mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Blog Warning: Mead To Israel/West Bank

Posting may be a little irregular during the next few days.  I leave this evening for a week teaching and lecturing on both Israeli and Palestinian campuses.  I’ll be teaching Thucydides in Israel and speaking on Middle East issues at Palestinian universities — including Al Quds, which has a close relationship with Bard.

Thanks to the team of associates and interns on Team Mead (soon to be identified on the Via Meadia masthead we plan to introduce next month), we should be able to keep posting, but given my tight schedule and the time difference, posts may appear at odd hours and on some days posting may be slow.  I’ll be back in the beautiful Hudson River valley after about a week and hope to share some of my impressions of the region with my students at Bard, and the readers of this blog.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Moshe

    Please post your speaking schedule in Israel, so your many readers here can attend!

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @ Moshe:
      Unfortunately, no public lectures are planned on this trip; I’m teaching a seminar. I’m sure there will be a next time!

  • Anthony

    WRM, Thucydides very relevant topic for your Israel/WestBank visit given his views on might versus right vis-a-vis contending nations (Arabs/Israelis). Good teaching….

  • PetraMB

    Mhm, excellent timing to visit here… Pity that there are no public events. Ah well, those academic elites, always sticking together and keeping us regular Joes and Jills out…

  • WigWag

    “I’ll be teaching Thucydides in Israel and speaking on Middle East issues at Palestinian universities — including Al Quds, which has a close relationship with Bard.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Isn’t it a serious problem that prestigious colleges and universities in the United States have a close relationship with institutions like Al Quds?

    To be fair, Bard isn’t the only offender; Brandeis University actually has a grant from the Ford Foundation to facilitate its “close” relationship with Al Quds.

    The problem is the Al Quds is an institution where many of the faculty and students cheer the worst terrorist atrocities. The institution has an undeserved reputation for moderation mostly because leftists in the west are besotted with the President of Al Quds, Sari Nusseibeh.

    Professor Nusseibeh has met with members of the right wing Likud Party and he has also called for Palestinian “refugees” to be allowed to return only to a new state of Palestine, not Israel, but he also played a leadership role in the first Intifada. To make matters worse, Nusseibeh has appeared on Al Jazeera with Khaled Mash’al, the head of Hamas and Umm Nidal, the woman who appeared in a video a few years ago proudly boasting of sending her son to become a “martyr” in a suicide attack.

    During the interview Nusseibeh said,

    “There is no life under occupation, and most of the Palestinian people is very much prepared to martyr itself to achieve liberty and independence and to restore its honor. I agree to this.”

    Nusseibeh also called “martyrdom operations” a form of resistance and emphasized he didn’t condemn these operations.

    Amazingly, the supposed moderate President of Al Quds, referring to Umm Nidal’s pride in and justification of her son’s suicide bombing, in which he killed 10 Israelis, said, “All respect is due to this mother…It is due to every Palestinian mother and every female Palestinian who is a jihad fighter on this land.”

    The Nusseibeh family is as close to royalty as the Palestinians have; it is an ancient family that actually holds the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Pundits, politicians and academic types love to make their pilgrimage to Professor Nusseibeh so they can pay homage. My question to Professor Mead is what will he say to the President of Al Quds about his comments supporting blowing up Israeli men women and children in pizza parlors? Will he say anything at all?

    According to a 2007 report by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook entered into the Congressional Record by Congresswoman Nita Lowey,

    • Al Quds hosts student branches of Hamas and Islamic Jihad on campus.
    • Campus activities honor terrorists, past and present.
    • Campus activities advocate terror as legitimate “resistance.”
    • Al Quds University property is used for Hamas assemblies.
    • Al Quds administration members join in terror group events on campus.
    • Al Quds University participates in and sponsors off campus activities honoring terrorists.

    What does it say about Bard that it is willing to affiliate itself with an institution like Al Quds? Is Bard any better than Columbia University which press reports suggest is about to offer a new invitation to Iranian President Ahmadinejad to address the faculty and student body?

    While I am sure that few Bard students or faculty actually support suicide bombers, how many are willing to make excuses for those who are blowing people up for the crime of being Israeli and Jewish? Surely Bard faculty member Ian Buruma is one of those; how many others are there?

