Exchange between Dr.Daniel Pipes and Brandeis' President Reinharz spotlights how moral relativism abets Islamism
February 20, 2007
Exchange Between Daniel Pipes And Brandeis' President Reinharz Spotlights Academia's Moral Relativism
February 19, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Middle East Forum Director, Dr. Daniel Pipes has published an exchange of emails ["Reinharz, Israel and Me"] intended to clarify the comments attributed to Dr. Jehuda Reinharz, the president of Brandeis University.
In that piece Pipes took issue with remarks attributed to Reinhartz as reported in the university publication "Justice" which equated Dr. Pipes with Holocaust denier Norman Finkelstein, allegedly characterizing both of them as "weapons of mass destruction" if invited as campus speakers.
John Hose, Reinharz' assistant reportedly concurred with his boss, sarcastically adding that "if the students want theater then it is best to attend Spingold [theater]...but if you want serious discussion, there are lots of resources available for that already at Brandeis."
The remarks prompted Dr. Pipes to comment on Brandeis University's poor record in dealing with anti-Israel and Islamist issues. He concluded by urging potential donors not to contribute to the university while it remained under the direction of Dr. Reinharz.
Two days after Dr. Pipes' article appeared, Reinharz wrote him, assuring that the quotes had been taken out of context, upon which Pipes expressed relief and agreed to publish information aimed at setting the record straight.
While the misunderstanding due to misquotation appears to have been resolved, Brandeis' lack of intellectual and moral integrity vis-a-vis Israel and Islamism continues unchecked.
The university's granting of an award to Tony Kushner, a playwright who has stated that "It would have been better if Israel had never been created" along with its serious consideration to allow Holocaust denier Norman Finkelstein to speak on the campus are two glaring contradictions of Reinharz's statements alleging evenhandedness:
"...Few colleges or universities in the United States have done as much as Brandeis has done to raise the level of scholarship about Israel or to encourage informed and civil discourse about Israel and Middle East, broadly defined…"
Dr. Reinharz' boasting about his institution's track record on issues concerning Israel and his belief that that pseudo-academics such as Finkelstein should be given equal time on campus with scholars of the stature of Dr. Pipes is indicative of a moral relativist malaise which is afflicting the institution.
This stance constitutes an ideological betrayal of the donors who fund this once proud Jewish institution, where towing a left-leaning ideological line now trumps knowledge as a prerequisite for the exchange of ideas.
It should be emphasized that although Dr. Pipes has issued a public clarification of Reinharz' claimed misquote, his criticisms of Brandeis' policies vis-a-vis Israel and Islamism remain unchanged.
Supporters of Israel and Jewish interests should heed Dr. Pipe's advice, seconding the Zionist Organization of America's [ZOA] assessment that, "donors should reconsider their support for Brandeis" so long as [Reinharz] remains the university president."
MIM: Dr. Pipes orignal article takes issue with Brandeis policies on Israel and Islamism
[Brandeis University President Jehuda] Reinharz, Israel and Me
by Daniel Pipes
In October 2006, the Brandeis Middle East Review and the Middle East Forum at Brandeis invited me to speak at the University, and I quickly accepted. The hosts and I selected the date April 23 and the topic ("The Islamization of Europe?"), and everything appeared settled.
But on Jan. 23, former President Jimmy Carter visited Brandeis, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz quasi-debated him, and the ensuing contention prompted the University to establish a closed student-faculty committee to monitor speakers on the Middle East. (This committee comes on top of an already existing committee the provost created earlier in response to the "Voices of Palestine" exhibit in Spring 2006.) Oddly, although my talk was to deal with Europe, it was deemed to fall into the Middle East category and is now on hold, pending this new committee's approval.
Then John Hose, Reinharz's executive assistant, further elaborated: "These are people who tend to inflame passions, whose mission is not so much discussion and education as it is theater, a show. … If [students] want theater then it's best to go to Spingold [theater]. … But if you want serious discussion, there's lots of resources available for that already at Brandeis."
I strenuously object to being lumped in with Finkelstein in any fashion whatsoever. Finkelstein denies the Holocaust as a uniquely evil deed, equates Israel with the Nazis, compares persons he disagrees with to Nazis, justifies Hamas and excuses Muslim antisemitism. For good measure, he adds, "I do not think there is very much genuine grief among Jewish leaders about the Nazi holocaust," for they gained from what he calls "the Holocaust reparations racket." They "blackmailed Europe, got billions of dollars and then stuffed their pockets, bank accounts and organizations with the money." Yoking me to Finkelstein betrays Reinharz's profound moral confusion - something especially regrettable in the case of the president of a major university whose moral judgment is in steady demand.
The statements by Reinharz and Hose also prompt several questions:
1. How am I, exactly, a weapon of mass destruction, Mr. Reinharz? And what do you mean by this phrase?
2. And Mr. Hose, have you taken a look at just who gets inflamed by my speeches? On Jan. 31, for example, it was a bunch of Islamist goons, and you can see them yourself on the three videos listed on my Web site, at "My Disrupted Talk at the University of California-Irvine." After preventing me from speaking, the leader of this group called for the state of Israel to be "wiped off the face of the earth." Your statement makes me wonder whose side you are on – theirs or mine?
3. What, precisely, are those scholarly resources available at Brandeis? Might Hose be referring to the University's leading specialist on "contemporary Islamic thought and practice" (the title of her course), Prof. Natana DeLong-Bas (NEJS), an apologist for Al-Qaeda whose depraved thinking was exposed in several recent articles (including "Natana DeLong-Bas: American Professor, Wahhabi Apologist" and "Sympathy for the Devil at Brandeis," from frontpagemag.com)? Or is he referring to Khalil Shikaki, a Crown Center fellow who has been credibly accused of terrorist links and has a second-to-none record in getting it wrong in his chosen field of Palestinian public opinion?
Looking at the larger picture, Brandeis has incurred a sorry record when it comes to Israel in recent years - staging that "Voices of Palestine" exhibit, hiring DeLong-Bas and Shikaki, [granting an honorary degree to the anti-Zionist playwright Tony Kushner,] appointing the muddled Prof. Shai Feldman (POL) to head the Crown Center, permitting an Islamist (Qumar-ul Huda) to serve as its Muslim chaplain and setting up the Brandeis-Al-Quds University study-abroad connection.
Over the decades, Brandeis has benefited substantially from the support of those concerned with Israel's security and welfare. Sadly, its record in this arena under Reinharz has strayed so badly that already a year ago the Zionist Organization of America called for "donors to reconsider their support for Brandeis." So long as he remains the University's president, that strikes me as sound advice.