Say No To Marty (And Yes To Brandeis)

In 2009, Brandeis University awarded Marty Peretz its Alumni Achievement Award. He’s featured in the Alumni Snapshots section of our website, under a heading praising him for “Leading the Intellectual Inquiry”. He’s the editor-in-chief of the New Republic, and we use his name repeatedly to promote the university. So what has he done recently to justify this recognition?

But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.

Peretz published these vile words in a September 4th column about American attitudes towards Muslims. This is the most shocking passage, but the whole thing is worth reading, if you can stomach it. Basically, Peretz posits that, despite polling evidence to the contrary, there is a vast reservoir of anti-Muslim sentiment among Americans. Furthermore, this hatred is completely justifiable because Muslims apparently do not care about the terrorist actions carried out by the fanatical fringes of their faith community. The article is one of the most disgusting pieces of writing I’ve seen from a supposedly serious journalistic source.

Unfortunately, it’s also par for the course for Peretz, who has made bigotry a cornerstone of his career as a journalist. Earlier this year, he gave us this gem while writing about the War in Iraq:

Frankly, I couldn’t quite imagine any venture requiring trust with Arabs turning out especially well. This is, you will say, my prejudice. But some prejudices are built on real facts, and history generally proves me right. Go ahead, prove me wrong.

In another column, he informs us that:

…Palestine will be a wretched society, cruel, belligerent, intolerant, fearing, with no real justice (or justice system), and no internal peace.

To me, Peretz’s connection with Brandeis is an embarrassment, not a point of pride. Using his name to promote Brandeis is a betrayal of our values and can only serve to repel the type of student that we should be trying to attract. However, this bond also gives us the unique opportunity to call out Peretz from his home, to join together as a community and forcefully reject his brand of demagoguery. That’s why members of the Brandeis community are circulating a petition and calling for a public apology from Peretz. Visit www.fromBrandeistoMarty.com and add your voice; if we get 500 signatures, we’ll send it to the New Republic and demand that Peretz retract his call to hate.

Our university was founded to combat persecution against an underpowered religious minority. Marty Peretz may not appreciate what that responsibility means, but most of us do. Sign the petition; say no to Marty, and yes to Brandeis.