What’s worse, refusing to offer an apology or misdirecting an apology? Most of us, I would think have been involved in the former – either being the “refuser” or continuing to hope against hope for that apology that is long overdue us – while all too few of us have given thought about the latter.
Earlier this month, the Women’s Resource Center at San Diego State University, sent out a newsletter with a poster of Leila Khaled, who as a teenager gained notoriety for the role she played in the PFLP or Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Back then, Palestinian terrorists were in the airline hijacking business. Ms. Khaled was part of a group of thugs who hijacked a TWA flight in the fall of 1969 and unsuccessfully attempted to hijack an El Al flight months later in 1970. Although San Diego State President, Adela de la Torre has remained silent, the following apology was promptly issued in a campus-wide email: “The image and its implied framing are harmful and hateful towards members of our Jewish community and counter to our values of encouraging a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.”
Excuse me! The image of a criminal and its implied framing are in no way harmful and hateful towards members of our Jewish community. The image of a criminal and its implied framing are harmful and hateful to civilized society. Members of the Jewish community are not due any apology. Air travelers are due an apology. Copies of that apology, along with the repulsive poster, should be displayed at security checkpoints at airports throughout the world. Thanks to thugs like Leila Khaled who saw a noble cause in endangering the lives of passengers who meant her people no harm, millions of Americans have been treated like criminals for decades prior to heading to their designated departure gate, as they are made to remove their shoes and belts and empty their pockets and are x-rayed in order to travel the “friendly skies.”
An apology is due Leila Khaled for giving an abominable, dangerous miscreant the impression that she is a heroine. If there were any justice in this world, Leila Khaled would be languishing in a British prison. Instead, Leila was liberated along with other Palestinian thugs who made this world a much more dangerous place as part of a Palestinian ploy; where Leila’s cohorts took hostages and threatened to murder those hostages if Leila and other Palestinian “freedom fighters” were not released from incarceration. By publicizing such a poster, the Women’s Resource Center at San Diego did a terrible injustice by according admiration to an unrepentant criminal deserving condemnation. In doing so, the Women’s Resource Center may be creating an identity crisis for Leila Khaled.
An apology is due HaShem for distorting the ageless, decent values of right and wrong, praiseworthy and repugnant, that were handed down to us humans. It was the great sage Rabbi Elazar who said, “One who becomes compassionate to the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate.” Yet, that’s precisely what the Women’s Resource Center at San Diego University has done. It has shown compassion to an unrepentant terrorist who placed innocent lives in harm’s way, and transformed her into a woman of valor who is to serve as a role model. It has shown cruelty to innocents who mean no harm to others.
It would be interesting to see if the Women’s Resource Center at San Diego ever sent out a poster of Josefa Rodriguez, who was accused of robbing and murdering a trader named John Savage with an axe, only to be exonerated by the Texas legislature 122 years later. It would be interesting to see if the Women’s Resource Center at San Diego University ever sent out a poster of Lizzie Adler or Sonia Wisotsky or scores of other young women who perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. But it appears that the Women’s Resource Center had no qualms whatsoever in sending out a poster of Leila Khaled, who ought to be regarded as an embarrassment to humanity. And then to add insult to injury, an apology is offered clearly showing that the Woman’s Resource Center is completely unaware of the travesty it committed. Pathetic, doesn’t even begin to describe the lack of judgement and understanding. Until those at the Women’s Resource Center realize the perversity of their actions followed by their absurd apology, what they did remains unforgivable.