Sunday, December 23, 2007


MEMRI TV has posted video of some disturbing comments by the dean of Al Quds University, Sari Nusseibeh, often sold as a moderate (always a controversial appellation: search). The comments are being called racist and anti-semitic. Here's the video: Palestinian Researcher Dr. Sari Nusseibeh on the Return of Palestinian Refugees.

Anti-Racist Blog has commented here and here. Campus Watch has written about it and has circulated a letter to university presidents: U.S. Universities' Partner, Al-Quds President Nusseibeh, Makes Anti-Semitic Remarks:

...Al-Quds has partnered with several American and Canadian universities to offer programs, classes, and research opportunities. The schools involved include the University of Michigan at Dearborn, Northeastern University, York University in Ontario, Brandeis, and George Washington University. Al-Quds also receives U.S. government support.

This afternoon, I sent the email below to the heads of each of these schools. If they reply, we'll make their remarks available; they may choose to speak through the media. Most important is that they not stand for such blatant anti-Semitism from the head of an institution that is supported by the schools they lead...

The letter reads, in part:

...Given that X University has close relations with Al-Quds ( link to university web page ), I wondered if you had any public comment on the remarks of President Nusseibeh...

Harvard's James Russell has come out both guns blazing:

I, James Russell, Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University, have read the statement by Sari Nusseibeh in his official capacity as President of Al Quds University: "No Jew in the world, now or in the future... will have the right... to live... in East Jerusalem" and so on. In response I declare that I refuse to teach or collaborate in any way professionally with any person having any connection whatsoever to Al Quds University, which must be regarded as an anti-Semitic and racialist entity. Furthermore I will oppose by every possible means, including prosecution under the laws of the United States, any association or cooperation of Harvard University with Al Quds. I urge all scholars and teachers of good will to join me.


I still have a few questions. What document are they talking about in the video? Will Nusseibeh issue a clarification for the record? Is Nusseibeh actually insisting no Jew should have a right to live in a future Palestinian State (and those living there now should be expelled), or is he merely arguing that there's nothing in this document they're discussing that would allow a Jew to "demand" it? There's a feel here of a rational person trying to humor madmen and shift their positions without trying to take them out head on, and I'm not naive about Nusseibeh's "issues."

So what is it, Sari? Is there a reasonable explanation here, or have you finally been outed as a racist anti-semite? I'm not sure it matters that much anyway, since given what he clearly does say, the best Nusseibeh could do would be to come out looking relatively better, and that's not saying much.

Update: Andy Bostom emails to remind us of Nusseibeh's words of respect for "Martyr Mom" Umm Nidal Farhat:

...Propelled by this notoriety, which the larger Palestinian Muslim society clearly extolled, including “moderate” Professor Sari Nusseibah (who stated on Al-Jazeera television [Qatar], June 29, 2002, “When I hear the words of Umm Nidal, I recall the [hadith] stating that ‘Paradise lies under the feet of mothers’. All respect is due to this mother, it is due to every Palestinian mother and every female Palestinian who is a Jihad fighter on this land”)...


Actually, Nusseibeh sounds a bit incoherent. He mentions that Israelis living in the West Bank should return to Israel proper, suggesting that he supports a two-state solution. But when someone says, "Why not include Jaffa in Palestine?" he answers, "Yes, that, too." So is he for a two-state solution or not?

He says that Jews cannot return to Hebron, where they had lived for centuries before being ousted some decades ago. Yet he also says that Arab refugees have the "Right of Return" to areas within Israel where they haven't lived since some decades ago.

Of course, describing the right of return as a "fundamental human right" is a political ploy. It's a neat trick to describe a cynical demand that will destroy your enemy as a fundamental human right. Very clever ploy.

So he's flogging all the typical Palestinian talking points, but he still gets off-track with his inconsistancies. He comes off sounding like an idiot. He doesn't have the presence of mind to stick to one version of the official story, and so he flits from one to the other, mixing them up. And his interlocutors are little better. If this is the intellectual level of the political and intellectual elite in the Arab world, Israel is the least of their problems.

I disagree, Joanne. I think Solomon has the right measure of the man. He is saying pretty much what I've been saying: that Palestinians have a right to go back to Israel and that Jews have a right to live in Hebron. And that a solution will entail an exchange of rights, so to speak, or, one right cancelling the other. He is saying : No Jew will have the right to demand to live in Hebron, which is what the Arabs want to hear, but implied, though unsaid, is the counterpoint, that no Palestinian will have the right to demand to live in Israel proper.

He is challenging Palestinians: do you want a state or do you want to destroy Israel (by insisting on your right to live in Jaffa.. etc).

Nusseiba is not antisemitic. He is one of the few Palestinians who understands that the final settlement will have to be about trading off historical rights.

More information Al-Quds University and Nusseibah

The below excerpts are from a March 2007 article which was first published in the Washington Post:

"Even Al Quds University--embraced as the bastion of moderation by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)--engaged in a weeklong celebration this January of the terrorist credited with developing the first suicide belts more than a decade ago...

The school's celebration of a leading terrorist actually seems to be in line with the beliefs of its leader. The president of Al-Quds University President, Sari Nusseibeh, is widely considered a leading Palestinian moderate--USAID praised him as "one such prominent and respected figure"--yet he, too, celebrates the glories of terrorists.

In an appearance on Al-Jazeera in 2002 with Hamas political bureau chief Khalid Mashaal and the mother of a suicide bomber, Nusseibeh had this to say of the woman who proudly raised a terrorist: "When I hear the words of Umm Nidal, I recall the [Koranic] verse stating that 'Paradise lies under the feet of mothers.' All respect is due to this mother; it is due to every Palestinian mother and every female Palestinian who is a Jihad fighter on this land." (Transcript provided by PMW.)