    It is my opinion that Professor Mead should be ashamed that his place of employment has a “close” relationship with Al Quds. My personal opinion is that the honorable thing to do would be to refuse to lecture there.

    There may be many fine students at Al Quds and even a few decent faculty members, but that doesn’t change the fact that the institution is a hot bed of hate, anti-Semitism and support for murdering people because they are Jewish.

    The fact that Bard has a close affiliation with Al Quds is nothing to be proud of; it should be a cause of great embarrassment and remorse.

    Does Professor Mead have any qualms about appearing there at all?

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @Wig Wag. No, none. But then I’ve had dinner with Fidel Castro and met many heads of state and others of whose ideas and actions I have disapproved. I’ve been civil in North Korea and diplomatic in Damascus. I’ll say what I think and they’ll react as they see fit.

  • vanderleun

    “I’ll be teaching Thucydides in Israel and speaking on Middle East issues at Palestinian universities.”

    Well, there goes the neighborhood.

  • Peter

    So what lessons do you gather from your understanding of Thucydides as to why Spartan defeated Athen as it might relate today?

    Wasn’t Athens imperalistic in trying to spead its ‘democracy’ thoughout the Greek world and didn’t democracy in Athens itself lead to one military disaster after another.

  • WigWag

    “@Wig Wag. No, none. But then I’ve had dinner with Fidel Castro and met many heads of state and others of whose ideas and actions I have disapproved. I’ve been civil in North Korea and diplomatic in Damascus” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Fair enough, but I doubt that Bard (which I assume is paying for your trip) has a “close” relationship with Kim Il-sung University. Institutions like Bard have their limits; forging affiliations with institutions named after mad men is a line that they won’t cross. Besides which there is little to be gained amongst the crowd that values political correctness above everything else, to collaborating with North Korean institutions of higher education.

    For Bard, collaborating with an institution where significant numbers of faculty and students celebrate blowing up Jews in pizza parlors is another matter entirely. I have no doubt that Bard cherishes its “close” relationship with Al Quds University.

    I don’t expect Bard to have any shame about this; like many of America’s colleges and universities, it simply has no shame.

  • Anthony

    “Political discourse is full of words that everybody uses and almost nobody understands…equivocation: when one word is used in two distinct senses.” Is there collaboration/affiliation when executing a teaching seminar or are definitions (consistent) subject to attached interests (and how they matter) that restrict knowledge exchange?

  • WigWag

    There are some other interesting aspects of the Bard-Al Quds University relationship. The President of Bard, the famous musicologist Leon Botstein, is an ardent Zionist and a conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He has never commented on the complimentary things that his Al Quds counterpart, Sari Nusseibeh, said about suicide bombers. Instead, Botstein did what many Jews desperate for acceptance in the Arab world and amongst the American leftist elite do; he averted his eyes. Or perhaps like many University Presidents, he was simply blinded by the money.

    Unsurprisingly, the major funding source for the Bard-Al Quds collaboration came from the “Open Society Institute” which is, of course, the organization founded by George Soros. Everyone knows that Soros is passionately anti-Israel and some people believe (Glen Beck comes to mind) that despite his Jewish heritage, Soros is an anti-Semite himself. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but while the Open Society Institute has done some good work in eastern Europe, anything funded by the organization needs to be scrutinized very carefully; the organization has a mixed record at best.

    Several mainstream Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress have refused to criticize the Bard-Al Quds collaboration but I can’t help but wonder whether Bard would be willing to forge a similar “close” relationship with an Israeli institution on the West Bank like Ariel University of Samaria, or even a right wing university within Israel proper like Bar-Ilan University.

    To ask the question is to answer it; of course they wouldn’t.

    In fairness to Al Quds, it is not the only University in the world where a substantial proportion of the faculty and student body disdain Jews. Anti-Semitism is rampant in academic circles in Europe, especially in Great Britain. Even in the United States, institutions as diverse as Columbia University and the University of California at Irvine have allowed themselves to become hostages to students and faculty who just don’t like Jews and are willing to make excuses for those who attack or even murder them.

    One of Botstein’s grandfathers was a close friend of Vladimir Jabotinsky. All I can say is that Jabotinsky must be turning over in his grave.

    My question is simple; is there anything Bard won’t do in pursuit of its mission to worship at the alter of the politically correct?

