In an action similar to Penn State’s decision to allow an artist to display artwork showing the suffering of Israelis because of terror, Brandeis, “the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored college in the United States” with about half its students Jews, has terminated an art show created by an Israeli showing art depicting Palestinian suffering and injury. Brandeis claims it will probably allow the show to go forward next semester, when they can balance it out with other art showing the other viewpoint here – ostensibly a pro-Israeli one.

Bad move.

Let the show go on; what’s to be afraid about? Palestinians get hurt and some have very hard lives. It is not easy to have an army in one’s midst. If the university is afraid that the show is too one-sides, they can create a little stand with information that provides context. Censorship, however, is censorship regardless of who practices it. Needless to say, this art will now get far more attention than it would have otherwise…and not because it’s good or bad.

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  • The original article here reports that the organizer is looking into moving the exhibit to MIT, where you can be sure it’ll be one-sided.

  • Don’t get your tzitzit in a knot. It’s not like they’ve decided not to give an honorary degree to Tony Kushner, cancelled plans for Jordanian Prince El Hassan bin Talal to be the keynote speaker at commencement, cut ties with Al Quds University or sent Khalil Shikaki off on mandatory sabbatical. Relax, already.

    Brandeis has always prided itself on its ability to offend a significant portion of the student body at any given time. It’s probably written into the charter. Just between you & me, I think the art wasn’t quite inflammatory enough and they sent it back to the kids along with a few more jars of red paint.

  • Judi, you are one funny woman.

    On the other hand, Khalil Shikaki is a serious scholar and has worked extensively with Israeli scholars. He should be respected and having him there is a good thing, IMO. If there were a whole bunch of Khalil Shikakis on the other side, Israel would be negotiating peace with the Palestinians right now.

    The thing is, by shutting down this exhibit, they simply generated a whole bunch of attention to this art, while diminishing themselves.

  • “The thing is, by shutting down this exhibit, they simply generated a whole bunch of attention to this art, while diminishing themselves.”

    Aaaah. So you’re saying there was an ulterior motive at play? How clever.

    So the theory is: children’s art displayed on a wall in the main library right around finals time probably didn’t rile up enough sleep-deprived, external stimulation- ignoring students. A few (work study, probably) kids were recruited to act offended, and, wham! art gets international exposure.

    And as far as Brandeis diminishing itself, if the varsity football program of the 1950’s didn’t accomplish that, nothing ever will.

  • The most notable thing about the program, aside from its short life-span (1951- ’59) was its coach, Benny Friedman. (Unless you count the bizarre fact that its mascot was a giant owl). Friedman, a Hall of Fame-er famous for “inventing” the passing game (and you thought Jews only won Nobel Prizes…) wanted to turn the “Deis team into the Jewish Notre Dame. He failed miserably.

    But that was way, way before my time.

  • Judi, I want to point out that here at Jewlicious we KNOW that Jews win far more than Nobel Prizes. We take pride in Jewish boxers and NBA players of the past as well as the occasional modern day Jewish athlete although we don’t stress those because our mothers all wanted us to go to school and get law or medical degrees. I’m sad to say that we choose to ignore bad athletic incidents and thus will proceed to ignore the ’51-’59 Brandeis Owls (or whatever they were called). Was there a Poppa Kelsey on that team, by any chance?

  • Well, actually they’re called the “Judges”, and now that I think of it, the mascot might have actually been a guy in a wig and a robe, and not a creepy giant owl. But who’s to say which is worse?

    Interesting tidbit related to the original story (before it degenerated into a rehash of the sad history of collegiate Jews playing football): Pravda Online is running the art story (so is Al Jazeera- shocking!). Which probably means that Lior Halperin, the student who organized the exhibit, should be on the phone with the booking person from Oprah right… about… now.

  • Isn’t the other 99 1/2% of the world sufficient for that? Or are we hoping for brownie points in Allah’s Hell if we wring our hands?

  • Brandeis’s reaction has a strong whiff of CYA about it. Clearly, little thought or oversight was given to the project before it went up. Now, the university gets depicted as being at odds with free speech. Presumably someone’s ass is grass.

    My theory is that a toxic, judgment-befuddling cloud appeared over Larry Summers’s office a year or so ago, spread a couple of blocks south to the JFK School (engendering Middle’s beloved analysis of “The Lobby”), and is now wafting westward toward Waltham.

