I left a five minute message yesterday on the office telephone of President Lawrence of Brandeis University explaining why his decision to rescind the proposal to award Aayan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree was “A small step for Brandeis but a giant step for dhimmitude” (a dhimmi is a non-Muslim individual subject to numerous restrictions and forced to acknowledge the superiority of Islam in every walk of life in a Muslim majority state). I sent a notice to more than one hundred friends and colleagues and urged them to do the same.
Brandeis will NEVER recover its reputation from this abject surrender to CAIR and a disgruntled minority of faculty and students at what pretends to be an elite “Liberal Arts” college whose “core values” would have been violated by the appearance of one of the most notable and admired women in the world for self-empowerment who rose above a primitive tribal society to become an eloquent defender of the basic human rights of individuals, women, gays and minorities oppressed and persecuted in most Muslim majority cultures.
I told him that as a Professor of Hebrew, I would do everything in my power to shun Brandeis, reject any of its instructional material, and alert my colleagues, students and friends to do what they can to express their opposition to his craven surrender to what in effect is the constant threat of intimidation and bodily harm – the same threats hanging over other Muslim and ex-Muslim women such as Nonie Darwish (author of the aptly named “Cruel and Usual Punishment” and Canadian Irshad Manji (author of “The Trouble with Islam”). All three have received death threats and must be accompanied by body guards. It matters not a whit that Manji still regards herself as a Muslim and has called for the reform of Islam rather than its total rejection. Her open admission that she is a lesbian is enough to put her life in danger from those who would enforce Sharia law (which CAIR would like to see adopted in the United States).
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was the victim of genital mutilation at age five in her native Somalia and of enforced marriage to a much older cousin – not because of “Radical Islam” but traditional Islam, as are millions of other girls. She had been impressed by the Koran before she could even read, and due to a religious education in Saudi Arabia, had lived “by the Book, for the Book” throughout her childhood and even supported the fatwa against Salman Rushdie calling for his death for having written the Satanic Verses. Later she nevertheless rejected Islam and sought to live in the West. She mastered both Dutch and English and is an accomplished speaker and writer in both languages. In 2005, she was named by Time Magazine as one of the “100 most influential people in the world.” United States Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick stated in May 2006 that “we recognize that she is a very courageous and impressive woman and she is welcome in the US.” Since 2013, Hirsi Ali is a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a member of The Future of Diplomacy Project.
It is worth quoting the opening paragraph of Nonie Darwish’s book for all those who may still not understand how President Lawrence’s decision based on what he calls the contradiction between “Brandeis University’s core values” and certain of Ali Hirsi’s offending statements (not specified in the original statement). By siding with CAIR and its view on Sharia for Muslims in America, Lawrence endorses what is the code of sharia for women ….,”For the first thirty years of my life, I lived as a virtual slave in a cage; a second-class citizen who had to watch what I said even to my close friends. Under Islamic law I had to live in a gender-segregated environment and always be aware that the legal and social penalty for “sin” could end my life. This is what it is to live as a woman under Sharia law.”
The Jewish worship for learning continues to venerate what so many Liberals regard as “Our finest academic Ivy League Institutions” such as Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Vassar, Barnard, and first of all Brandeis. The American-Jewish infatuation with academia is ignorant that these very same Ivy League “Liberal” institutions they imagine as the picture of perfect Ivory Tower respectability were among the most anti-Semitic in their enrollment restrictions against Jewish students between 1920 and 1940 and that some of their most prominent faculty members including presidents and deans defended “warmer” foreign relations with Nazi Germany and opposed any anti-German economic boycott (see Rebecca Bynum’s excellent book review “Fashionable Fascism” in the November, 2009 issue of NER of Stephen H. Norwood’s The Third Reich and the Ivory Tower; Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses; Cambridge University Press, 2009). The elite schools all had policies in place (either officially as at Harvard or unofficially as at the elite girls’ schools) to keep Jewish enrollment to a minimum. A poll taken by the Student Opinion Survey of America in December, 1938 (after Kristallnacht), revealed an overwhelming majority (68.8%) of students believed that “Jewish refugees should not be admitted into the United States in great numbers.”
Of course, Brandeis was founded in 1948 in part, as a means of affording Jewish students an academic environment of high standards in which they would also feel comfortable. It was named for the late Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the distinguished associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, who more than any other prominent American Jew, lent his fervent support to the Zionist cause. He could not have imagined in his worst nightmares how his name would come to be abused.
In January 2006, Hirsi Ali used her acceptance speech for the Reader’s Digest “European of the Year” award to urge efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. She called on the world to accept and test Iranian despot Ahmadinejad’s proposal to “…Organize a conference to inquire about what actually happened in the Holocaust.” She wrote then, “Before I came to Europe, I’d never heard of the Holocaust. That is the case with millions of people in the Middle East. Such a conference should be able to convince many people away from their denial of the genocide against the Jews.” She also visited Israel and had many positive things to say as a woman about her experience there as well as criticism of the Ultra-Orthodox.
The minority of students and faculty at Brandeis who pressured the president to withdraw the invitation to Ali Hirsi are totally out of touch with those Jews who have retained an ounce of pride in their heritage and who regard the State of Israel with affection and are really appalled by the persecution of minorities, women and gays in the Muslim world.
The president’s number is (781) 736-3001