Shilling for Hamas, Censoring Dissent

Editor’s note: Over the past two weeks, the David Horowitz Freedom Center has identified seven campuses in its report on the “Top Ten College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.” Today, we continue this series with Saint Louis University and the University of Minnesota.  These two schools join Brooklyn College (CUNY), Tufts University, Brandeis University, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and Vassar College in sharing this dubious honor. These campuses provide financial and institutional support to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech exposing the truth about Israel’s terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States.

Last night, the Freedom Center placed posters exposing the links between the terrorist group Hamas and SJP on both campuses. These posters serve as an important source of information for students and as a challenge to the SLU and Minnesota administrations to uphold the First Amendment, even when doing so means accepting speech that deviates from the anti-Israel narratives that dominate on campus.

Saint Louis University: Campus Administration

As the only Catholic university on our list, it would be understandable if St. Louis University exercised a somewhat greater degree of involvement in the selection of speakers who appeared on campus than its public counterparts to ensure that such events are compatible with the Catholic faith. But in fact the administration of St. Louis University is one of the most shameless promoters of anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish Islamic hate mongers. It has welcomed campus speakers and organizations that promote Islamic supremacism and support the anti-Israel terror group Hamas while defaming pro-Israel speakers as racist and Islamophobic and banning them from campus. In recent years, it has hosted events designed to indoctrinate students in Hamas propaganda and train them to support anti-Israel terrorism.

In 2012, Saint Louis University hosted a three-day training and strategy conference for the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, formerly named the International Solidarity Movement, a hate group that spreads Hamas propaganda and promotes the  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. SLU also promoted the BDS movement at a 2011 event held at the Busch Student Center called “An Introduction to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement: Nonviolent Resistance to Stop the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territories.” The event featured Fulbright scholar Sandra Samaan Tamari, a member of the Saint Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee.

In 2015, the university hosted a seminar by a group named #MyJihad which was formed by Ahmed Rehab, the executive director of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization with extensive ties to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood network. The seminar aimed to whitewash the concept of jihad for American audiences.

But while repeatedly opening its doors to Hamas sympathizers, SLU has taken extreme measures to ban speech and organizations critical of anti-Israel terrorists on campus. In October 2009, Freedom Center founder and CEO David Horowitz was invited to speak at SLU by the campus chapters of the College Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation about “Islamo-Fascism Awareness and Civil Rights.” But administrators told the student organizations sponsoring Horowitz’s appearance that they must either disinvite him or radically alter the format of the event to include a second speaker who would interpret Horowitz’s views in light of “Catholic teachings,” stipulations that had never been placed on appearances by several pro-Hamas speakers who appeared at SLU. Ultimately, school administrators cancelled Horowitz’s speech.

This egregious breach of academic freedom and free speech on campus was widely criticized in academia and beyond. Cary Nelson, national president of the American Association of University Professors, declared in a statement that, “Now that Saint Louis University has cancelled a scheduled October speech by conservative activist David Horowitz, it joins the small group of campuses that are universities in name only.”

More recently, in October 2016, SLU attempted to censor the remarks of retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Allen West who was also invited to speak on campus by a conservative student group. The University forbid students from using the words “radical Islam” on advertisements for the event. One administrator even claimed that West—a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom— did not “have experience with radical Islam.” The University then encouraged students to participate in a mass walkout of West’s speech.

For its disturbing pattern of banning speech critical of anti-Israel terrorists and radical Islam while welcoming Hamas supporters to campus, SLU’s administration makes our list of Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.

University of Minnesota: Danita Brown Young, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Residing in America’s heartland, the University of Minnesota is not an obvious choice to make the list of campuses supporting terrorism and expressing hostility to the First Amendment. But the university’s administrators have been as supportive of the hate group Students for Justice in Palestine as schools with more radical pedigrees while also condemning speech critical of the Hamas-funded organization as “hateful” and “repulsive.”

In November of 2015, for instance, SJP at Minnesota, along with the Anti-War Committee, disrupted a talk by Hebrew University professor Moshe Halbertal, co-author of the Israeli Defense Forces’ code of ethics which is titled “Protecting Civilians: Moral Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare.” A crowd of pro-Palestine students took turns shouting epithets at Halbertal, preventing him from being heard or carrying on with his address. Chants from the protestors included “These are massacres, not mistakes! These are war crimes! Free, free Palestine!” and “Occupation is a crime, free, free Palestine!” 

The University took no action against the student organizations responsible for shutting down Halbertal’s appearance.

UMN is also home to a strident coalition calling itself “UMN Divest” which spreads disinformation about Israel in an effort to persuade the student government to pass a Hamas-inspired resolution encouraging the University to divest its investments from Israeli companies.

UMN SJP has also repeatedly constructed mock “apartheid walls” on campus plastered with propaganda supporting the Hamas narrative, including propaganda maps claiming to show the Jewish colonization and takeover of Arab Palestine (a nation which has never existed). SJP also held a “die-in” on campus accompanied by a narration that demonized Israel, claiming that it is responsible for the “extrajudicial murders of Palestinian youths” and “atrocities against Palestinians.”

The University of Minnesota administration has continually provided legitimacy and resources to SJP which allow them to spread Hamas propaganda on campus. Yet when the Horowitz Freedom Center attempted to hang posters critical of SJP and the BDS movement on campus, Dean of Students Danita Brown Young immediately condemned them as “repulsive” and “not consistent with our University values or commitment to an inclusive campus environment.”

In a saccharine letter to SJP about these posters, Brown Young wrote:  “I am sorry for the hurt and fear this has caused you and the members of your group…This repulsive action weighs heavily on us…. We as a community do NOT accept this incident and we must collectively support each other in our time of need.”

For her support of SJP’s hate campaign against Israel and the Jews while condemning a rare instance of speech critical of that campaign, UMN Dean of Students Danita Brown Young makes the case for Minnesota’s inclusion on the list of university administrations most friendly to terrorists and hostile to the First Amendment.