  • Since when is there free speech on college campuses? I fully support Brandeis’s decision. Politically charged exhibits should be balanced, otherwise they end up becoming sort of propaganda displays. The Israeli who created the art show has an agenda so who cares if he does not get his showing right now. Palestinian suffering, while sad is the direct result of failed Palestinian (and Arab) leadership. You want an art show? Lets bring the entire Palestinian population to Yad Vashem.

  • The project was part of the program at the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis, a program which, by definition, would probably scare up trouble even on a slow day.

    Brandeis has a long, proud tradition of being on the cutting edge of controversy. While I was there, Loius Farrakhan and R. Meir Kahane spoke during the same semester. The Black Panthers made a name for themselves there in the 60’s. Jack Abramoff graduated in ’81… I don’t know why this art project was such a big deal. Maybe it offended a big potential donor.



    It has been announced that Brandies University in Waltham, Mass will bestow an honorary doctorate degree to anti-Israel playwright, Tony Kushner at its 55th commencement ceremony on May 21st 2006.

    According to the Brandeis University web site, “Tony Kushner, one of the most highly acclaimed playwrights of his generation, is being honored for his many literary accomplishments in drama. His early 1990s epic “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” was groundbreaking for its provocative, witty portrayal of politics, sex and religion in the United States at the end of the second millennium. It earned him the Pulitzer Prize for drama, two Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards, among many other honors. More recently, he wrote the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” which earned five Academy Award nominations this year, including for best picture and best adapted screenplay. Kushner has also written “Caroline, or Change,” “Homebody/Kabul” and “Hydrotaphia,” as well as other plays and adaptations. Additionally, Kushner has written a short play, “But the Giraffe, a Curtain Raiser to Hans Krasa’s ‘Brundibar,’” as part of his collaboration on “Brundibar” with Maurice Sendak that opens in New Victory Theater in New York April 28th.”

    According to a press release issued by the Zionist Organization of America in New York, Kushner’s long record of anti-Israel sentiment is clear. “Kushner has also made numerous egregious statements viciously condemning Israel and decrying its very existence. He called Israel’s founding “a mistake,” saying “it would have been better if Israel never happened” He also condemned Israel for “ethnic cleansing” and behaving abominably and denounced, ‘the shame of American Jews for failing to denounce Israel.” He called American Jews who support Israel “repulsive,” and Israel a “disgrace.”

    Kushner also “deplored the brutal and illegal tactics of the IDF” and “the deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people.” He is also on the board of an organization that opposes the security fence, a unified Jerusalem, or military aid to Israel, recommends Norman Finkelstein’s notorious anti-Israel, anti-Jewish books.

    Tony Kushner’s recent screenplay of the movie Munich was widely condemned by numerous critics as being grossly inaccurate in ways that were hostile to Israel and inappropriately sympathetic to Palestinian terrorists. The critics include the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens: Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz; Columbia Professor and author Samuel Friedman (Jerusalem Post): the New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier: movie critic and social analyst Michael Medved: former U.S. Holocaust Museum Director Dr. Walter Reich (Washington Post): the New York Times’ Edward Rothstein: Commentary’s Gabe Schoenfeld; Charles Krauthaumer: Variety Magazine and MTV’s Kurt Yoder The anti-media bias organization CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), for example, stated that in Munich, “Kushner repeatedly blamed Israel for supposed ‘ethnic cleaning’ and ‘dispossession’ of Palestinian’s casting the alleged action of denying Palestinians a homeland as the root fo the Arab-Israeli conflict, while disregarding the reality of the Arab world’s rejection of a non-Arab, non-Muslim Jewish homeland in its midst and Israel’s repeated peace overtures.” Only this week on the Charlie Rose Show, Ephraim Halevy, former Director of Mossad, the Israeli secret service, said that Tony Kushner’s screenplay of the movie Munich “had no relation to the truth or the facts.”

    It has also been reported that “Kushner sits on the Board of Advisors of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which advocates divestment and boycott campaigns against Israel. His name appears on JVP letterhead, including on a letter saluting]” the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) for its move toward divesting from companies that do business with Israel. The letter posted on the JVP Web site not only applauds selective divestment focused on particular companies as proposed by the Presbyterians but says “we absolutely reject the accusation that general divestment or boycott campaigns are inherently anti-Semitic.” It should be noted that often news stories referring to JVP’s involvement in anti-Israel activity makes special mention of Tony Kushner as a member of the Board of Advisors.

    Kushner, an ardent anti-Zionist, once said that “the founding of the State of Israel was for the Jewish people a historical, moral, and political calamity.”

