The Arab-American Institute (AAI) is set to honor NYU President and fanatic Zionist John Sexton at its upcoming annual gala on April 29, 2015. AAI President Jim Zogby, winner of the ikhras shoe-of-the-month award, will be presenting Sexton with an “Award for Individual Achievement.” Sexton has come out in strong opposition to the growing boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign (BDS) against the Israeli settler colony, specifically the academic boycott of Israeli institutions. Sexton is also known for leading the effort to silence Palestine solidarity activism on the NYU campus. It was also under Sexton’s leadership that the loud voices condemning BDS under the guise of defending “academic freedom” fell silent when Israel banned a Palestinian from traveling to the US to participate in its own “Paths to Peace” program. Despite his support for Israeli repression, opposition to BDS, and failure to defend academic freedom Zogby describes Sexton as “a man who combines rare qualities of academic leadership with a keen commitment to global education.”
Zogby must have been impressed with Sexton’s “commitment to global education” after he refused to condemn academic repression in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where NYU maintains a campus in Abu-Dhabi. For Sexton, academic freedom is, at best, very selective and can easily be dispensed with under pressure from pro-Israel groups in the US or after receiving large donations from an Arab city-state ruled by a repressive monarchy that denies academic freedom and the most basic of civil and political rights.
The presence of an NYU campus in Abu-Dhabi was in all likelihood a factor in Zogby’s decision to “honor” Sexton at his annual “Gibran Gala.” Despite a strong recent challenge from Hussein Ibish, Zogby remains the UAE ruling family’s chief propagandist within the Arab-American community and the UAE embassy, along with the Saudi Arabian embassy and Saudi Aramco, is one of the main underwriters of his annual “Gibran gala.” Zogby made sure to mention NYU- Abu Dhabi (or “Abew-Dobby” as he calls it) in Sexton’s brief bio provided on the AAI website.
Zogby’s AAI is free to “honor” anyone it chooses at its annual flag ship event, but when his one-man shop does so in the name of the Arab-American community he cannot expect Arab-Americans to remain silent. Once again we feel compelled to remind Zogby that he does not speak for or represent any significant segment within the Arab-American community. And while he may “honor” anti-Palestinian, pro-Zionist figures we will pay homage to the victims of Zionist colonialism and honor all those who stand with the Palestine cause.