Two Brandeis University faculty members will have “detailed discussions” with administrators at Al Quds University, a Palestinian school Brandeis partners with, regarding “a number of troubling allegations” in the aftermath of a Nazi-style military rally at Al Quds, Brandeis Senior Vice President for Communications Ellen de Graffenreid told JNS.org on Thursday.
In recently posted photos by Middle East analyst Tom Gross, students are shown wearing black military gear, carrying fake automatic weapons, and giving the Nazi salute during a march on the Al Quds campus. Additionally, several rally participants portrayed dead Israeli soldiers and trampled a banner painted with Jewish stars.
The two Brandeis faculty members who will discuss the matter with Al Quds left Thursday for what was a previously planned trip, de Graffenreid said. Brandeis President Fred Lawrence “expects a detailed report from them [about the Al Quds situation] upon their return,” she added.
“The Brandeis University community abhors the actions that took place on the Al-Quds University campus and condemns all acts that incite or encourage senseless violence,” Lawrence wrote on the Brandeis First blog.
“We have been told that the events of November 5 at Al-Quds University were led from people outside the university and this was an unauthorized demonstration. The administration of Al-Quds University assures us that threat of violence implied by the demonstration are not acceptable on their campus and the University administration is conducting a full investigation,” he wrote.
Lawrence, the former dean of George Washington University Law School and an expert in the areas of hate speech and hate crimes, “takes these events with the utmost seriousness,” de Graffenreid told JNS.org.
“It is for these reasons that he has expressed his outrage regarding the events that took place on the Al Quds University campus, as well as his deep concern regarding the University’s possible role, and his expectations for an effective response by the institution’s administration. Once he has de-briefed with our faculty after they return from Israel, he will evaluate the appropriate next steps,” she said.
In 2003, Brandeis and Al Quds formed “a unique intercultural partnership, linking an Arab institution in Jerusalem and a Jewish-sponsored institution in the United States in an exchange designed to foster cultural understanding and provide educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff,” according to the Brandeis website.
Eve Herman, president of the Brandeis Zionist Alliance, told the Washington Free Beacon in reaction to the Nazi-style rally, “It bothers me very much that the school I am attending has a partnership with a school that inherently promotes death to Jews.”
Imad Abu Kishek, executive vice president of Al Quds, said the event “horrified the whole student body, who is not used to such acts on campus.” He said Al Quds promotes “openness and toleration” and has a “policy of non-violence and pacifism,” but also condemned “all kinds of difficulties that Al Quds University students, in specific, are facing on daily basis” from Israeli soldiers, according to the Washington Free Beacon.