    The interesting thing, though, is Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz’s response to the controversy:

    Brandeis bestows honorary degrees as a means of acknowledging the outstanding accomplishments or contributions of individual men and women in any of a number of fields of human endeavor. Just as Brandeis does not inquire into the political opinions and beliefs of faculty or staff before appointing them, or students before offering admission, so too the University does not select honorary degree recipients on the basis of their political beliefs or opinions.

    Over the years, Brandeis has honored hundreds of men and women of distinction whose personal views, I am sure, span the full spectrum of political discourse, and the University applies no litmus test requiring honorary degree recipients to hold particular views on Israel or topics of current political debate.

    Mr. Kushner is not being honored because he is a Jew, and he is not being honored for his political opinions. Brandeis is honoring him for his extraordinary achievements as one of this generation’s foremost playwrights, whose work is recognized in the arts and also addresses Brandeis’s commitment to social justice.

    It is clear that the decision to grant an honorary degree to Tony Kushner by America’s “only non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university,” which is named after the great American Zionist and Jurist, Justice Louis D. Brandeis is indeed a reprehensible and appalling one. Brandeis University has been an infamous bastion of Jewish liberalism and self hate since its inception.

    The decision to publicly recognize and honor an anti-semite does not further the “lofty” goal of social justice as those on the Brandeis board of directors would have us believe. This egregious decision can only assist in bolstering and encouraging the burgeoning anti-Israel movement that is sweeping college campuses all across the USA.

    Perhaps Jewish donors to Brandeis will re-think their decision to provide financial support to this Jewish “self-hating” institution of higher learning.

    As we know, there is no difference between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism. While it is politically correct and palatable for haters of Jews to claim they are “anti-Zionist” but not “anti-semitic, we know that this is nothing more than a simplistic semantical argument. How easy it is for Jew haters to cloak their venom and vitriol towards Jews under the “innocuous” label of “anti-Zionism”, yet we who know the truth see it very clearly.

    While Iranian President Ahmadnajed calls Israel “a Nazi regime”, we all know that he is calling all Jews “Nazis” and the most horrifying aspect to this is that the world remains silent. His vituperative is embraced by many willing “progressive” Jews who provide support and succor to his demonic views by echoing their own version of anti-Israel lies and propaganda.

    We can no longer remain in denial. Jew hatred, on a global level is at an all time high and increasing with every passing moment. An apocalyptic catastrophe for Jews is not outside the realm of possibility. It is up to every Jew who possesses even a modicum of self pride to speak out against this outrage and to vocalize their indignation at the administration of Brandeis University and to all self hating Jews who aide and abet the Jew haters of the world.

    Could it be that our destruction and demise will lay within ourselves?

    Let us beseech the G-d of Israel for mercy and compassion at this critical juncture of Jewish history. Let us gird our loins and prepare to defend our faith. Let us gain the resolve and strength to walk in the ways of Hasher and to follow His commandments. For in the end, we must not fear the Jew hater, whether he is Jewish or not.

  • That’s the art in question? Seems pretty manipulative to me. “Okay children, let’s divide the assignments. Abdel, you take the al-Dura story, Ismail, you take the Rachel Corrie story, Mahmud, you do, um, I know, you do the Israeli tank picture. Now remember, we don’t want any pictures of the flying body parts of Jews being blown up by our martyrs because Americans won’t like that.”

  • My son is a Brandeis alumnus.

    Those people will never get another penny from me.

    “Al Quds University”? How could any Jew with even an ounce of self-respect have a relationship with such a place? When will the Jews understand that goyim will respect us only when we respect ourselves? This craven sucking up makes me want to vomit.

    Every single “university” in the territories was founded by Israel. There were no colleges or universities anywhere in the terrritories when the Jordanians ran the place. So what do the Jews do? They have rachmanus on the poor paleostinians and try to help them by giving them schools. And what do the paleos do? They turn them into homicide bomber factories. They should all be closed down. And Brandeis, a school intended to be of, by, and for Jews, decides to befriend them! How do these people live with themselves?

    Ans Shakaki’s bullshit is one of the main reasons why people everywhere, not only the US government but the israeli government as well, were caught so flat-footed when Hamas handed Fatah its ass in the paleo “elections”. Anyone with any brains and even a fleeting familiarity with Arab politics could see that the extremists were going to win. They always do. Yet people chose to believe tools like Shikaki. Why? Because in spite of all of the evidence to the contrary, they simply must believe that the paleos want peace. So they listen to the honey-sweet lies of people like Shikaki. He either knew he was lying, or he is a clueless idiot. In either case he does not deserve to be employed by any university, much less a place like Brandeis.