Friday, April 11, 2014

Brandeis University Shames Itself: Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Update: Here's What I Would Have Said at Brandeis)

I grew up with the euphemism "ivory tower", which described the attitude of the academics who were making pronouncements of how the world was supposed to be, as opposed to what the common peoples' experience and observation led them to discern.  The decrees that fluttered down to us from their hallowed battlements were to be considered holy writ, supplanting the scripture from a God not yet dead but surely mortally wounded, dying a death of a thousand cuts from men humans too smart to believe in Him.

Robespierre said as much, taking the Reign of Terror down the left fork of the Enlightenment.  Even before, Galileo was tried by the Roman Inquisition not because his observations violated church teachings but because they challenged the works of Tycho Brahe and the other scientists for whom the matter was already settled.

The ivory tower expanded into the ivory compound of our universities, carefully cultivating a mutual admiration society through the rule of tenure, and it grants guest membership to the pop culture who agrees with them.  The role of the university as a place of ideas holds true only if you agree to the accepted philosophies.  'Diversity' becomes one accepted view in a hall full of mirrors.

Brandeis University has become an emblem of the movement, and the irony is bitter.  Begun in 1947 as a place of higher learning that protects the Jewish community from anti-Semitism, named for the first Jewish supreme court justice, it came about primarily through the efforts of noted Zionist Rabbi Israel Goldstein.  Its transformation has been remarkable.

The university awarded an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner, who has been hostile to the idea of Israel at present, as opposed to what Israel should be in his mind.  Even its creation was a mistake, and "The biggest supporters of Israel are the most repulsive members of the Jewish community."  That surely includes some prominent Brandeis alumni, faculty, supporters, and students, but the award was granted anyway.  South African Bishop Desmond Tutu proclaimed Israel guilty of apartheid, yet he received an honorary degree as well.

But now an honorary degree was offered to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whom I mentioned before in an article about the persecution of Geert Wilders.  Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia and eventually became a women's rights activist and writer.  Whereas one would think that those credentials would set her in the good graces of today's politicized academic community, they somehow overlooked the fact that she is a women's rights advocate as it pertains to Islam.

First seeking protection in the Netherlands, she became a member of parliament and initially became famous for writing the screenplay for and narrating Theo van Gogh's Submission, which condemns the treatment of women in Islamic society.  The film's release resulted in a furious response from the Islamic community and led directly to the murder of van Gogh in broad daylight, stabbed multiple times with the killer finally stabbing a note in place on Van Gogh's body which condemned Hirsi Ali to death as well.  Hirsi Ali went into hiding and finally emigrated to the US after a Dutch court found that she was "endangering her neighbors".  She now has a position with the American Enterprise Institute and has married historian Niall Ferguson, occasional columnist for the Sunday Telegraph and Newsweek.  She has written her autobiography Infidel and published Nomad in 2010.

After offering the degree, Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR condemned the move, whereupon the university discovered "certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University's core values."  Imagine, a university not doing its homework.  The offer was withdrawn, since Brandeis' core values apparently don't stray far from political correctness.

Perhaps the Saudi funding for the Crown Center for Middle East Studies may have something to do with it.  Maybe it was a two-for-one shot that includes husband Ferguson, also of the AEI, whose works have coined the term 'Eurabia' to describe the Arabisation of Europe, and 'impire' to describe an empire that no longer reaches to its periphery and exports power, but is imploding in upon itself, to describe "post-Christian" Europe.  If not the money, it certainly adds to the idea of Jewish self loathing so prominent with the Left.

Update:  "Here's What I Would Have Said at Brandeis."


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Jewish or gentile, Leftists always suck up to dictators. It's what they do.


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