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Brandeis Alumni, APN Leaders, & Academics Call on Brandeis to Keep Ties with Dr. Khalil Shikaki

APN acted in response to a right-wing intimidation campaign to have Brandeis University drop its association with Dr. Shikaki based on unsubstantiated allegations...

See JTA Coverage of this Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 27, 2006
CONTACT: Lewis Roth - (202) 728-1893

Washington, D.C.-Brandeis University alumni, leaders of Americans for Peace Now (APN), and members of the academic community today sent a letter to Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz expressing support for the institution's hiring of Dr. Khalil Shikaki, a top Palestinian pollster and academic, as a senior fellow at the university's Crown Center for Middle East Studies and applauding President Reinharz's rejection of efforts to have Dr. Shikaki dismissed from this position. The letter was sent in response to a right-wing intimidation campaign to have Brandeis University drop its association with Dr. Shikaki based on unsubstantiated allegations linking him to Islamic Jihad. An organization involved with this campaign called on donors to reconsider their support of the university unless Dr. Shikaki is let go. APN is a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel's security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement.

The letter said, in part, "Dr. Shikaki is one of the most preeminent scholars in the field of Palestinian political studies. His widely respected polling and analysis have provided U.S. government officials, members of the American Jewish community, and people around the world with a much better understanding of Palestinian trends and thinking. His work has pointed to both the challenges and the opportunities that exist for advancing peaceful ways of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And his collaborative work with Israeli political scientists has offered people a chance to compare attitudes in both societies towards important issues.

"Dr. Shikaki has also been a leader in promoting negotiations in Palestinian society. As an articulate voice of moderation, he has encouraged Palestinians to work to find common ground with Israelis to resolve their differences, and he has been physically attacked by militants who have objected to his efforts. His constant willingness to speak before Jewish audiences and his support for dialogue programs like Seeds for Peace also attest to his outstanding character. Brandeis University is fortunate to have Dr. Shikaki on its faculty.

"Unfortunately, there are extremist elements in the American Jewish community that are relentless in their efforts to try to undermine Palestinian moderates and have no shame in using guilt by association to denigrate Dr. Shikaki. He has not been charged with, much less convicted of, anything indicating that he has supported Islamic Jihad. Unless that happens, Brandeis University is wise to ignore such allegations and not bow to mean-spirited intimidation tactics. We applaud your statement in the Forward dismissing the objections raised to Dr. Shikaki's appointment at Brandeis."

The letter was signed by:

Professor Franklin M. Fisher, APN Chair & the Jane Berkowitz Carlton and Dennis William Carlton Professor of Microeconomics, Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
Martin Bresler, APN Vice Chair;
Jo-Ann Mort, APN Secretary;
Debra DeLee, APN President & CEO;
Professor Michael Walzer, Brandeis Class of 1956, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, & APN Board;
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Brandeis Class of 1959 & Former APN Chair;
Linda Heller Kamm, Brandeis Class of 1961 & APN Board;
Laurel Weinstein Eisner, Brandeis Class of 1960 & APN Board;
Elizabeth Wyner Mark, Brandeis Resident Scholar & APN Board;
Professor Gerald Bubis, Millender Fellow at Brandeis University, Founding Director of the Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service and Alfred Gottschalk Professor Emeritus of Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, & APN Board;
Professor Peter Edelman, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Former APN Co-Chair, & APN Board;
Dr. Robert O. Freedman, Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Professor of Political Science, Baltimore Hebrew University, Visiting Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, & APN Board;
Professor Mark Rosenblum, Professor of History, Queens College, Director of the Michael Harrington Center and Head of its Middle East project, & APN Founder and Policy Director
Professor Joel Migdal, Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies, the University of Washington;
Professor Alan Dowty, Kahanoff Professor of Israel Studies, the University of Calgary;
Professor Ilan Peleg, Charles A. Dana Professor of Government and Law, Lafayette College;
Luis Lainer, Former APN Chair;
Ernest Bogen, Former APN Co-Chair;
Ambassador David Birenbaum, APN Board;
Arthur Stern, APN Board;
James Klutznick, APN Board;
Victor Kovner, APN Board;
Richard Gunther, APN Board;
Al Stern, APN Board;
Elaine Mitchell Attias, APN Board;
Sara Ehrman, APN Board;
Jeremy Ben-Ami, APN Board;
Judith Tuller, APN Board;
Harold Shapiro, APN Board;
Daniel Fleshler, APN Board;
Jim Gerstein, APN Board; and
Gail Pressberg, Former Director of the APN Center for Israeli Peace and Security & APN Consultant