Israel haters among students and faculty at Brandeis are mounting an all-out campaign against the university's selection of Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, as commencement speaker, going so far as to threaten violent tactics to disrupt the event if Oren dares show his face.
Yes, this by-now familiar scenario on North American campus has reached Brandeis -- named after Louis Brandeis, one of the most renowned justices and the first Jew to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. The same Brandeis, who also served as president of the Zionist Organization of America. The symbolism of what's at stake couldn't be more obvious.
The campus newspaper has editorialized against having Oren, a distinguished academic in his own right, as commencement speaker. Also joining the anti-Oren chorus is the campus chapter of J Street, which describes itself as a "pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby." The national J Street office has separated itself from the anti-Oren campaign of its Brandeis chapter, but hasn't taken any steps to remove the J Street imprimatur from attacks on the ambassador's right to address the graduates and their families.
Anti-Israel radicals meanwhile bombard the campus with full-throated slanders that Oren is guilty of "war crimes" and must not be allowed to grace the commencement podium -- hallowed free-speech rights to the contrary notwithstanding.
Their objective is the same as the disgraceful "victory" of similar rabble-rousers at University of California at Irvine, who repeatedly shouted down Oren when he spoke there.
It's all part of a national harassment and intimidation campaign on college and university campuses to delegitimize Israel. So far, because of administration passivity, the anti-Israel provocateurs seem to have the upper hand.
Brandeis -- because of the symbolism of its very name -- is about to become the latest and most critical battlefield between civil academic discourse and the Israel-hating agenda of goon squads with their no-holds-barred tactics to silence public voices in support of the Jewish state -- voices like that of Louis Brandeis.