Syracuse joins Brandeis in cutting ties with Palestinian Al-Quds University. Brandeis cut ties with its sister institution on November 18th, while Syracuse suspended its relationship with Al Quds on November 21st. The two universities responded as such to a Nazi-style military rally held on the Al Quds campus earlier in November.
In response to Nazi-style, anti-Semitic rally held on the Al-Quds University campus, Syracuse indefinitely suspended its ties with its partner institution, Palestinian Al Quds University.
The November 5th rally at Al Quds University’s Jerusalem campus featured masked students who marched in formation, brandishing fake automatic weapons and flags, and hailed the Nazi solute. Photographs of terrorists were displayed at the demonstration. A video of the event, which was captured by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, shows demonstrators carrying out mock executions and calling on Palestinians to harm Israelis.
Syracuse University’s vice president of public affairs, Kevin Quinn, stated in an email that “We are very disappointed and saddened to have learned of these recent events at Al-Quds University. Syracuse University does not condone hatred or intolerance in any way.”
Quinn added that Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism had held ties with Al-Quds University. Indeed, a number of students had attended a series of seminars with Palestinian academics as part of the partnership.
But this is not the first time Al Quds has played host to an anti-Semitic demonstration; indeed, in the past, similar demonstrations were held, but they did not garner as much public attention as the most recent one held on November 5th.
Miriam Elman, an associate professor in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, stated that “Where it crossed the line from free speech to hate speech was the visual depiction of the demonstrators dressed to look like, in my mind, SS troops, (doing) the Nazi salute.” Elaman adds that “There needs to be an unequivocal reiteration of the fundamental principles of Al-Quds.”
According to Elman, Al Quds University President Nusseibeh’s initial response to the rally was “unacceptable.” Indeed, far from condemning the rally outright, Nusseibeh stated instead “The university is often subjected to vilification campaigns by Jewish extremists with the purpose of discrediting its reputation as a prestigious academic institution…” Another troubling element in the statement was Nusseibeh’s statement that without the Holocaust, “there would not have been the enduring Palestinian catastrophe.”
Nevertheless, Elman said the partnership between the universities had brought about a number of positive results. Elman notes that “We’re leaving the door open to resuming ties…We’d like to have a possibility to continue these programs. Now there will be a discussion of what needs to be done moving forward.”