(JTA) — The president of Brandeis University is in talks with officials at the Palestinian Al-Quds University to re-establish a partnership between the schools that was suspended over an Islamic Jihad rally.
Frederick Lawrence and Al-Quds leaders are discussing “next steps” with the “ultimate goal of re-establishing a partnership,” the Brandeis student newspaper The Justice reported this week, citing an email from the university’s senior vice president for communications, Ellen de Graffenreid.
There is no specific time frame for restarting the partnership, which began in 1998.
The efforts come more than a month after the release of a report by three Brandeis faculty members who examined the November demonstration on the Jerusalem campus of Al-Quds that led to Lawrence announcing the suspension of ties about two weeks later, as well as the Middle East school’s response.
In their report, the faculty members concluded that Al-Quds acted immediately and appropriately in response to the rally and called on Lawrence and Brandeis to work to restore the partnership. They visited Al-Quds on a trip scheduled prior to the demonstration.
The Al-Quds rally featured protesters marching in black military gear with fake automatic weapons while waving flags and offering the traditional stiff-armed Nazi salute. Banners with images of Palestinian suicide bombers decorated the main square of the campus, according to a statement from Brandeis. Several students also portrayed dead Israeli soldiers.
In announcing the suspension of the relationship, Lawrence said Al-Quds President Said Nusseibeh’s condemnation of the demonstration — Nusseibeh said “Jewish extremists” were using the demonstration to “capitalize on events in ways that misrepresent the university as promoting inhumane, anti-Semitic, fascist and Nazi ideologies” – was “unacceptable and inflammatory.”
Al-Quds also has campuses in the Palestinian towns of Abu Dis and Al-Bireh.