Friday, December 13, 2013

  • Friday, December 13, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Al Quds University is in full firefighting mode.

From their website:
Al-Quds University, the Arab University in East Jerusalem, whose mission is the encouragement of an open and pluralistic cultural climate for its students, has come under criticism recently especially from some American Jewish sources, for the holding of an anti-Israeli para-military rally on its campus by one of the student groups. Countless articles and blogs from those sources have since accused the University (as well as its President, Sari Nusseibeh) of being tolerant of Nazi and Fascist views. Various Jewish-sponsored Schools in the United States with whom Al-Quds University has been building bridges over the past two decades have decided to cut their ties with the University as a result of the incident and its aftermath.

In the same spirit of bridge-building that has guided the University over the past two decades, Al-Quds University has decided to hold a special English-speaking summer course June/July 2014 to discuss ways of combating hate-speech and racism, with special emphasis on some of its gruesome consequences, such as wars, ethnic cleansing and genocide, for both its students as well as for a limited number of students from the United States and Europe. The University will invite prominent experts to deliver lectures in this course, and will extend an invitation to its critics, including the President of Brandeis, Dr. Frederick Lawrence, to participate. The University will be consulting with Professor Yair Auron from the Open University of Israel – a foremost scholar on genocide- to help prepare the curriculum for the course. It is hoped that such a course will sensitize all concerned –including the university community- to the fine line to be drawn between freedom of speech and the dehumanization of ‘the other’, especially in inflammable situations as those that exist in the region. Education experts will also be invited to discuss current school curricula in both Israeli and Palestinian schools.

The University therefore hereby asks of interested students from abroad who wish to take this course to correspond with Ms Rawan Dajani ( protocol@alquds.edu) to receive preliminary information about the course (travel, accommodation, fees, etc.), together with an application form, which has to be filled and received by 28th of February 2014 at the latest. A full announcement for the course will be made at that date.
Why is the course only going to be offered in English?

The bigger issue is that Al Quds is creating this course not to improve its own community but to make itself look better for the West. The fact is that it still allows Islamic Jihad and Hamas student groups to be accepted and supported like a book club or a Christian club might be. Offering the course for Westerners who already agree that hate speech is bad doesn't help things one bit, except for PR.

The discussion of current school curricula in Israeli schools sounds like an attempt to say that Israeli school textbooks are as bigoted as Arab textbooks are - which is provably false.

Meanwhile, Brandeis commissioned a study:
A Report to the Brandeis Community on the Events of November 2013 Involving Brandeis University and Al Quds University
December 9, 2013

Daniel Terris
Director, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life

Susan S. Lanser
Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and Women’s and Gender Studies and
Head, Division of Humanities

Daniel Kryder
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Politics

This document offers five principal findings, which we summarize here and explain at
length in the “Conclusions” section below:

1. The November 5 rally included glorifying portrayals of hatred and violence that
are antithetical to the institutional values of both Brandeis University and Al< Quds University.

2. Al Quds University officials responded promptly and appropriately to the November 5 rally by communicating to both internal and external constituencies that the rally violated university policies and principles.

3. While we understand the reasons why many people were disturbed or offended by Sari Nusseibeh’s November 17 letter to his student community, the letter expressed neither intolerance nor hatred.

4. Al Quds University is playing a courageous frontline role in working for peace by engaging those minority factions in its midst that hold extreme attitudes.

5. Given the active role that the AlQuds University administration took in response to the event, and given the university’s enduring and vital work in promoting cross cultural understanding and peace, we call on Brandeis University to resume and indeed redouble its commitment to this scholarly partnership.
And who are the people who Brandeis chose to pen this study - Daniel Terris, Susan S. Lanser and Daniel Kryder?

Why, they just happen - by pure coincidence - to be three of the recipients of the Bronfman Brandeis-Israel Research Collaboration grant earlier this year!

A collaboration between three Brandeisians and three members of the faculty and administration at Al-Quds University, in Jerusalem, to research the kinds of curricular and pedagogical frameworks that are most effective at fostering civic engagement in developing democratic societies. Collaborators include Daniel T. Kryder, associate professor of politics; Susan S. Lanser, professor of English, women’s and gender studies, and comparative literature; Daniel Terris, Brandeis director of the existing Brandeis-Al Quds Partnership; Khuloud Khayyat Dajani, Al-Quds director of the partnership, Awad Mansour, chair of Al-Qud’s Department of Political Science and Imad Abu Kishek, executive vice president of Al-Quds.
Nah, no conflict of interest there at all!

(h/t Bob  Knot)



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