  • Toni

    Vaya con Dios!

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Please be careful, you will be treading among barbarians who don’t engage in self criticism as the civilized do, and generally react to criticism of any kind with violent attacks.

  • Anthony

    WRM, a thought to share given discussion: “the practical principle which guides them to their opinions on the regulation of human conduct…no one, indeed, acknowledges to himself that his standard of judgment is his own liking; but an opinion on a point of conduct…men’s opinions, accordingly, on what is laudable or blamable, are affected by all the multifarious causes which influences their wishes in regard to the conduct of others, and which are as numerous as those which determine their wishes on any other subject.”

    Liberty of thought, from which it is impossible to separate the cognate liberty of speaking and of writing, is essence of seminar WRM.

  • WigWag

    More on that great and urbane institution, Al Quds University, that Bard has decided to collaborate with.

    Just two years before Presidents Botstein and Nusseibeh announced their partnership midwifed by George Soros, Al-Quds University held a weeklong celebration honoring Yahya Ayyash, better known as “the shahid (martyr) engineer.”

    Who was Yahya Ayyash and what did he do to deserve a weeklong celebration of his achievements?

    He was none other than the man credited with designing and building the first suicide belt as well as with training a whole generation of suicide bomb-makers how to construct and detonate them.

    Bard University is the proud home to a lovely little art collection housed at the Hessel Museum of Art. Not to be outdone, its partner institution, Al Quds, is also home to a museum; the Museum of Palestinian Martyrs. The Museum commemorates the bravery of Palestinians who murder Israeli civilians. Perhaps after one of his lectures, Professor Mead will find some time to visit the museum and report back to his loyal readers what he found.

    Interestingly, Al Quds University also houses television studios used to produce children’s television shows broadcast on Hamas television to children in Gaza.

    What type of children’s fare are they producing?

    In a documentary about life in Nablus, an Al-Quds University produced show aired interviews with Palestinian school children expressing their anger at Jews and claiming, “This is my city, this is not the Jew’s city,” and “This is not the Jew’s home, he is dirty.”

    Al Quds University also produces the Palestinian version of Sesame Street. A recent show aired on Sept 22, 2009, teaches Palestinian children to kill Jews and contains the following dialogue:

    Nassur: “There won’t be any Jews or Zionists, if Allah wills. They’ll be erased.”
    Saraa: “They’ll be slaughtered.”
    Nassur: “And just like we will visit the Qaaba [in Mecca]… everyone will visit Jerusalem.”
    [Seven-year old Palestinian child on phone tells how his father, a member of the Hamas Al-Qassam Brigades, “died as a Shahid (Martyr).”]
    Nassur to child on phone: “What do you want to do to the Jews who shot your father?”
    Child on phone: “I want to kill them.”
    Saraa: “We don’t want to do anything to them, just expel them from our land.”
    Nassur: “We want to slaughter (Nidbah-hom) them, so they will be expelled from our land, right?”
    Saraa: “Yes. That’s right. We will expel them from our land using all means.”
    Nassur: “And if they don’t want [to go] peacefully, by words or talking, we’ll have to [do it] by slaughter.” (Shaht)

    More about how Al Quds University indoctrinates infants and young children can be found here,

    Of course, the one book that everyone on campus at Al Quds University reads is “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.” The book is also extraordinarily popular at other Palestinian universities such as Bir Zeit University and Al-Najah. I wonder whether Professor Mead is lecturing at either of those.

    The question that comes to my mind is how long will it be before “Protocols” becomes required reading at Bard. After all Bard and Al Quds are so “close.” If it’s good enough for the students in the West Bank, how long will it be before President Botstein decides that it’s good enough for those bright young students in Duchess County?

    Bard is a national embarrassment or at least it should be. Unfortunately its behavior is far too emblematic of the politically correct attitude that governs many American institutions on higher education. If the iconoclastic Professor Mead won’t call them out on it, who will?

  • Andrew Allison

    There’s been commentary in the past about Bard’s association with Al Quds and demonstrations on the Bard Campus by masked Muslim militants. I trust that WRM will keep in mind that if it would not be acceptable at the Matriarch’s dinner table, it’s not acceptable applies not just to TAI commentary.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service