Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir accepted an honorary LLB at Brandeis University last week, as pro- and anti-Zionist demonstrators stayed determinedly separate outside.
Sympathizers of the May 15th Coalition, an anti-Zionist group, and the Jewish Defense League had broken into several fist-fights in Brandeis cafeterias last week, and leaders of both groups predicted possible violence during Tuesday's convocation.
But the 250 anti-Zionists remained at the entrance to Brandeis, 1000 feet from an equally sized JDL contingent, which included demonstrators from as far away as New York.
Inside Brandeis's Spingold Theater, Meir told 850 guests gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the foundings of both Brandeis and Israel that she accepted her award as "just a chance representative of the Israeli people who have to their credit such extraordinary deeds."
"I wonder whether many people are aware that the mere fact of being a Jew and being alive and head up is already an achievement," Meir said.
Brandeis police, six carloads of state police, Israeli servicemen, and the American Secret Service collaborated on the fairly tight security for the event.
Students had begun lining up for the 425 tickets allocated them the night before distribution, and many were turned away. Invited guests included John McCormack, the recently retired speaker of the House of Representatives, and Congressman Robert Drinan (D-Mass.), who reportedly told Meir he was her "Congressman for the day."
"Someone once asked me to describe Israel in one sentence," Meir said. "I told him it was a Yemenite woman learning how to read and her husband not daring to prevent her."
"These are the accomplishments we are proud of," she said. "The military accomplishments are a very sad and tragic necessity, but the achievements we really value are the very simple ones, not the dramatic ones."
Outside, anti-Zionists denounced Israel as an imperialist aggressor, while other students carried welcoming signs.