Friday, April 11, 2014

Brandeis, Bieganski, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and CAIR

Theo Van Gogh, Martyr
On November 3, 2011, I spoke about Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype at Brandeis University. I reported on that experience in this blog post. Given Brandeis' noble history, its resistance to American quotas on Jewish students in higher education and its establishment so soon after the Holocaust, I was proud and honored to speak at Brandeis.

Recently Brandeis was about to offer an honorary degree to one of my heroes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. You can read my Amazon review of her book "Infidel" here.

CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, complained. CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper compared Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the Nazis.

Brandeis University caved. They rescinded their offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

It goes without saying that Brandeis University's cowardly capitulation is disgraceful and even frightening. One can't help but think of that sliding scale of appeasement so aptly encapsulated by Martin Niemoller: "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali lives her life surrounded by armed guards. She lives under constant threat of death because she has spoken plainly about Islamic gender apartheid. Ten years ago she made a short film, "Submission," with Theo Van Gogh about Islamic gender apartheid. A Muslim assassin named Mohammed shot Van Gogh, stabbed him, cut his throat, and, using a knife, pinned a note to his chest threatening to murder anyone else who spoke out against Islamic gender apartheid.

That is the thuggery that once noble Brandeis caved in to.


What does any of this have to do with Polonia and Bieganski?

I've been involved with Polish-Jewish issues for a quarter of a century. I cannot count the number of times I have heard Polonians complain about being stereotyped as brutes, about the distortion of WW II and Holocaust history, and about how the Polonian story is not told.

I have watched Polonians writhe in agony as wave after wave of stereotyping crashes over them: in the wake of "Neighbors," in the wake of "Fear," in the wake of films like "Schindler's List."

I have yet to see Polonians support each other, unite, organize, and act strategically to change things on a national scale.

Muslims have not been in the United States for a long time. Their presence here is largely a post-1965 phenomenon. According to Wikipedia, Muslims are less than one percent of the US population. Obviously, not all Muslims agree with CAIR.

Consider: in spite of a relatively brief presence in the US, in spite of their small population, in spite of not all Muslims being in agreement, CAIR is able to manipulate and demand the surrender of a large, prestigious, Jewish university.

Polonia can't even register its agonized outrage when heroes like Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Maximilian Kolbe are maligned as anti-Semites, and when heroes like Witold Pilecki go unmentioned and unknown.

Polonia, please organize. Please read and act upon the blog post entitled: "The Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision, which you can read at this link.

You can tell Brandeis University what you think of their cowardice on their facebook page, linked here.


  1. Keep up the good work! I hope others speak up and write Brandeis. I'm picturing them not understanding the PC ruling, throwing there hands up, and not knowing what to do, asking the PC crowd what would make the most sense for continued donations. Just doesn't make sense on so many angles for me.

  2. Posted this on the Brandeis FB page:

    Truth Even Unto Its Innermost Parts.
    I think that it's time you change the school motto given the stand taken on Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
    Truth requires open and free exchange of information and dialogue. You chose to shut that down in this case. It's not too late to change. Sometimes the conversation about the truth isn't simple and conveniently easy. Don't give into the pressure by the groups that wish to control the dialog. Live up to that motto or consider changing it.

    I hope others will wake up and realize they could be next and we have to fight this strategy.

  3. This kind of caving occurs in other contexts. Remember how Norman Davies was denied tenure at DePaul University because he did not toe the line on certain subjects, and some academics elsewhere had raised a stink about him?

    1. I meant Norman Finkelstein, at DePaul University.

  4. Yes, Jan. Its all a question of Thoughtcrime I suppose. I also remember Bob Lamming who politely protested the teaching of "Maus" at the Catholic College where he worked and subsequently lost both job and career.

    I think PC now obliges me to say that: the-two-things-were-in-no-way-related, but I couldn't say it with any conviction.

    Clearly Ayaan Hirsi Ali has offended against Political Correctness in some mysterious way.

    Mark Steyn has this to say:

    I am wondering about writing to him, to point out what the Bible warns about "the wisdom of the world". We are seeing the truth of that warning more clearly by the day.

  5. Remember also how Norman Davies was denied tenure at Stanford University, as an "apologist for Polish anti-Semitism", because he suggested that Jews must accept some (he did not say all) responsibility for the negative aspects of past Polish-Jewish relations. How dare he think that!

  6. Polonia did not help Norman Davies. Thus, we lost his scholarship in the US.

    1. There was some intervention from Polish organizations, but it all fell on death ears. After all, Poles are not a recognized victim group. Thus, Polish concerns carry very little moral or political weight, especially in academia and media.

      Consider even something relatively drastic, such as mass marches of Poles on Stanford University, complete with sit-ins in the same. In the 1960's, when such marches and sit-ins occurred, the participants were praised for their resistance to an unjust war (Vietnam). Were Poles to do the same, in order to secure justice for Norman Davies, they would be painted as dangerous extremists, and a threat to academic freedom and its tenure process. When the media is not on your side, it is very difficult for whatever effort Poles do make to be successful.

  7. Yes, Jan, and doesn't what happened to Aayan Hirsi Ali demonstrate the problem depressingly well?

    She is a lady who should have a high score in PC terms. She is a lady to start with - well a wimmin, I probably ought to say - she is not Anglo-Saxon, not white, she is not Christian, but a Muslim, and she is bravely and rightly protesting the mutilation of women.

