TEL AVIV – Al-Quds University, a partner of Bard College in New York, held a ceremony celebrating the so-called martyrdom of Baha Alyan, the terrorist who killed three civilians and wounded four more in October.
The Palestinian Authority’s “High Commission for Youth and Sports” sponsored the Al-Quds event, which honored the memory of 22-year-old Alyan. He along with another terrorist, Bilal Ghanem, carried out the attack on October 13, 2015. The two boarded bus number 78 in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, and began to indiscriminatingly stab and shoot at passengers. Haviv Haim, 78, and Alon Govberg, 51, were killed that day. Two weeks later, a third victim, Richard Lakin, 76, died from his wounds. Alyan was shot and killed by an Israeli security guard at the scene, while Ghanem – a Hamas terrorist who served time in Israeli prison in 2013-2014 – was wounded.
Photos of the Al-Quds event (see below) were broadcast on Palestinian media outlets, with Arabic descriptions of the jihadi-supporting ceremony subsequently translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI.
During the ceremony, a reported 2,500 students formed a human chain “of readers and writers” under the banner of “The Baha Al-Shuhada Chain” or “the Light of the Martyrs chain,”MEMRI documented.
Participants can be seen in some of the photos wearing shirts bearing Alyan’s portrait. The Al-Quds students reportedly were asked to deposit into a box written messages honoring Alyan and other Palestinian “martyrs.”
According to MEMRI, not a single speaker at the event condemned Alyan’s deadly attack; instead, participants sought to connect the terrorist incident with Alyan’s “cultural legacy,” which they described as promoting education and free expression.
“Without education the people would not have been able to confront the occupation,” stated the terrorist’s father, Muhammad Alyan. “Baha (meaning ‘light’) is an idea, and the idea will never die. Today I have over 1,000 lights – students who are continuing in his footsteps.”
“The occupation has turned the entire Palestinian people into seekers of martyrdom,” added Muhammad Alyan.
Muhammad Al-Azraq, a student of communications at Al-Quds university, agreed, telling students that Alyan had proved that “defending the homeland required education.”
MEMRI provided background to the Al-Quds “human chain” event.
The initiator of the activity, Azzam Ahmad Anjas, said that Baha Alyan was known as “the learned martyr,” and that the event aimed to realize an idea he had voiced several years ago, to form a chain of readers along the walls of Jerusalem. In preparation for the event, Anjas said that a group of students had launched a designated Facebook page and a special hashtag to advertise the initiative and recruit participants. He also mentioned that the activity will continue in other universities in the PA territories.
Soros ties, anti-Israel groups
Al-Quds has a troubling history of ties to terror support.
In December, Israel’s Shin Bet security service announced it had arrested members of two large Hamas terrorist cells in the West Bank, who were planning mass-casualty suicide bombings and other attacks inside Israel. Most of the suspects in both cells were students at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, which is partnered with Bard College in New York. Al-Quds University in Abu Dis is located in a village bordering Jerusalem.
The Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences, located in Abu Dis, is a branch of Al-Quds that “represents the first dual-degree program between US and Palestinian institutions of higher education.”
Al-Quds Bard College is also partnered with billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The Al-Quds board of trustees has included Rashid Khalidi, who taught there for 16 years before he became the Edward Said Professor of Arab studies at Columbia University.
Khalidi, a harsh critic of Israel, was a close personal friend to Barack Obama when the two taught together at the University of Chicago. Khalidi lectured at UC until 2003, while Obama taught law there from 1993 until his election to the Senate in 2004.
Khalidi’s wife, Mona, was president of the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN. The group received financing from the Woods Fund, a Chicago non-profit where Obama served as a paid director from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002. Obama sat on the Woods Fund board alongside Bill Ayers, the unrepentant former member of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group.
Khalidi and Obama reportedly lived in nearby faculty residential zones, and the two families dined together a number of times.
In 2003, Obama reportedly provided a glowing testimonial for Khalidi when the professor left UC to take a new position at Columbia University.
Al-Quds University was partnered with Brandeis until November 2013, when a demonstration took place on campus involving “demonstrators wearing black military gear, armed with fake automatic weapons, and who marched while waving flags and raising the traditional Nazi salute.”
Brandeis suspended its partnership after Al-Quds President Sari Nusseibeh refused to issue an unequivocal condemnation of the militant demonstration. Instead, Nusseibeh condemned “extremist Jews” for exploiting the scene of a “mock military display” on the campus.
Nusseibeh went on to blame the Holocaust for Israel’s founding and an alleged “enduring Palestinian catastrophe:”
These occurrences allow some people to capitalize on events in ways that misrepresent the university as promoting inhumane, anti-Semitic, fascist, and Nazi ideologies. Without these ideologies, there would not have been the massacre of the Jewish people in Europe; without the massacre, there would not have been the enduring Palestinian catastrophe.
Bard itself has come under fire for allegedly hosting anti-Israel groups. One such organization, the International Solidarity Movement, formed a group at Bard. According to the Anti- Defamation League, Bard’s ISM in 2010 held “seven different anti-Israel events in conjunction with Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).” The ISM is known for serving as human shields to obstruct Israel’s counter-terrorism measures.
Bard also has a longstanding partnership with the Central European University (CEU), a graduate level institution located in Budapest, Hungary. CEU was founded by Soros. Spokesmen for both Bard and Al-Quds did not immediately respond to a request from Breitbart Jerusalem seeking comment.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.