Brandeis seems to want to be known as a haven for Islamophobes.
By Richard Silverstein (Tikkun Olam)
It’s commencement time and universities are proudly announcing who they’ve snagged as honorary degree and commencement speakers. Brandeis has an august list including Geoffrey Canada and Jill Abramson, worthy honorees certainly. But one choice stands out like a sore thumb: Ayan Hirsi Ali. Readers will recall that she is the executive producer of Honor Diaries, the latest bit of Islamophobe propaganda from the Clarion Project shop.
I also reported that she gave an interview in Reason Magazine in which an incredulous interviewer got her to admit she favored extermination of Islam, even by military means. It’s an extraordinary account of unfettered almost genocidal hate:
Reason: Should we acknowledge that organized religion has sometimes sparked precisely the kinds of emancipation movements that could lift Islam into modern times?…Do you think Islam could bring about similar social and political changes?
Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.
Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?
Hirsi Ali:No. Islam, period…
Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?
Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that…You look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.
Hirsi Ali:In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.
It’s a scarcely-hidden fact that Brandeis’ president Fred Lawrence, is very close to Aipac and the pro-Israel right. As Brandeis Prof. Harry Mairson wrote in the campus newspaper:
…Lawrence just attended the AIPAC annual meeting, has photo ops with Shin Bet directors and goes to Friends of the IDF dinners. Speaking at a 2012 Birthright Israel conference, at Brandeis, he proclaimed himself a proud Birthright parent, asking “How do we grow this? How do we take it to the next level?” His Chief of Staff David Bunis is on the board of The David Project, which fought against the establishment of a mosque in Boston, and now devotes itself “to positively shape campus opinion on Israel.” Our ex-Board of Trustees chair, Stephen Kay, told the Faculty Senate Council during a Board meeting, in unambiguous terms: “We support Israel”—not individually, but institutionally.
Apparently, part of supporting Israel is to honor raging Islamophobes like Hirsi Ali. One wonders whether anyone at Brandeis did the least research on Hirsi Ali’s murderous murmurings on Islam. Or if they did, whether they even cared. A divisive, hateful figure like her doesn’t deserve the recognition bestowed by major supposedly liberal university in the form of an honorary degree. If someone wants to honor her let it be her ideological pals at the Clarion Project and the American Enterprise Institute, where she is a research fellow. Why Brandeis? Unless the University seeks a reputation of being a haven for Muslim-haters and pro-Israel hasbara.
Hirsi Ali also is a fellow at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. It’s no coincidence that her husband, Niall Ferguson, is also a fellow there. Who said academic opportunities are awarded based on merit?? The Belfer Center director who appointed her, Graham Allison, distinguishes himself here by lauding Harvard for returning ROTC to campus and engineering a reconciliation with Henry Kissinger. ‘Nuff said.