ADL to Al-Quds University President: Apologize for Offensive Letter to Student Body

New York, NY, November 22, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today denounced a letter issued by Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh to university students, which was sent in response to a fascist-style demonstration on the institution’s campus on November 5th.

Al-Quds University is a large Palestinian institution based in Jerusalem.

ADL said that while President Nusseibeh appropriately condemned the demonstration during an interview with the The Times of Israel, he has thus-far failed to issue a condemnation in Arabic. Instead, Nusseibeh chose to issue a letter to Al-Quds students which the League believes “promotes an atmosphere of acceptance for hateful expression” by deflecting blame onto “Jewish extremists.” ADL also expressed deep concern about the President’s claim that the challenges facing the Palestinians today are directly related to the events of the Holocaust.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, called on President Nusseibeh to apologize and issued the following letter:

Your letter to Al-Quds University students concerning the highly offensive fascist-style demonstration that occurred on November 5, 2013 at the Al-Quds campus in Jerusalem undermines basic principles of decency, and promotes an atmosphere of acceptance for hateful expressions which should have no support from responsible leaders of academic institutions anywhere.

Instead of rejecting, denouncing or even criticizing the incident, your letter justifies the demonstrators’ ugly behavior by deflecting blame onto “Jewish extremists” for their role in bringing attention to the issue. Indeed, the letter makes no direct mention of the demonstration or of any attempt by the University to address the problem of extremist expressions on campus.

Furthermore, we are quite shocked by your callous reference to the massacre of European Jewry by the Nazis, and offensive suggestion that the challenges facing Palestinians today are directly related to the events of the Holocaust. It is quite jarring that you, a distinguished academic who heads a highly regarded institution within the Arab world, would resort to using the Holocaust as a justification for such a vile demonstration.

We fully support the decision of Brandeis University to suspend its partnership with Al-Quds, and hope that you and Al-Quds will recognize the damage done to the standing and reputation of your institution.

We urge you repair the damage by issuing an Arabic-language statement apologizing for the offensive remarks in your letter, criticizing the November 5th demonstration, and announcing that the university will actively find opportunities to counteract hate on the campus through educating students about the dangers of extremist rhetoric and expressions.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.