In a 20,000 word tour-de-force, Forbes Contributing Editor Richard Behar on Tuesday slammed the president of New York University, where he graduated from, in 1982, saying he was ashamed of his alma mater for its tepid response to the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli universities.
While 190 university presidents have condemned the boycott as flying in the face of the goals of academia, Behar accused NYU President John Sexton of not going far enough, with a “short, terse and quite vanilla” response, suggesting that he was trying “to have his cake and eat it too,” because of the three NYU academics and one PhD student serving on the ASA’s 18-member executive committee, led by NYU Professor Lisa Duggan, its newly-elected president.
Behar also revealed Duggan’s support for charges to be dropped against a terrorist named Rasmea Yousef Odeh, who is accused of lying about her past in order to gain U.S. citizenship in 1994.
According to the federal indictment in Detroit, Odeh played a role in planting a bomb in a crowded supermarket in Jerusalem in 1969 that killed two Israelis and injured many more. Odeh is also alleged to have played a role in a second bombing that damaged the British Consulate. The terror acts were carried out in the name the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.
Behar wrote that Odeh was given a life sentence by an Israeli military court, but served only ten years before being released in a prisoner exchange for an Israeli soldier kidnapped in Lebanon in 1978. When Odeh applied for U.S. citizenship in 1994, she lied three times on her application, Behar said, “falsely stating that she lived in Jordan continuously since 1948, that she was never charged with a crime, and that she was never imprisoned for one.”
Duggan asked her Twitter followers to sign a statement demanding Odeh’s release: “Read the story and sign the petition!,” she tweeted.
“Drop the Charges against Rasmea Yousef Odeh.” Duggan is signer #427.
Why is Duggan so anxious to get out of prison a woman who killed Israeli civilians? Are their lives worth less to her than Arab civilians or European civilians or white American civilians? Why would Duggan want this odious criminal on the streets of the Chicago suburb where she has long lived? How many other terrorists are living comfortably on our soil after falsifying their immigration applications? Would Duggan ask for freedom for all of them if they were arrested and indicted? Perhaps she has no faith in American law enforcement. Nor faith in a judge or jury to adjudicate it. She has decided the case on her own, even prior to a trial.
As part of his takedown of the ASA leadership, Behar found that none of its board members were experts in Middle East studies.