What is happening to Brandeis University? The school is named for one of the most distinguished of all American Jews and Zionists, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Yet it has just hired Khalil Shikaki — a supporter of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad — as a senior fellow at its Crown Center for Middle East Studies.
Why do these things happen? Are prominent Jews so afflicted by political correctness that they feel they have no choice but to open the way for their worst enemies to gain new prominence in America?
Let's be clear on some basic facts: Khalil Shikaki is the brother of Fathi Shikaki, a PIJ founder killed in 1995 on the island of Malta. And, while brothers can disagree, these siblings did not.
As shown by U.S. government evidence, Khalil Shikaki spoke at three annual conferences of the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP), a group the Justice Department describes as a front for PIJ. Shikaki appeared at its 1991 event, in Chicago, along with none other than the "blind sheik," Omar Abdul Rahman — infamous to all New Yorkers for his terrorist plotting and now serving a life sentence in prison.
All of the ICP conferences in which Shikaki participated featured bloodthirsty jihad rhetoric against Jews.
And how does that verbiage play out? Alisa Flatow, who was killed in a PIJ terror attack, was a student at Brandeis. Now the school rewards one of those morally responsible for her death.
President Jehuda Reinharz of Brandeis has tried to cover for Shikaki by arguing that since he was never convicted of a crime, there should be no bar on his employment. Well, Hitler never signed a direct order for the genocide of the Jews, either.
Is dodging justice now the standard for hiring at a prestigious university? What would Justice Brandeis have said about that?
Zionist Organization of America President Morton A. Klein last week called for Brandeis to carry out "a thorough investigation of Shikaki." Such an inquiry should have preceded his hiring.
Khalil Shikaki has never completely renounced terrorism, recognized the right of the Jewish people to their historic state or made a positive commitment to a Middle East peace based on mutual respect between religions, nations and governments. When confronted with his deplorable past, he has squirmed and spouted false words to present himself as a moderate.
Moderate Muslims — of whom there are many millions — do not treat the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a pretext for terrorism. Until Khalil Shikaki has demonstrated by deed, not word, that he is committed to the values that normal people everywhere share — above all, opposition to random bloodshed as a political tool — he has no place on an American campus. And especially not on that of a Jewish-founded university.
Those who accept elementary principles of human dignity should communicate their displeasure with the Brandeis decision to President Reinharz. Maybe it's time for a boycott of alumni donations, until Brandeis gets over its amnesia about its heritage.
Stephen Schwartz is the executive director of the Washington-based Center for Islamic Pluralism (islamicpluralism.org).