TruthRevolt Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro appeared on The Kelly File Friday night to rebut Brandeis President Fred Lawrence's recent letter claiming he rescinded Ayaan Hirsi Ali's invitation to receive an honorary degree based on internal pressure in the Brandeis faculty and students. Shapiro argued instead that the university president had in fact caved to pressure from outside Islamic groups.
Shapiro called the President Lawrence's claims "untrue" because the groups responsible for much of the pressure, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and the Council for American Islam Relations (CAIR), had been coordinating with students and faculty to rescind Ali's invitation. Both Kelly and Shapiro highlighted CAIR's association with Islamic radicals like Imam Webb, who had a history of anti-Semitism, and Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike for connections with Al-Qaeda.
So why the immense pressure to silence Hirsi Ali's critique of Islam? Shapiro believes the leaders in these organizations hold a very rigid monopoly on who gets to speak about Islam and seek to silence those who would criticize it. Shapiro argued that as you long you agreee with them about Islam, they will leave you alone, and, quite possibly, even classify you an "expert" on the religion, evidenced by the dozens upon dozens of professors who signed the petition that Ayaan Hirsi Ali's invitation be rescinded.
Once Brandeis made the decision on Hirsi Ali, critics decried the university's double-standard in selecting degree recipients. One particularly conspicuous example was award recipient Tony Kushner as he at the time had publicly expressed deeply anti-Israel views. President Lawrence, of course, attempted to sidestep this by claiming it didn't occur under his leadership. In response to that claim, Shapiro stated:
If it wasn't on his watch, great for him, but it would be nice if he explained that standard before he revoked the invitation, as opposed to when he did revoke the invitation. The fact is that Brandeis has given honorary degrees to people like Tony Kushner. They did that in 2006, and Tony Kushner has said that the state of Israel should never existed. Tony Kushner, when they gave the award to him they said, "Look, we don't have to agree with everything he said to give him an award." That seems to be a far more reasonable standard than this new idea that we have to agree with everything that you ever said in order to give you an award at Brandeis University. I mean that would basically rule out everybody on earth.