Jeff Jacoby

A fog of political correctness usually keeps events like the Al-Quds rally from getting much attention in the Western media. But this one, first reported by veteran British journalist Tom Gross, made news last week when it led Brandeis University into suspending a longstanding academic partnership with the Palestinian school. It wasn't the grotesque rally itself that provoked Brandeis to pull the plug, though that should have been sufficient: One of Islamic Jihad's many innocent victims was a 20-year-old Brandeis undergraduate, Alisa Flatow, who was one of eight people murdered in 1995 when an Islamic Jihad bomber blew up the bus in which they were riding.

What finally forced the issue was the refusal of Sari Nusseibeh, the president of Al-Quds and a well-known Palestinian intellectual, to condemn the hate-drenched rally even after being asked to do so by Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence. Nusseibeh replied instead with an outrageous letter that denounced "vilification campaigns by Jewish extremists," and suggested their only purpose in raising the issue was to "prevent Palestinians from achieving our freedom."

Nusseibeh is often described as a Palestinian "moderate." But in a culture as poisoned with vitriolic anti-Semitism as the Palestinian Authority, moderation doesn't go very far. It doesn't even go as far as repudiating the Nazi-like salutes and tableaux of dead Israelis during a public rally on an East Jerusalem college campus. Not even to retain the goodwill of an institution as dovish and liberal as Brandeis, a Jewish-sponsored university that was proud of its relationship with Al-Quds.

The genocidal values of Islamic Jihad are no anomaly. They are the values of Hamas and the PLO.

They are the values that led the Arab League to spurn the UN's proposed two-state solution in 1947, and to announce that it would crush the newborn Jewish state in "a war of extermination and a momentous massacre." They are the values that induced Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the leader of the Palestinians in the 1930s, to form an alliance with Adolf Hitler, eagerly collaborating with the führer in the hope of importing the Final Solution to the Jews of the Middle East.

"Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany," Husseini wrote in his journal, "was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world." He asked Hitler "for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem … according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of itsJews."

There may have been no actual swastikas at the Islamic Jihad rally, but the lethal values represented by the swastika have been a part of the Palestinian national movement for the better part of a century. They still are, however much people of goodwill might wish otherwise. So long as even famous Palestinian "moderates" cannot bring themselves to bravely defy those values, Palestinian sovereignty will remain a reckless gamble — and peace as far off as ever.

Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby is an Op-Ed writer for the Boston Globe, a radio political commentator, and a contributing columnist for