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Brandeis should reinstate partnership with Al-Quds University

Published: October 9, 2014
Section: Front Page


In this week’s issue of The Hoot, we feature a group of students who shared their experiences spending time in Palestine and at Al-Quds University, a former partner of Brandeis. Last year, the university suspended their relationship with the Palestinian institution over a Nazi-themed demonstration by an Islamic fundamentalist group. An abhorrent act, it was still one that was not representative of the entirety of Al-Quds University, as demonstrated by the experiences these students had. To give up on Al-Quds after one event would undermine the spirit of community that Brandeis claims to hold dear, as well as demean the hard work and resolve of the students involved.

In the spirit of second chances, Brandeis should reinstate its partnership with Al-Quds to further cultivate the original mission of fostering cultural understanding and provide more educational opportunities. Additionally, by renewing the partnership, Brandeis may inspire positive feedback from both the Muslim community and the academic community as a whole.

The stories that students shared with their “Brandeis University—Al Quds University Student Dialogue Initiative” highlight how much can be gained from a relationship with Al-Quds. These included an observant Jewish student speaking about fearing anti-Semitism before having his expectations shattered after actually interacting with members of the Al-Quds community. This is a testament to Brandeis’ students commitment to social justice on a global scale.

On campus, conflicts in the Middle East elicit extremely strong opinions from students, especially those relating to the Israel-Palestine situation. It is rare that discussions do not devolve into arguments, especially over Facebook. This does nothing but drive wedges into the Brandeis community and ends any possibility for rational and vigorous debate or sharing of ideas. Refusing to budge on positions or opinions helps no one, and the student visit to Al-Quds proves that Brandeisians are tired of this.

We at The Hoot applaud these students for making an effort that the administration refused to make, as they reacted so quickly (and perhaps rashly) to the initial incident and President Nusseibeh’s response. Again, the event was unacceptable and indefensible, but Brandeis missed an opportunity to move forward by instantly judging the response from the Al-Quds administration, rather than seeking direct dialogue with the university. One can only hope that the administration will finally listen to the accounts of these students and move forward in re-establishing ties with Al-Quds University.