Brandeis University, named for ardent Zionist and Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandies, which rescinded its honorary degree to noted activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali last year, deeming her too controversial for Muslim students, has extended an invitation to vehemently anti-Israel former ambassador Thomas Pickering to be the commencement speaker for 2015.
Pickering’s history in recent years has been extremely hostile to Israel; last year he, along with noted Israel-hater Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Siegman, Lee Hamilton, Frank Carlucci and Carla Hills, wrote a letter including statements like, “The United States has allowed the impression that it supports a version of Israel’s security that entails Israeli control of all of Palestine’s [sic] borders and part of its territory” “Israel’s confiscation of what international law has clearly established as others’ territory,” Israel’s “illegal land grabs only add to the Palestinian and the larger Arab sense of injustice that Israel’s half-century-long occupation has already generated,” “No Palestinian leader could or would ever agree to a peace accord that entails turning over the Jordan Valley to Israeli control,” “these Israeli demands can hardly justify the permanent subjugation and disenfranchisement of a people to which Israel refuses to grant citizenship in the Jewish state.” The Israelis “do not have the right to demand that Palestinians abandon their own national narrative, and the United States should not be party to such a demand.”
As Lori Marcus writes for the Jewish Press, Pickering “fervently believes Israel is inappropriately coddled by the Obama administration and that the Jewish state has stolen land from the mythical land of Palestine, despite the ‘Palestinians’ having graciously conceded a huge chunk of the land ‘assigned’ to the ‘Palestinians in 1947.’
The letter also claimed, “Although Palestinians have conceded fully half of the territory assigned to them in the U.N.’s Partition Plan of 1947.” As Marcus points out, “There were no Arabs claiming to be ‘Palestinians’ in 1947, so there was no assignment of land to ‘Palestinians,’ but instead to undifferentiated Arabs in the region … the Arabs to whom the land was assigned refused that assignment and instead chose to go to war rather than have any Jewish state at all in the region. What are they talking about? There was no concessions by the Arabs, ‘Palestinians’ or otherwise. Instead, there was a humiliating defeat of the five Arab nations which attacked the tiny ragtag Jewish army and lost.”
Bill Schaller, Brandeis’s “executive director of integrative media,” told the Jewish Press that Pickering has had a “long and diverse career, which has often included staunch advocacy for Israel.”