Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: On Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Where Is Your Chivalry, Brandeis?

Where are the good guys?
Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014 5:38 AM



Should you not draw courage from your brothers and sisters in Israel – who do fight back?
Do not blame the Islamist students for what happened at Brandeis University. In winning the withdrawal of Ayaan Hirsi Ali from an honorary degree they were only doing what comes naturally - boycotting. But where was the chivalry from Jewish students, administrators and faculty?

Was there no counter-protest? Was there no one to come to the aid of a lady in distress, or for a First Amendment in jeopardy?

We only know that once again Jews in America took it on the chin. They did not fight back.

A thug who beat up a Jewish kid in Brooklyn said he did so for no reason except that “Jews are cowards.”

We know Israel. So we know that’s not the truth. Right, kids?

But that’s the reputation around these parts, and your inaction at Brandeis only makes it worse.

At Brandeis you shamed the rest of us who expected something different from a generation that was born into liberty and abundance. You are not being asked to suffer or to sacrifice, but it is expected of you to comfort the widow and the orphan, and to protect the pursued. Where were you?

From what we hear, you not stand up to Ali’s accusers and you did not rally for freedom of speech. This can only mean fear and irresoluteness on being Jewish and American. You don’t know who you are. You don’t know your own strength. You act like greenhorns, as if you just got off the boat. You walk shoulders stooped to the ground. You are strangers in your own land and people who came after you and accomplished nothing lord it over you.

Otherwise you would have shouted No. This will not stand. Unchain Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Can this be true? You were silent? Say it ain’t so.

Ali is on your side. She demands justice and freedom for all men and women, like the words inscribed in Brandeis’ formation: of students being "deeply conscious both of the Hebraic tradition of Torah, looking upon culture as a birthright, and of the American ideal of an educated democracy."

Democracy! She sounds like a natural ally.

She expected support. None came, apart from a few lone voices.

Truly, you were outmuscled? You were bullied?

Ali has risked her life to speak truth. The producer of her documentary “Submission” was murdered because the film was critical of Islam, particularly its treatment of women. Ali wrote the script. That took guts. Where were your guts? For her valor she has lived her life on the run.

Today she lives in America, teaches at Harvard, and she too must be wondering, what’s up? Here we go again? Even in America? Such intolerance?

For this she did not escape repressive Somalia - to find herself in repressive America.

Where are the good guys? Where are the heroes she must have read about back home?

None came forth at Brandeis. The president of Brandeis, Frederick Lawrence -- he wilted soon after a petition went around from Muslim students protesting Ali.

That is to be expected from academics, from liberals, from progressives, from universities that get fat from Arab oil money.

Where was your petition protecting Ali?

Surely you know that Brandeis is a nonsectarian university founded by Jewish donors, sponsored (to this day) by Jewish philanthropists and named after the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice of the United States, Louis Brandeis. Your ancestors at Brandeis include such luminaries as Leonard Bernstein and your American ancestors soldiered beyond their demographics in every American war.

Should you not draw courage from them?

Should you not draw courage from your brothers and sisters in Israel – who do fight back?

Yes, we know. It’s tough being Jewish on campus today. Any campus. You face a BDS adversary out for blood. Enemies from oil rich kingdoms have placed their young alongside you here in America not to study but to discomfort you simply because you are Jewish. We know what you are up against, we know the score, and we are ready to fight with you, if only you will fight.

Grow some knuckles. King David is in your blood.

Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the novelist, the 25th anniversary edition of his international bestseller Indecent Proposal. Website: www.jackengelhard.com

[Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the outspoken activist, author, filmmaker and lecturer was supposed to be awarded an honorary degree at Brandeis University, but the school changed its mind to protect the sensibilities of its Muslim students. The protest against her began with a single petition from a Muslim student and quickly spread throughout the campus. Ali is a former Muslim who now champions Islam unchained. Now a Fellow at Harvard, she has been on the run most of her life. In the Netherlands, she wrote the script and provided the voice for “Submission" a film severely critical of Islam’s treatment of women. Her producer, Theo Van Gogh, was murdered and no place was safe for Ali. She became a fugitive until moving to the USA.]