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Oct 16

Written by: Diana West
Friday, October 16, 2009 11:52 AM 

One more story about Yale President Richard Levin.

Seems that Denmark's Kurt Westergaard was not the only international visitor to have passed through Yale this semester. Queen Rania of Jordan also came through New Haven just a week or so before the Danish cartoonist. She was there to speak and celebrate an exhibition at Yale of art by women from the Islamic world called "Breaking the Veil."

Note, the "veil" being broken is not the veil of Islam, but rather what exhibition organizers saw as post 9/11 "misperceptions" in the Western media about Arab/Muslim women. Breaking such "veils" would seem to require a major load of Palestinian agit prop, if the "artwork" titled "Amended Resolutions 1" is any measure. This piece (above) is "a silkscreen on paper" by Palestinian-in-London Leila Shawa that "superimposes a United Nations resolution that established a special committee to investigate Israeli practices in occupied territories with the image of rubble, possibly a destroyed home."

And no, this is not a parody of a parody. This is part of the exhibition President Levin described as "magnificent" in his extremely laudatory (slurpy) remarks introducing Queen Rania to students last month. He also took the occasion to highlight Yale's widening embrace of things Islamic: Yale's new Modern Middle Eastern Studies Major, eight new faculty members in the field, the recent Ramadan banquet in the Commons, the new "coordinator of Muslim life for the University" (whom he didn't mention but could have), all in order to make the case that "Yale is a place where Muslim scholars and students are welcome and embraced with respect." 

There's that word again -- surely a perverse one to use for an ideology that doesn't "respect" in return the equal rights of non-Muslims or women, let alone freedom of conscience and speech. In President Levin's usage, however, embracing with "respect" really means embracing without question -- taking an Islamic point of view about Islam. If "Islam" means "submission," then "respect" is surely part of a submissive attitude toward it.

Levin went on. He noted plans by the Art and Architecture School to build a "peace park" on the banks of the Jordan River (with Israelis as well as Jordanians, but he didn't sully the pro-Palestinian atmosphere with that), an upcoming Arabic language program in Jordan that will be open to Yale students in 2010, and, finally, happily announced the creation of something called "the Queen Rania Fellowship for the Study of the Contemporary Middle East."

If the talk Queen Rania went on to give is any guide, Yale will be drafting "Queen Rania Fellows" from among the ranks of Hamas. The young Jordanian queen took to the lectern and embarked on a Goebbels-like exercise in propaganda that, of course, ignored the jihad violence of Hamas and Fatah and their Islam-inspired goal to destroy Israel. Instead, she focused exclusively on the "Palestiniain crisis" as created by Israel "holding the region hostage to continuous confrontation."

But the Arab victim act really wasn't the main issue here. After all, Jordan is the only Muslim country in the world, according to 2008 Pew Poll data, that has a majority-positive view of Hamas, not to mention a majority-positive view of Hezbollah. Not surprisingly, then, poll data reveal Jordanians' unfavorability rating toward Jews (who are still not even allowed to own land)  at well over 95 percent. Jordan is also the country whose prosecutor general has charged and requested the extradition of 12 Europeans, including Kurt Westergaard and Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, with various crimes against Islam and Islamic feelings for their lawful exercise of free speech in their own countries. In other words, what could you expect from the queen of such a land as Jordan? 

The issue is Levin. Levin is a Western scholar and the leader of one of the historically great and storied Western institutions. It is Yale President Levin's reaction to Palestinian propaganda, immorally artful in its "humanitarian" emphasis, heavy-handedly deceptive in its omission of the Hamas-Fatah war on Israel, that is at issue here.

After Rania's rant was over (it appears to have received a standing ovation) President Levin spoke again, this time in praise of the queen's "appeal for open-mindedness." He called her talk "something inspiring and motivating for us all." Listening to President Levin put me in mind of a university president in the 1930s praising the propaganda of an attractive young Nazi apologist. It is an act of moral depravity of historic proportions.

Onto the powderpuff Q & A. Levin selected pre-screened questions on "the economy" and "healthcare." He threw in a couple of  real boot-lickers as well: Is there anything else the Arab world would like to see the US doing? And: What can places like Yale do to show that Yale is a welcoming place [to Arabs/Muslims]? What strategies can you recommend for us? He closed with a question, ostensibly from a student, that was a doozy: Your Majesty, will you please autograph this?


Levin's prostration was now complete -- and, thanks to Youtube, perpetual. (Watch for yourself here.) And don't be surprised if by now Yale hasn't added a crawl at the bottom of the Youtube screen running the address of the Yale Development Office (in Arabic) because it is my feeliing that we must follow the money here to understand fully Yale's pursuit of favor in the world of Islam.




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