As Palestinian colleges go, Al-Quds University might well be quite moderate--but that's the problem. If terrorists are hailed as heroes at the moderate schools, imagine what happens at the more radical ones."

More on Nusseibeh and al-Quds University at the link below. This guy and the school are trouble:

I'm sorry, Noga, but I think you're wrong. I hope you're right, but I hear him differently. He's not challenging anyone. He's giving the Palestinian line that Jews will have no right to live in the West Bank, but Palestinians will have the right of return to "all" of Palestine.

I saw no counterpoint that Palestinians wouldn't have the right to demand to return to within the green line. How did you pick that up? He describes the right of return as a fundamental right, and that phrase ("right of return") does not refer only to the territories. Also, when his interviewers said that Jaffa should be part of Palestine too, he agreed!

Were we watching the same video? He's not anti-Semitic...necessarily. He's simply not for the existence of an Israel. I think you misinterpreted Solomon's "measure of the man." Or rather Solomon's interpretation of Nusseibeh's comments here. Why else would Solomon have called his comments "disturbing," and why is he calling for a clarification? Again, I think we're looking at different videos!

Another thing, I don't think one should read too much into his wording about the Jews "demanding" the right to live in Hebron. Nusseibeh probably wasn't coy or hedging here. He probably meant that Jews had no right to live in Hebron, period.


He is not saying anything explicit but if you read carefully, you can find it.

First, he says, Palestinians have rights and ROR is one of them. However, he goes on to say, we can’t have them all, so we must choose. And then he expands the context of the choice: a two state solution.

It is pretty clear that in the first paragraph, he is telling the Palestinians they have to choose between their ROR ( which means continued conflict) or a two state solution. If they choose the two-state solution, he says, then two things will happen:

1. ROR will be implemented, he says so as clearly as he dares to, “within the framework of the future Palestinian state “. In other words, the refugees will be settled in the future Palestinian state, not Israel proper. That’s something Palestinians DO NOT WANT TO HEAR! So he tries to provide some reward for giving up ROR, when he says:

2. “the agreement will ensure that “No Jew in the world, now or in the future, as a result of this document, will have the right to return, to live, or to demand to live in Hebron, in East Jerusalem, or anywhere in the Palestinian state.” That's the carrot.

He is talking about the final agreement in a way that both modifies ROR and panders to Palestinian loathing for Jews living amongst them. That’s what needs to be said in order to persuade the Palestinians to give up their ROR.

There is no doubt he could be more explicit and lay down the options more coherenly. But I have never yet seen any Palestinian (or Arab) daring to do that. For the obvious reasons that disagreement in the Arab world can take some pretty extreme form.

1st of all, Arabs were expelling Jews from various places in Israel starting in 1920, with British encouragement to be sure, but that's not an excuse for the Arabs.
2nd, since the British conquest in 1918, the Arabs were the first ones to expel people on ethnic-religious grounds. Jews were expelled from parts of Jerusalem in 1920, from parts of Jerusalem and from all of Hebron in 1929, and from various places in 1921, 1936-38, etc. They --yes, they, not merely the Mufti and his entourage-- collaborated in the Holocaust, most notably by demanding that the British cancel the Jews' right of return to the country as stated in and internationally recognized in the League of Nations mandate [1922].
3rd, the chief leader of the palestinian Arabs, the Mufti of Jerusalem [British-appointed], Haj Muhammad Amin al-Husayni [el-Husseini] directly collaborated in the Holocaust and urged the Arabs to murder Jews "wherever you find them" in broadcasts over Radio Berlin.
4th, going back into history when the Land of Israel was ruled by Arabs or other Muslims, the Jews were oppressed as dhimmis, indeed the Jews' status in Israel was lower than that of Christian dhimmis.
Now, they demand the ROR which they denied the Jews during the Holocaust [see 2nd above]. Of course the Arabs [includeing Nusseibeh] are hypocrites. But so are the Western governments, like that of the US, that pander to the Arabs and adopt their lies.

Well, this was certainly one of my more incoherent posts. I'm surprised anyone got what I was saying because even I'm not sure of what to make of it. I think Noga's run-down of what's on the record here is about right, which is not to say Joanne isn't also right. SN is trying to say that the Arabs will have to give up the idea of returning to what is now Israel -- "Right of Return should be carried out within the framework of the future Palestinian state." But then he muddies it by agreeing to Jaffa...which you could interpret as him appeasing the audience and saying, " wanna negotiate for that, be my guest..." knowing it isn't going to happen.

The trouble is that any real interpretation requires facts not in evidence here. That's why I'd like to hear more, including a non-couched, plain English explanation from SN himself. I doubt it's going to happen, and if it doesn't, and if it does and it's still hedged all over the place, then that should tell you volumes -- that even the MOST moderate Arab opinion that can be publicly expressed is so red-shifted over that there simply is no solution available that won't come down to the use of fists and worse.

If they have to they'll issue some clarificatin that since West Jerusalem is owned by the Jews blah blah blah... or the far left will excuse his sayings as hysterics by the right and that he is a distinguished scholar etc... etc... etc... and it is the right of the Palestinians to "struggle".... blah blah blah...
You know how this goes, nobody cares until they care, and then if/when that results in anything meaningful to the Palestinians, which it won't, they'll play good cop - bad cop in the most meaningless of ways... and the European papers will defend him while American papers will issue a Big Brother down the middle 50/50 story which by default actually endorses his statements in an understanding way due to the "occupation" etc... etc....


Too bad for "arab maimonide" that the Israelis are NOT the unarmed Jews of WW2 Europe.

Thats ANOTHER NAKBAH for ya.

And don't forget Hindu India, another people who have suffered at the hand of "The Religion of Peace".


Seems to me like a student of Martillo.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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