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Brandeis Awards Islamophobe Ayan Hirsi Ali Honorary Degree

brandeis honorary degree for hirsi ali

Ayan Hirsi Ali, raging Islamophobe, honored with Brandeis honorary degree

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.

Reason: Militarily?

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.

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{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Jafar Siddiqui April 4, 2014, 1:22 PM

    This position of Brandeis University and its act of honoring Hirsi Ali is a classic illustratration of those Blindly pro-Israel Jews and Right-wing Christians, who love Israel so much that they are willing to attack and destroy Islam and every Muslim or Arab, they can find. This is why the Clarion Project is alive and kicking (Muslims), this is also the raison d’etre for organizsations such as AIPAC, ADL and a plethora of other organizations, along with people such as Pipes, Spencer, Jarushalmi, Gabriel, Ali (of course!) and more people than one can count.

    Like the United States and its insane “War!” on “Terror”, the Blindly pro-Israel people are creating more enemies than they are eliminating.

  • pabelmont April 4, 2014, 1:51 PM

    Can it be that all the BDS, etc., is encouraging BIG-ZION to pull out all the stops (to use organ terminology) and make a great noise, here Islamophobic? “WE WILL NOT BE DEFEATED,” I hear BIG-ZION crying out.

    What have the Brandeis students got to say about this? They promising to stand and turn their backs at graduation? (Turning your back is one of the best exercises to do at some graduation exercises.)

    • RDC April 7, 2014, 6:40 PM

      Many Brandeis students are signing petitions and e-mailing the administration to rescind the honor. The range of students against this mistaken decision spans the entire campus: from the Muslim Student Association to myself, an Orthodox Jew.

      • Richard Silverstein April 8, 2014, 1:39 AM

        @ RDC: Bless you for it. I hope you succeed.

        • Oui April 8, 2014, 11:19 PM

          From your tweet …
          Statement from Brandeis University

          April 8, 2014

          Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement.

          +++++

          @RS : Thank you for strong advocacy speaking truth to justice on the “Honor Diaries” and Ms Ali’s biography and views. Well done!

          @RDC : Thanks for speaking out.

  • Mareli April 4, 2014, 2:43 PM

    Has it occurred to you that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has as much reason to detest Islam as Siobhan McKenna had to hate the Catholic Church, maybe more? She originally was a member of a leftist political party in Holland and only works for AEI because the leftist think tanks are too afraid of being labeled Islamophobic to confront the intolerant, misogynistic aspects of the Muslim faith to associate themselves with her. She was driven into the arms of the right because the left was too cowardly to voice the same criticisms of Islam as it makes of Christianity. I am not as enamored of her husband’s views. It is unfortunate that the only people who are willing to confront Islam by making films or engaging in public debate are right-wingers. As a leftist feminist I fail to understand why so many on the left are willing to align themselves with a politicized religion that is as bad, or worse, than orthodox Catholicism or fundamentalist protestantism. Ayaan has criticized some Christian groups too, but she doesn’t get inflammatory press coverage of those statements.

    • Oui April 5, 2014, 2:02 AM

      The true hero of the debate on immigration and integration in The Netherlands was Pim Fortuyn.

      Ayaan Hirsi Ali gained international notoriety though her participation in Theo van Gogh’s film Obsession. Ms Ali became known for Islam bashing, not for a democratic form of debate on the issues. Ms Ali is closer to a Geert Wilders and far-right extremism of Islamophobes. Not so difficult to see who her supporters are and in which audience she feels at home.

      As a ‘leftist’ I do not align myself with any religion and I do not spare disregard of women’s rights by christian religions. Never, it’s part of the same moral principle.

      • im therefore April 21, 2014, 10:47 AM

        Actually Pim Fortuyn is by no means a hero of any kind. He was an opportunist at best. He literally went through all main political parties and their ideologies from the communist party, to the PVDA, etc etc. Would one believe in an idea, or a doctrine, it is impossible to go through so many different views in life, without becoming suspect of actually having no moral grounds, and no base core thought. Pim Fortuyn, together with Wilders, and people like Theo van Gogh, have one thing in common. Over-simplifying the immigration question. There is rarely a mention of the dubious colonial past of the Netherlands. The genocides they committed in the east, wiping out whole islands of people. This in stark contrast with one person being killed in the Netherlands, Theo van Gogh. Fact is, that the colonial past of the Netherlands accounts for much of it’s foreign influx. Fact is that during the boom-years, gast-arbeiders were employed because the Dutch were to lazy to do their own dirty work. The gast-arbeiders were offered to not assimilate. They were advised to keep their own culture and faiths; as part of the tolerant enlightened view the Dutch were said to have in those days. At the first sight of trouble, who do you think got blamed? Precisely: the gast-arbeiders. Theo van Gogh, bless his soul, was everything but a kind considered man. He actually was by no means a nice man. Rude to everyone, impolite. And for me sadly, not the talent to counter this kind of behaviour. Naturally this is no excuse to kill a man, but I often though, after having seen one of his intolerant obnoxious interviews, that I would not be surprised if someone would give him a good beating one day. And guess what. Someone did. Sadly they went to far, but I have to say, he was asking for it. The Dutch should be ashamed of themselves with regards to Wilders. Fortuyn was a political lightweight, and he had the dubious honour of the start of Dutch populism. (again without any political merit, he was at times entertaining, but by no means a political talent; he should have gone in the entertainment business, which he was really made for) The second wave of populism is way less innocent, and has ties with extreme right throughout Europe. Only a generation after the occupation of Hitler, and the vow to never again have this type of hate towards one group of people displayed, Wilders happens. Andes Breivik did not quote Wilders for nothing. The ideologies are as thin as ever, The glorification of self at the cost of the other. It is a sign of the wall, that after the fall of hitler, a man with a similar thought process can be the man with the highest % of voted in the opinion poles. A man with an undemocratic party.

