothers, Al Qaeda and the government of Iran, despite their differences, all draw on phrases from the Koran and in the texts of subsequent Islamic commentaries to find theological justification for antagonism to Jews, Zionism and the state of Israel.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been willing to point this out, something Kushner and Tutu have never done. That the president of a university founded by Jews in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust should have rescinded an honor to a woman who has had the courage to attack the most important source of Jew-hatred in the world today is a disgraceful act and a failure of leadership. Instead of appeasing intolerance in your faculty, you should have taken this moment to reaffirm the values for which Brandeis has stood for so long and reconfirm the place of universities as models of tolerance and enlightenment in our troubled society. Once a proud alumnus, I will be forced to disavow my relationship with Brandeis in the future.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Herf

Professor, Department of History
University of Maryland
College Park

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… An Act of Cowardice [Brandeis University]…

Posted by paulfromwloh on Thursday,April 17th,2014

.. for this year , like many schools , Brandeis University has been planning for its graduation . Well , after the stunt that they have pulled , this years ‘ graduation will not be normal ..

.. normally , a university or college awards honorary degrees to special people at their commencement ceremony . Well , that was the original plan for Brandeis University . Not now , though …

.. One of their honorees was to be the distinguished human rights activist , diplomat , and woman ‘ s rights supporter Ayaan Hirsi Ali . Ali , originally a Muslim and from Somalia , originally emigrated to the Netherlands . She was elected to several terms in the Dutch parliament , when her controversial stands led her to take flight , and emigrate to the United States , and become a Christian …

.. in came the brutal and demonic acts of the Council on American – Islamic Relations . They style themselves as a civil – rights organization , but nothing could be further than the truth . They are a terrorist organization . They were formed from the acts of several terrorist organizations , including that of Hamas , the chief terror wing in the Gaza Strip …

.. C.A.I.R. protested , and did so vehemently . Eventually , they threatened legal actions and boycotts . In time , Brandeis University caved into the pressure …

.. courtesy of the documentary film , the ” Honor Diaries , ” she was the executive producer and one of the subjects of the film . Brandeis should have known of her . Obviously , they did not . However , her activism , her human rights stands , and her humanity easily merit her the honor .

.. Brandeis should reverse its action , and reinstate the honorary degree …

.. [h/t — theRightScoop]..
.. [link] to the blog news ..

.. here is Dr. Ali ‘ s statement on Brandeis ‘ actions : …

Yesterday Brandeis University decided to withdraw an honorary degree they were to confer upon me next month during their Commencement exercises. I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me—just a few hours before issuing a public statement—to say that such a decision had been made.

When Brandeis approached me with the offer of an honorary degree, I accepted partly because of the institution’s distinguished history; it was founded in 1948, in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust, as a co-educational, nonsectarian university at a time when many American universities still imposed rigid admission quotas on Jewish students. I assumed that Brandeis intended to honor me for my work as a defender of the rights of women against abuses that are often religious in origin. For over a decade, I have spoken out against such practices as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings,” and applications of Sharia Law that justify such forms of domestic abuse as wife beating or child beating. Part of my work has been to question the role of Islam in legitimizing such abhorrent practices. So I was not surprised when my usual critics, notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), protested against my being honored in this way.

What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements,” which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation – lines from interviews taken out of context – designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree.

What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The “spirit of free expression” referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.

Not content with a public disavowal, Brandeis has invited me “to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.” Sadly, in words and deeds, the university has already spoken its piece. I have no wish to “engage” in such one-sided dialogue. I can only wish the Class of 2014 the best of luck—and hope that they will go forth to be better advocates for free expression and free thought than their alma mater. I take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me and my work on behalf of oppressed woman and girls everywhere.

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