Penn Hillel Whitewashing Bigotry

I believe that whoever decided to invite this racist hoped that, once Baker was honored at Penn, he could be brought to college campuses around the U.S., thus making the Neo-Nazi brand of anti-Semitism respectable.

Jared Israel,

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Earlier this month, Arutz Sheva posted an opinion piece by Prof. Francisco Gil-White, entitled ?Impunity for anti-Semitism at Penn.? In that piece, Gil-White attacked the Muslim Student Assocaition (MSA) at University of Pennsylvania for inviting William Baker, a neo-Nazi, to deliver an address during Islam Awareness Week.

In response, University of Pennsylvania (?Penn?) Hillel President Jason Auerbach posted a comment asking people to read the letters that he and MSA president Muhhamed Mekki had written in response to Gil-White. These letters are posted on the website of the Daily Pennsylvanian.

Unfortunately, the Mekki-Auerbach letters are another attempt to avoid the burning questions.

Question 1: Why did the MSA (Muslim Student Association) schedule a talk on Muslim-Christian unity, excluding Jews - and this at a campus which is one-third Jewish? That this was not an innocent error is suggested by the choice of William Baker, a notorious anti-Semite, anti-Black racist, a man associated with the KKK and Muslim extremism, to give this talk.

Early in his letter, Auerbach warns against ?tossing around condemnations [of anti-Semitism] without great certainty.? The idea is that a) Baker?s anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism were uncertain and, therefore, b) it was believable that the MSA invited Baker without knowing who - or what - he was.

But Baker?s politics are well-publicized. If you go to the search engine and enter ?William Baker? and ?Christians and Muslims for Peace?, with both phrases in quotation marks, the third result mentions Orange County Weekly articles exposing Baker?s horrific past. It only takes seconds to search for those articles on Google.

Before Baker?s visit, the Daily Pennsylvanian (DP) wrote: ?[MSA president Muhammed] Mekki said he is especially excited to hear Christians and Muslims for Peace founder Bill Baker's lecture ? which will focus on common ground between Islam and Christianity ? since it is the first speech delivered by a non-Muslim during an IAW at Penn.? (DP 10/03/03)

Why ?excited??

Baker has a new job these days. He travels worldwide inciting Muslim audiences to violence against India, Israel and Russia. Here are excerpts from his Damascus speech. He was the honored guest of the Grand Mufti:

* Baker: ?Palestinian people, as we are here today, are dying, they are being threatened with extinction.... We, all of us, Christian and Muslim who serve Allah, one God, we have the same charge from Allah, we must not simply say the words of peace, we must make jihad for justice.?

* Baker: ?The problem with the ?road map? [is] it is missing the main road. For that road does not run through Washington, DC, or Tel Aviv, it runs through the word and the will of Allah.?

* Baker: ?I have been in occupied Kashmir. Not the exotic Kashmir; I have been there, too. That's the Pakistani side. No, no I went into that land occupied by 1 million *Hindu* [note that he says Hindu not Indian! - JI] soldiers. Imagine 1 million soldiers in Syria, foreign soldiers; who hate your religion; who hate you.?

Apart from this open incitement, consider Baker?s closing remarks, possibly a pitch for higher pay:

* Baker: ?Koran says, ?Oh Lord, send us one from you. Send one, a defender who can free us from these oppressors. From your presence send us a defender.? It is my prayer that if I have been honored and chosen by Allah, perhaps, even as a Christian, you will all know there is one Christian who is one of those defenders.?

[You can access the video of Baker?s talk by going to The excerpts quoted above begin just before the 13th minute.]

So we have a notorious anti-Semite (and anti-black racist!) who now travels worldwide, claiming to represent Christian support for Muslim extremism. He gets invited to speak at prestigious Penn as the honored guest at a Muslim student event. I submit that it is simply not believable that whoever made the decision to invite Baker did not know who he is.

Question 2: Auerbach states in his letter that ?we did not find out about his [i.e., Baker?s] history until shortly before their event... When we learned of Baker's anti-Semitic past, we immediately let the leaders of MSA know that based on his past we found this speaker objectionable....?

So, the obvious second question is why, despite Hillel?s intervention, did the MSA leaders still proceed with Baker?s speech?

Question 3: At Baker's speech, students handed out fliers explaining who he was. The DP reported Mekki's response: ?The speaker's alleged anti-Semitic position ?is irrelevant to the discussion,? Mekki said. ?There can be misunderstandings, but criticism must be raised in a civilized manner.?? (DP, 10/10/03)

Why didn't Mekki say, ?If this man is an anti-Semite, of course we repudiate him. We will make a statement tomorrow.? Why instead did he make this condescending dismissal? ?Civilized?? Is it civilized to bring neo-Nazis to lecture on Christian-Muslim unity?

Question 4: Given all this, what can excuse the silence of the Penn administration, which helped pay for Baker? And what excuses the continued attempt by Hillel to whitewash this affair? The most recent example is the amazing statement in Auerbach?s letter, praising Mr. Mekki for ?reaffirming [the MSA's] commitment to battling bigotry.?

I believe that whoever decided to invite this racist hoped that, once Baker was honored at Penn, he could be brought to college campuses around the U.S., thus making the Neo-Nazi brand of anti-Semitism respectable.

A very serious matter.