    • Richard Silverstein April 6, 2014, 12:44 AM

      @ Mareli: I doubt anything you wrote above is correct. But there are Dutch readers who can correct your errors.

      The left is not “cowardly” in not embracing the Islamophobia of the far-right. It actually is tolerant & respecting of diversity, unlike you & your friends.

      The idea that you are a “leftist feminist” is laughable. By what standards do you claim this? You divorce yourself in your own words from the left & attack it in almost every word above. I detest readers like you (& you’re not the first) who falsely claim to be leftist. Perhaps in the delusional world you live in you’re a leftist. But not in the reality where the rest of us live.

      Hirsi Ali has reserved her worst genocidal statements for Islam & they are certainly deserving of the opprobrium she receives for them.

      • Mareli April 6, 2014, 6:22 PM

        [comment deleted and commenter banned for comment rule violations]

      • Donald April 8, 2014, 2:46 PM

        Mareli might be a “leftist”, but that means nothing. I consider myself one, but the term is broad–it includes everything from Amnesty International supporters to members of the Revolutionary Communist Party (I don’t know if they’re still around, but they were a group of Western nitwits who thought Mao was great long after the rest of the world had come to understand what a murderer he was.)

        So a lefty who hates entire religions in the name of human rights? Yeah, I believe it. Lack of nuance isn’t exactly unknown in some parts of the left.

        • Richard Silverstein April 8, 2014, 6:08 PM

          @Donald: Calling me a “dickhead” got Mareli banned. If s/he’s a leftist them I’m a monkey’s uncle…& I ain’t.

  • Oui April 4, 2014, 3:30 PM

    Dutch Parliament – Ayaan Hirsi Ali Biography

    To gain refugee status in The Netherlands, Ayaan had not been truthful and her citizenship was declared void. After her resignation as member of parliament and her intended move to the US as a fellow at AEI, further investigation accepted her explanation for giving a ‘false’ name, the family name of her grandfather.

    After leaving Somalia for Saudi Arabia, her family came to Kenia as refugee and she was educated under an UNHCR scholarship. Her first marriage to a cousin in Canada, was surrounded with many contradictions whether it was forced and about her presence at the ceremony.

    In the Netherlands she wrote the script fot the anti-Muslim film Submission, produced by Theo van Gogh. She was already quite outspoken and seen as an Islamophobe, a colleague of Geert Wilders in the conservative VVD party. Later Wilders would follow his own political course and start the PVV party funded by Daniel Pipes.

  • Rocky Lore April 6, 2014, 6:19 AM

    [comment deleted--I do not allow publication of false charges. If you have views you must support them with credible evidence--that is, links to credible sources. If you state as fact claims that are unsupported & patently false, you are violating the comment rules.]

  • Oui April 7, 2014, 2:24 AM

    My post @Forward in article – Vassar Jewish Students Break With Hillel on Israel.

    Upon his return from Cambridge (UK) in 1923, Abram Sachar joined the faculty of the history department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, teaching Modern European and English History.

    Benjamin Frankel, director of the new chapter of Hillel Foundation at the University of Illinois, became the first permanent (though part-time) rabbi for Sinai Temple in 1923. Just 6 years later, at the age of 30, Rabbi Frankel died. Dr. Abram Sachar, a professor at the U. of I., took over as national and local director of Hillel and as part-time religious leader of Sinai Temple. Serving in these capacities until 1947, Dr. Sachar went on to become first president of Brandeis University in 1948, where he remained for 20 years. (Photo: John F. Kennedy, Dr. Sachar, and Eleanor Roosevelt)

    Sachar became a leader of the B’nai Brith Hillel Foundation, founded at the University of Illinois, serving as director of the Illinois sector from 1929 to 1933, national director of the Hillel Foundation from 1933 to 1947, and chairman of the National Hillel Commission from 1948 to 1955. During his tenure, he helped establish Hillel Houses for Jewish students on the campuses of many American universities. He also served as President of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) from 1945 to 1948.

