Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses some members of Brandeis’ faculty, and the implications of their hiring practices:
Brandeis has gained attention recently for the presence of Khalil Shikaki, who is suspected of ties to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, on its faculty. Previously the Brandeis Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department was best known for the presence of Baghdad-born Kanan Makiya, the Sylvia K. Hassenfeld Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. When the Hassenfeld family (of Hasbro Toys) decided to endow a chair at Brandeis in Islamic studies, a lecture was delivered by Bernard Lewis. Asked by the wife of the donor as to whether or not he had any ideas about who might hold the chair, Lewis was characteristically reticent. Asked about Kanan Makiya by an enthusiastic questioner, he replied that the best book by Makiya was the “one on architecture” (that is, about the kitsch of Saddam Hussein’s monuments to himself) — not exactly a ringing endorsement. Nonetheless, Makiya was appointed to the chair.
There are dozens of Western scholars of Islam. Kanan Makiya is not a scholar of Islam. He was a political emigre from Iraq whose claim on our attention is that he publicly deplored Saddam Hussein and wrote about it (“The Republic of Fear”) and that he was one of the few Arabs to denounce the massacre of Kurds. So he is on the right side, more or less, though not quite as far along as Fouad Ajami. He still thinks the “Palestinians” can be talked about as a separate people, and holds astonishingly conventional Arab Muslim views about the Arab siege of Israel. His sympathy for murdered Kurds is clear; a larger understanding of why the phrase “the Arab world” is both deceptive and cruel, and that the Jews, too, might possess rights to a homeland with defensible borders, and that the essentially endless nature of the Arab opposition ought to be admitted to and spoken about — by advanced Arabs such as himself — is something that has not yet entered his head.
Brandeis’s Crown Center, clearly, is one more tribute to some rich donor’s dreamy sense of “what needs to be done.” Akin to those “camps” entirely funded by Jews, to which “Arab” and “Israeli” students come, and where it then turns out that some of those “Arab” students return to what they insistently call “Palestine” to fight the Jihad — it has happened time and again — these Centers for Reconciliation, Peace, Understanding, Dialogue are all taken advantage of by the Arab Muslim participants, and the dismal results are always the same.
Money that might go, say, to Jihad and Dhimmitude Studies, where Jews and Zoroastrians, Maronites and Copts, and apostates from Islam (always, and everywhere, the most morally and intellectually advanced people to have been born into Islam — and by far those with the best senses of humor) could study what happened to their communities under Islam and why, instead goes to these essentially useless enterprises. All these enterprises do is make the rich but clueless donors feel good and swell the coffers of the accommodating university — and a good though pointless or even, as the case in question makes clear, possibly a dangerous time is had by all.
The case of Shikaki at the Crown Center does not surprise. What surprises is the depth and duration of the willingness to be fooled, to not see things steadily and whole, to avoid studying certain things, or fully assimilating their significance if they are studied. A mass effort at self-disinformation.
Exhibit #1 is the Crown Center. Why don’t those in charge of the Crown Center ask Ibn Warraq to come and continue his important scholarly research on early Islam? Why don’t they favor apostates for Islam, who have some truths to tell? And if the true, as opposed to the Received Islamic Version of Islam, is never to be investigated, what hope is there for finding a way other than open, mass warfare — to weaken the forces of Jihad?
If Peace is sought, it can only be achieved by those willing to find other instruments by which to wage a war of self-defense against the varied instruments of Jihad. Study of the history of Islam, of its canonical texts, its tenets, its attitudes, and its atmospherics, can both arm the Infidels under assault and also serve to weaken the certitude of jihadists themselves.
Is that a bad thing? Or is that not the way to head off world war? Or if not world war, then the islamization, through the mere fact of Da’wa aimed at the economically and psychically marginal, and demographic conquest of the West? Otherwise, as Bernard Lewis himself (who is regarded as the Final Authority by some at Brandeis, who have set the bar low — be against Esposito and Said and be attacked by most of MESA Nostra, and you are in like Flynn, which may have been enough once but is not nearly enough now) has observed, that conquest is inevitable.
Would any of us wish for the islamization of Europe? Have any of us quite grasped what that would mean? Does the Crown Family, or all those other donors who spend their lives making and managing money, and trust “the experts” to decide how to deal with it, realize what that would mean? Whatever “expert” at the Crown Center thought it was a wonderful idea to have a resident “Palestinian” activist was an ass, and a fool. No doubt nothing will be done about it.
So perhaps some other would-be donors, to whose attention this website may be brought, will think twice the next time they choose to endow some center for Islamic this or Peace that. Try to think. Try to hold onto your thinking caps. Try to take advice from the sensible. If Bat Ye’or is out, email me through Robert Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll tell you where to get the biggest bang for your 501(c)(3) buck.