Misinformed Moderation: He Was Thrown Under a Bus

Mohammed Dajani

Professor Mohammed Dajani

I’m impressed with the papal initiative, inviting Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas to a prayer summit. I’d like to believe that something good will come from it, even if I’m not sure what it is.

A tragically misinformed Christian Science Monitor staff-ed tried to make a similar argument. I say misinformed, because the one example of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation it cites was over-taken by events:

In March, a group of 27 Palestinian students bravely visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland, hoping to understand how the Holocaust became the basis for the creation of modern Israel. They were led by Mohammad Dajani Daoudi, a professor at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem who advocates a spirit of conciliation and moderation in Israel-Palestinian disputes.

Once a fighter for the Palestinian cause, Dr. Dajani changed his views in the 1990s after witnessing the kindness of Israeli doctors in treating the illnesses of his parents. “I became confused about my enemy, who did their best to help my father and my mother,’’ he told The New York Times. In his academic courses, Mr. Dajani teaches the virtues of the three Abrahamic religions.

On the day before the Vatican gathering, Haaretz broke the story that Professor Dajani resigned in the face of mounting pressure from fellow academics.

Professor Dajani told Haaretz he felt he had no choice after the university authorities refused to back up their private assurances with a display of public support after what he described as a campaign of “incitement” against him from some members of the university faculty . . .

Dajani submitted a letter of resignation on May 18, hoping the university authorities would reject it and denounce the campaign against him. Instead, he received a response from the university personnel department that his resignation would take effect on June 1 . . .

Dajanai said he decided to resign after his students were told that university officials had played an active part in the campaign against him, including his expulsion from the staff union – an organization he never joined in the first place.

The Auschwitz visit was actually part of a two-way program in which Israeli students visited the Deheishe refugee camp near Bethlehem. Nobody batted an eye over that.

Friendship and reconciliation are worth striving for, but as long as the Palestinians who do so are thrown under a bus, what are Israelis to conclude from this?

(Image of Dajani via YouTube/Al Jazeera English)

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