    Concurrently, he served as part-time religious leader of Sinai Temple, a Reform Jewish congregation in Champaign-Urbana.

    Abram L. Sachar, president of Brandeis University, at the biennial convention of JWB [Jewish Welfare Board], declared on April 2, 1960 that among Jews there is no room “for Israel Firsters whose chauvinism and arrogance find nothing relevant or viable in any area outside of Israel.”

    • msd April 16, 2014, 10:50 PM

      I think you are misunderstanding and perhaps misapplying Dr. Sachar’s comment.
      This site, http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_print=1&x_context=8&x_nameinnews=319&x_article=2218 , did a dig down and it’s pretty clear that Sachar’s comment has to do with a world view within Israel meant, in all likelihood, to encourage American Jews to emigrate to Israel.

      In any event, read the article.

      • Richard Silverstein April 17, 2014, 12:41 AM

        @ msd: Yet another person viewing CAMERA as a credible source. Ugh! If CAMERA’s website was printed it could only be used for toilet paper.

  • RDC April 7, 2014, 6:47 PM

    There is no reason to assume Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s honor has anything to do with Israel. I believe that Hirsi Ali’s full bio was overlooked in the nomination process and a big mistake was made. Brandeis is not an Islamophobic institution. And Islamophobia = pro-Israel. Other students and I are working to get Brandeis to rescind its honor of Hirsi Ali. I am sure that it was not the intention of the institution to promote Islamophobia, and I hope that she is disinvited.

  • Oui April 8, 2014, 11:09 AM

    I was almost in the Honor Diaries – Why I Backed Out

    In April of 2012 I got an email from a woman who said she was a friend of a friend of mine – she had gone to school with one of the women that I painted in Technicolor Muslimah. From her personal gmail account, she wrote that my paintings “capture a unique expression which is often lost through mainstream media.” She was in the early stages of a documentary film focused on women’s rights and women’s activism “mainly focusing on Muslim-majority countries” and wanted to maybe include me.

    We did a phone interview, then a skype interview with her and the director. Throughout the two-month process, we exchanged a number of emails, and the Clarion Fund was never mentioned. We spoke about the controversy around Mona El-Tahawy’s “Why They Hate Us” article, and I felt like we were on the same page. I sent her some links and quotes like “I struggle with the fine balance of condemning violations of human rights without accidentally submitting to contemporary extensions of Orientalism” (link). Her words seemed to speak to a respect and admiration for Muslim women, and an interest in understanding the nuance of this subject matter.

    My flight was booked to go film in NY with the other women. The very last email I received was from a different email address, one that said “clarionfund.org” at the end … At the top it said “National Security through Education, Clarion Fund.”

    what.

    National security? What does National Security have to do with any of this? Who are these people? I looked back to the front page. There was a graphic of a film reel with images from past blockbuster hits like “The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America,” and “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” Their graphic designers had done things like incorporated an Islamic crescent moon and a gun into the typography. Wowzas. I had not heard of the Clarion Fund, so I googled them and perused their website, which was “radicalislam.org” at the time. I felt like I was going to throw up. This group wasn’t about women’s rights.

    [Read on …]

    Raphael Shore is a Canadian-Israeli film writer, producer, and rabbi. He is the founder of The Clarion Fund, a non-profit organization that seeks to “educate Americans about issues of national security”. Shore previously worked for Aish HaTorah, an Orthodox organization devoted to promoting Jewish learning, and has collaborated with its sub-organization, HonestReporting, a pro-Israel media watchdog site run by his brother Ephraim. [Source: Wikipedia]

  • Oui April 8, 2014, 12:10 PM

    What a difference a few years makes on an author’s impression of Ayaan Hirsi Ali …
    or in the meantime hired by the right-wing AEI and exploited as an Islamophobe in the political arena.

    Op-Ed: Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Israel is a Liberal Democracyby Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
    Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013 10:28 PM

    August 6, 2006 – By Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld – Chairman of the Board of Fellows at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs :
    Hirsi Ali : Alcohol free anti semitism -’ultra orthodox Jews biggest demographic threat to Israel’ as ‘fundamentalist fanatics’

    Ms Ali’s enlightenment in a few years in American democracy where Muslims live in peace and Islamophobia doesn’t exist!

  • Oui April 8, 2014, 12:30 PM

    Unashamed ignorant about anti-semitism, Nazi Germany and the Dutch “exporting Jews” during WWII –
    Voices on Antisemitism: Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Resident Fellow, AEI)

  • samarkeolog April 8, 2014, 7:43 PM

    “Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement. She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.” (http://www.brandeis.edu/now/2014/april/commencementupdate.html)

  • Sahndie April 8, 2014, 8:17 PM

    Due to the general outrage and at least one large petition, Brandeis University no will no longer be awarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree, as stated here: http://www.brandeis.edu/now/2014/april/commencementupdate.html

  • WPW April 9, 2014, 12:33 AM

    I don’t quite follow your objection to Ali. Is one not allowed to be an Islamophobe? Is that it?

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