Brandeis University, founded in 1948, is the only Jewish-sponsored yet nonsectarian institution of higher education in the United States of America. It is named for Justice Louis D. Brandeis of the Supreme Court of the United States. was instrumental in its founding. Albert Einstein was closely associated with plans for what the press called "a Jewish-sponsored non-quota university," from August 19, 1946, with the announcement of the formation of the Albert Einstein Foundation for Higher Learning, Inc. until June 22, 1947, when he withdrew support and barred the use of his name by the foundation.
While it is a recognized research university, it makes a point of having interdisciplinary and research opportunities available to undergraduates, in its liberal arts oriented program.
It is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.
It organizes major research by groups of centers and institute:
- International Centers
- Center for German and European Studies
- Crown Center for Middle East Studies
- Gordon Center for American Public Policy
- International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life
- The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism
- Schusterman Center for Israel Studies
- Jacob and Libby Goodman Institute for the Study of Zionism and Israel
- Jewish Studies Centers
- Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies
- Fisher-Bernstein Institute for Jewish Philanthropy and Leadership
- Hadassah-Brandeis Institute
- Institute for Informal Jewish Education
- Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education
- Steinhardt Social Research Institute
- The Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry
- The Bernard G. and Rhoda G. Sarnat Center for the Study of Anti-Jewishness
- Science Centers
- Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory
- National Center for Behavioral Genomics
- Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center
- The Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology
- The Benjamin and Mae Volen National Center for Complex Systems
- Women's Centers
- Women’s Studies Research Center
- Brandeis International Business School Centers
- Asia-Pacific Center for Economics and Business
- Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurship
- Perlmutter Institute for Global Business Leadership
- Rosenberg Institute of Global Finance
- Heller School for Social Policy and Management Centers
- Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy
- Center for Youth and Communities
- Lurie Institute for Disability Policy
- Nathan and Toby Starr Center for Mental Retardation
- Institute on Assets and Social Policy
- Schneider Institutes for Health Policy
- Institute for Behavioral Health
- Institute on Healthcare Systems
- Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy
- Independent/Affiliated Centers
- Lemberg Children's Center
- The National Center for Jewish Film
Brandeis has produced much research on Zionism, at, for example, its Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry.. It deals with the subject from a scholarly standpoint, and has no sectarian position on Zionism; the current university president, Jehuda Reinharz, was a past director of Tauber.
In the list above, there are 12 centers dealing with some aspect of Jewish culture, and some with Zionism, Israel, or antisemitism specifically. It might be assumed, therefore, that the academic community has some knowledge of the subject, without requiring the advice of outside watchdog groups.
Antisemitism and anti-Zionism
In 2004, the university held a symposium, "Convergence and Divergence: Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism in Historical Perspective", cosponsored with Tel Aviv University and the American Jewish Committee to address questions including:
- Has the existence of Israel ushered in a new chapter in the history of antisemitism?
- Has antisemitism become synonymous with anti-Zionism?
- is anti-Zionism merely a cover for anti-Jewish attitudes? On March 24-25, an international symposium, will attempt to answer these and other critical questions. The symposium, being conducted in cooperation with Tel Aviv University and the American Jewish Committee, will be held at the Hassenfeld Conference Center on the Brandeis University campus.
Role in the Middle East
One view suggests its work to bring Arabs to the campus is directed at its own approach to coexistence in the Middle East. Officially a 'non-sectarian, Jewish-sponsored university,' most of its principal donors are Jewish, and some members of the larger circle of alumni and community members have already registered their displeasure...'We need a first-rate center for Middle East Studies that is not pro or con anything,' Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz said in a Feb. 27 article in The Jerusalem Post, an English-language Israeli daily. Wjen it started a seminar with a Palestinian lecturer, Khalil Shikaki, the New York Sun linked him with "Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an insurgent group that has taken responsibility for dozens of attacks on Israeli civilians. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) responded to the claims by threatening to ask alumni to financially boycott Brandeis if it did not conduct a full investigation into Shikaki."
University President Reinharz responded to ZOA with a February 2 letter saying "In a February 7 letter to the ZOA, Reinharz called Shikaki an esteemed Palestinian pollster and peace advocate, and wrote, 'the ZOA's charges against Professor Shikaki constitute a form of Jewish McCarthyism — accusing and judging him before any credible evidence has been put forward.' He added that the university's namesake, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, served as the ZOA's honorary president when it was first established and 'would be saddened and distressed to see the depths to which the ZOA has fallen.'"
In April 2006, ZOA criticized Brandeis for forming, with Ford Foundation sponsorship, a relationship with Al-Quds University, a Palestinian educational institution in eastern Jerusalem, "whose website denies the Jewish historical connection with Jerusalem and promotes other falsehoods...Brandeis’ International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, which has coordinated Al-Quds visitors programs, also includes Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh on its advisory board. Nusseibeh is often falsely presented as a Palestinian moderate but, as ZOA revealed in October 2002, Nusseibeh has actually demonized Israelis, praised jihad fighters and justified the killing of so-called Palestinian 'collaborators.' " Militant Islam Monitor, in 2008, wrote
Brandeis' outreach to Al Quds is extraordinarily ill-considered, antithetical to everything that Brandeis claims to stand for. This is made especially compelling given the university's Jewish roots and its motto which is, "Truth even unto its innermost parts." This exchange has already caused substantial harm, providing undeserved legitimacy to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. It also serves as a conduit, allowing people of the ilk of Mustafa Abu Sway access to the American university system, delivered with Brandeis' seal of approval.
This program has no place at Brandeis or any American university. It must cease.
- Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, Brandeis University
- Daniel Estrin (April 2006), "The Brandeis Laboratory: Can the University Create Peace in the Middle East?", New Voices
- Morton A. Klein (4 April 2006), ZOA Criticizes Brandeis University For Relationship With Al-Quds University, Which Denies Jewish Connection To Jerusalem & More
- William Mayer and Beila Rabinowitz (27 August 2008), Brandeis University's Partnership With Hamas Linked, Al Quds University Underwritten By Ford Foundation