    Yet, with all that going for her, she has been completely outpointed in the PC stakes!!

    When you consider that we - Poles/Polonians- have a negative PC standing - sort of Anti-PC- I don't think we should be too hard on ourselves. No group would do well if put in our position

  8. My understanding is that she is a fanatical apostate who has said that Islam, not just fundamentalist Islam or any particular sect, but Islam, in all its variety, is irredeemably evil. This means that, whatever the validity of her various specific charges, they cannot possibly have any effect on the Islamic world. It also explains why she has become the darling of the bomb-the-Muslims-to-hell crowd.

    Under the circumstances, the reasons that it would be a bad idea for a Jewish university to honor her should be obvious. One is the likelihood that it would be interpreted, not unreasonably, as Zionist-driven Islamophobia. The other is that withholding the honor displays sympathy for what is, in America, a vulnerable religious minority, a circumstance with which Jews with liberal leanings ought to sympathize easily enough.

    You’ve equated the protesters with a murderer. This is obviously an absurd smear. When you follow it immediately by saying that the protests ought to be used as a model, well, all I can say is you’re not even trying to make sense.

    Jan Peczis is, I think, correct that it would likely not have been effective for you to protest in favor of Norman Davies, but the reasons he gives strike me as pure paranoia. In fact such a protest would not have been equivalent to the Muslims protests against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but in fact more like the opposite (that is, closer to what you are advocating in this post). You would be protesting in support of someone specifically because he is seen, rightly or wrongly, as attacking another group, i.e. because he supports the impression that Jews deserve all the hated and violence they have received. If you think this sort of action would be good P.R., knock yourselves out.

    Something I’ve found when my Amazon browsing leads to books on my Jewish heritage is that many of the reviewers there (in fact there are people like this all over the internet, although fortunately one rarely encounters them in real life) obsessively pore of materials about Jews in search of anything plausibly incriminating over the last 3000 years, no matter if the Jews in question were rich or poor, religious or secular, so that the reviewers can gleefully recount their collected revelations online. Some will go on to argue that the Blood Libel is no libel at all, that the Protocols of Zion were real, or any of the the rest, while others will be more careful, but in either case it’s always fairly obvious when someone has become captive of hate-driven monomania. And if one is trying to persuade people that accusations of Jew-hatred are the equivalent of 60-year old Polack jokes, it seems to me that this sort of behavior doesn’t help the cause. Yes, as you may have guessed, I’m thinking mainly of Peczkis, whose online presence may be well described as a massive trail of slime (try Google if you somehow don’t know what I’m talking about), although I suppose it’s my own fault for following it here, with both my eyes open.

    BTW I don’t like to do the online debate thing, so whoever wants the last word can have it.

    1. P. S. I would love to see you identify a single review wherein I supported the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Seems to me that you speak with a forked tongue.

  9. Any insinuation that Norman Davies is advocating hatred for any group is wide off the mark--and that is saying it tactfully. He is merely expressing facts and perspectives that some influential academics do not want to hear.

    And, yes, hatred is hatred, no matter where it comes from.

    As for the digging up of old dirt, I think that this mainly on the other foot. Who published NEIGHBORS, etc., and made such a big deal of it?

  10. Is there a "Bomb the Muslims to Hell" crowd Rusty?! I have never come across them. In fact, Muslims have pretty strong PC-protection - which, by the way, I don't grudge them in the least. I know only too well what its like without it, and would not wish it on anyone else.

    We have a sizeable Muslim minority in the UK now. The lovely young surgeon who recently installed my Knew Knees is a British Muslim, of Arab extraction. I am deeply grateful his parents came here. He is a great guy - he was so lovely to me and has done a wonderful job.

    The point here is surely the way Political Correctness "ubers" and "unters" people. And that I don't think we - us Poles/Polonians - are to blame because we have been untered in this way. It could happen to any group.

    And where do the Protocols of Whatsit come into this?! I don't think Aayan Hirsi Ali has had anything to say about them - nor, come to think of it, has anyone on this blog.

  11. Indeed. This whole business about the Protocols is a bunch of innuendo. Talk about slime!

    Yes, Muslims are everywhere. In Chicago, where I live, many of my students are Muslims. My barber is a Muslim. She does an excellent job.

    As for “vulnerable minorities”, who decides this status? Next to the vastly more powerful and more populous Germans and Russians, the Poles are very much a vulnerable minority.

    The university is a place for diverse viewpoints, and everyone knows that no single professor represents the university. Thus, a university is no more Islamophobic because one professor is harsh on Islam than it is Communist because one professor is favorable to Communism.

    If anything, the university is a place that professedly encourages iconoclastic thinking. That is why tenure was invented in the first place—to protect professors that espouse unconventional or unpopular viewpoints.

    Then there is the same old, same old double standard. A professor was denied tenure because she is strongly critical of Islam. Can you imagine, for a moment, a professor denied tenure because he is strongly critical of Christianity? In fact, such professors are a dime a dozen.

    Wake up, Brandeis University!

  12. Anonymous please sign your posts with a real first and last name

  13. Anonymous, again, please sign your posts. I prefer posting signed messages


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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