In yet another sign of the thoroughgoing corruption of American academia, the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies just co-sponsored a conference with a man who admitted to being a member of a jihad terror group, and an organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is dedicated, according to a captured internal document, to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within, and sabotaging its miserable house.” But that is of no concern to the wise heads at the University of Denver; how could it be, when the Left dominates academia, and would like nothing better than to aid in “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within”?
Co-sponsoring the conference with the Josef Korbel School of International Studies were the Center for Islam & Global Affairs (CIGA) and the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Global Coalition for Quds and Palestine in Turkey. The founder of CIGA and chief initiator of this conference is none other than Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty back in 2006 to a charge of “conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds to or for the benefit of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist” organization. He was then deported from the United States, whereupon he went to Turkey and founded CIGA.
According to JNS, the conference denounced Israel as the “apartheid Jewish Zionist colonial state” and called for its eradication. The program, JNS reported, was “replete with Palestinian propaganda, revisionist history, and blatant anti-Semitism and anti-Israel vitriol.”
At the conference, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s al-Arian denounced Israel in the hysterically false terms that are now becoming familiar in America thanks to the likes of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib: “There is no doubt we are talking about a settler, colonialist movement. What we see here today is an attempt to depopulate the indigenous people, and bring in as many Jews from around the world and try to bring a system that is properly being identified now as apartheid. There is no doubt about this.”
Israel, al-Arian thundered, was a “racist movement,” a “Zionist onslaught” that was directed toward replacing the “indigenous people.” The solution? Israel’s total destruction: “the essence of the struggle should be to dismantle this structure.”
Among the American professors listed as participating were Joseph Massad of Columbia University, Lubna Qutami of UCLA, Ahlam Muhtaseb of California State University San Bernardino, and Rabab Abdulhadi of San Francisco State University, who once invited jihad terrorist airplane hijacker Leila Khaled to speak to her students.
The University of Denver can’t claim that it didn’t know what it was getting into. Al-Arian has been quite clear about his views for decades. Back in 1991, during a speech in Chicago, al-Arian screamed: “The Quran is our constitution. Jihad is our path … Victory to Islam… Death to Israel… Revolution… revolution till the victory.”
Showing he hadn’t changed, in mid-December 2020, al-Arian spoke via Zoom at the Fourth International Conference on the Muslim Ummah, which was also co-sponsored by CIGA. There al-Arian also called for “defeating and dismantling the Zionist project,” adding: “We cannot pursue an ummah project without actually attaining our real independence. We cannot attain our real independence without dealing with the problem of Israel….As long as Israel exists, the ummah will stay weak and fragmented, and disunited and divided and dependent and under control.”
Numerous American academics and other Leftists have counted al-Arian as a friend for years and were anxious to portray him as a victim of “Islamophobia.” Before al-Arian pleaded guilty, he was dismissed from his post at the University of South Florida, whereupon Georgetown Professor John Esposito claimed that al-Arian was merely falling victim to “anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Al-Arian himself pushed all the right buttons as well: “I’m a minority. I’m an Arab, I’m Palestinian. I’m a Muslim. That’s not a popular thing to be these days. Do I have rights, or don’t I have rights?” Professor Roy Weatherford of the USF faculty union filed a grievance on al-Arian’s behalf, complaining that his dismissal was discriminatory and violated the professor’s academic freedom. The American Association of University Professors piled on, intoning that “Professor Al-Arian’s statements fell well within the ambit of academic freedom.” The Chronicle of Higher Education published a cover story called “Blaming the Victim?” and featuring a photo of al-Arian. Congressman David Bonior (D-MI), who accepted at least $3,000 in contributions from al-Arian and his wife, in January 2002 joined the crowd in opining that Al-Arian was a victim of anti-Arab bigotry.
In March 2002, Nicholas Kristof went to bat for the professor in the New York Times: “The point is not whether one agrees with Professor Al-Arian, a rumpled academic with a salt-and-pepper beard who is harshly critical of Israel (and also of repressive Arab countries) — but who also denounces terrorism, promotes inter-faith services with Jews and Christians, and led students at his Islamic school to a memorial service after 9/11 where they all sang ‘God Bless America.’ No, the larger point is that a university, even a country, becomes sterile when people are too intimidated to say things out of the mainstream.”
Phil Donahue fawned over al-Arian on his show. “So, one more time, sir,” he said to the professor, “and I know that you’re probably getting tired of these same questions — ‘death to Israel’ did not mean you wanted to kill Jews, do I understand your position?” After Al-Arian assured him of his pacifistic intentions, Phil went on to allege that “the law of innocent until proven guilty doesn’t seem to exist for Professor Sami Al-Arian.” He worried for al-Arian’s safety: “You are swimming upstream, professor, and this must be quite a shock to you. I know that your life has been threatened. I assume you have security.”
Eric Boehlert of Salon magazine published an article on January 19, 2002 titled “The prime-time smearing of Sami Al-Arian,” carrying this subhead: “By pandering to anti-Arab hysteria, NBC, Fox News, Media General and Clear Channel radio disgraced themselves — and ruined an innocent professor’s life.”
In his 2002 defense of al-Arian, Eric Boehlert wrote: “The al-Arian story reveals what happens when journalists, abandoning their role as unbiased observers, lead an ignorant, alarmist crusade against suspicious foreigners who in a time of war don’t have the power of the press or public sympathy to fight back.”
Reality was just the opposite. The al-Arian story reveals what happens when journalists and Leftist academics, abandoning their role as unbiased observers, lead an ignorant, alarmist crusade against Americans who in a time of war try to defend our country from threats that aren’t recognized as such by the Leftist elites. This conference, where al-Arian spewed his anti-Semitism again in partnership with the University of Denver, shows how far this rot in American academia has now advanced.