Brandeis University's shameful abandonment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

At Brandeis, of course, it’s fine to criticize Christianity and Judaism, and to savage America and Israel. Witness its presentation, in 2006, of an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner, who has repeatedly expressed contempt for the Jewish state. (Critics of Kushner’s award were brusquely informed that “the university does not select honorary degree recipients on the basis of their political beliefs or opinions.”) That’s not all: Brandeis, as it happens, hosts one of the most active chapters of the poisonously anti-Israeli group Students for Justice in Palestine, which, under the tolerant eye of the university administration, invites terrorist sympathizers to speak at the school and disrupts campus talks by members of the Knesset. Until recently, moreover, Brandeis even had a cozy “academic partnership” with Al Quds University, a hive of fanatical Jew-hatred. But criticism of Islam—even by someone with firsthand experience of its systematic and brutal oppression of women—is off-limits.

Tactlessly, Brandeis included in its dis-invitation announcement a suggestion that Hirsi Ali “join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues” (she declined). One can imagine the form that “dialogue” would take—an army of livid Muslim students and their benighted allies shouting Hirsi Ali down with words like “fascist” and “Nazi.” Plainly, the faculty and administration at Brandeis want to be seen as concerned about Muslim women—but at the same time, they’re terrified to welcome anyone whom CAIR or the Muslim Student Association might call Islamophobic. What Brandeis is teaching its students is dhimmitude—a pathetic readiness to cave in to Islam at the first peep of protest.