Amid Threats, Jewish Blogger Returns To Brandeis. Did Daniel Mael’s right-wing, pro-Israel politics play a role in backlash against him?
Hannah Dreyfus, JEWISH WEEK
When Daniel Mael, a 22-year-old Brandeis senior, returned to campus for his final semester last week, he was advised by university police not to walk anywhere alone.
My lifestyle on campus has to be altered to ensure my safety,” said Mael, a Jewish student originally from Newton, Mass., who met with Brandeis security officials over winter break to discuss details. “We’re still figuring out the specifics.”
These added security precautions were set in motion after an article Mael wrote shortly before winter break sparked outrage among the Brandeis student body and beyond. According to Mael, he and his family have received threats of physical violence since.
The article, published on the conservative news website Truth Revolt, criticized fellow Brandeis student Khadijah Lynch’s inflammatory tweets after the funeral of two slain New York police officers.
“I have no sympathy for the nypd officers who were murdered today,” tweeted Lynch, a junior who served in a student leadership position in the African and Afro-American studies department. Lynch has since stepped down from the role and made her previously public twitter account private.
Lynch’s tweets went on to lambast America (“F– this f–ing country,” read one) and talk about violence (“i need to get my gun license. asap” and “amerikkka needs an intifada. enough is enough”).
As the controversy grew, some students pushed for Lynch to be expelled while others backed her, defending her right to free speech and criticizing Mael for placing her in danger by publicizing her tweets.
In an email to the student body, Michael Piccione, a member of the 2014-15 student conduct board, accused Mael of violating several codes of student conduct and compromising Lynch’s safety by “exposing” her tweets to Mael’s “largely white supremacist following.” He called on the Brandeis community to “condemn the threatening and hateful comments she [Lynch] has received and stand up for the principle of social justice on which Brandeis was founded.”
Piccione also requested a “no contact order” against Mael on Dec. 28, which was briefly put into effect and prevented Mael from being in the same room with Piccione. The order has since been lifted.
Though the immediate heat following the article’s publication has subsided, the incident caused some to speculate that Mael’s staunchly pro-Israel stance played a role in backlash he received from fellow students.
“Mael getting death threats makes sense – he puts himself in the spotlight,” said Rebecca Sternberg, a junior on campus who is on the board of the Brandeis Zionist Alliance, a student group that celebrates the apolitical aspects of Israel, including art and culture.
Though Sternberg sympathizes with Mael’s pro-Israel stance, she disagreed with his “tactics.” “I have less sympathy for Mael than for Khadijah,” she said. “Khadijah didn’t try and put herself in the spotlight, she was forced into it.”
David Eden, chief administrative officer at Hillel International and a veteran editor and columnist, said, “There’s no doubt that as a high-profile …read more