November 4, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Morton A. Klein, 212-481-1500
The Zionist Organization of America has strongly criticized Dr. Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania, for not only allowing entrance to her Halloween party of Saad Saadi, a guest dressed as an Arab suicide bomber; but also posing with him for a photograph. Photographs mounted on Saadi’s website show him wearing a Palestinian Arab keffiyat (headress), a plastic dynamite belt strapped to his chest and a toy machine gun. Saadi carrying out a mock killing of a hostage while supposedly reading from the Quran, and posing with a young child pointing a toy gun, entitled ‘Influencing a future Muhajideen’ (Democracy Project, November 2).
In a letter to Dr. Gutmann, ZOA President Morton A. Klein, Chairman of ZOA Board, Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Chairman of Executive Committee, Dr. Alan Mazurek, and Treasurer Henry Schwartz wrote, “we are frankly shocked and appalled by your gross error of judgment? How is it possible that you tolerated the presence at your party of someone dressed as a suicide bomber and lend credibility to this symbol of the radical Islamic terror war against the West by happily posing with him. Would you have done the same if he had come dressed as the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan?
“Dr. Gutmann, your posing with him only lends some legitimacy while minimizing and trivializing the horrors of these vicious, heartless suicide killers of thousands of men, women and children in Israel, Iraq, Turkey, Morocco, Spain, England and elsewhere.
“In this day and age, when we are involved in an international war against radical Islamic terrorism we should never make light of this threat against the civilized nations of the world. This episode also has wider ramifications. It may indicate that in some university circles, dressing up as a Muslim suicide bomber is acceptable, presumably because of the uncritical and warped sympathy and support many in the academy are giving to the Palestinian Arabs. The sympathy of these people would be better directed to the Israeli victims of suicide bombers, not the Palestinian society that produces, praises, promotes and honors them in their media, mosques, schools and youth camps.
“Dr. Gutmann, in your inaugural address as UPenn President, you said that “Ignorance and hatred create murderous schisms that show no sign of narrowing. “It is hatred that creates suicide bombers and it is ignorance, among other things, that allows people to attend costume parties dressed as suicide bombers. We call upon you to take a stand against hatred and ignorance by publicly apologizing for permitting someone dressed as a suicide bomber to appear at your party and for posing for a photograph with that person.”
* * *
The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.