Academic Integrity Dying on Harvard’s Ivy League Vine

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On this past March 2nd and 3rd, Harvard University hosted the now infamous “One-State Solution” conference, recently analyzed and critiqued by the present writer.  The character and content of the conference, described as an anti-Israel hate fest by Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz, generated considerable controversy, to which the Harvard Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood responded with a limp and lackadaisical cookie-cutter disclaimer:

“Let me emphasize that Harvard University and the Harvard Kennedy School in no way endorse or support the apparent position of the student organizers or any participants. We would never take a position on specific policy solutions to achieving peace in this region, and certainly would not endorse any policy that some argue could lead to the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel.”

But wait! “…not endorse any policy that some argue could lead to the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel?”  How can Dean Ellwood make such a statement?  Is he not aware of Harvard’s Middle East Outreach Center?

The center’s stated mission is to promote “a critical understanding of the diversity of the Middle East region;” but its activities and its director display a dogmatic adherence to the polemical, often counter-factual Palestinian version of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Its director, Paul Beran, is an activist in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement; and its reading list favors anti-Zionist writings of such polemicists as Edward Said and Ilan Pappe. It promotes the anti-Israel propaganda film “Occupation 101,” which features the one-sided and often mendacious rants of well known anti-Israel personalities such as Dr. Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk.  Moreover, Center speakers on the Arab‑Israeli conflict have been accused of focusing singularly on a Palestinian perspective while dismissing or ignoring the Israeli position.

Beran promotes the BDS movement when he lectures, and has forged bonds   between his outreach center and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an activist group designated by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as one of the ten most anti-Israel organizations in the USA.

He has promoted the anti-Semitic lie of Jewish or Israeli control of the American Government, urged Harvard to consider former Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz a war criminal, and when speaking to a Presbyterian audience compared Israel’s sovereignty over the West Bank to the Roman occupation of Judea at the turn of the millennium, asking his Christian audience: “How would Joseph and Mary get to Bethlehem with the now 25-foot high Separation Wall in their way?”

The Center’s activities[i] include educational outreach to local Boston high schools, and one of the texts used by the Center in high school outreach programs is The Arab World Studies Notebook, a seriously outdated text (last revised in 1998) which according to numerous studies[ii] is replete with factual errors and misrepresentations about Middle East history.  It  “….frequently steps over the line from teaching about (the Muslim) religion to….proselytizing for it,” and it uses polemical, one-sided language and even outright lies (such as falsely accusing Israeli soldiers of murdering Arab women and children in cold blood) to condemn Israel and depict it as a genocidal aggressor state, in order to generate anti-Israel sentiment in its high school audiences.

When challenged about the book’s egregious claim that indigenous North American Algonquins were converted to Islam by Muslim trans-oceanic voyagers to the New World five centuries before Columbus, the authors offered no defense or rebuttal.  They quietly removed the passages from the textbook.

Massachusetts education officials were shocked by the Center’s program and by its textbook, and denounced it as an attempt to foist a “manipulative” and “distorted” political agenda on unsuspecting teachers.

And “manipulative and distorted” don’t even begin to describe the Center’s programs on the Israel-Arab conflict.  Director Beran’s anti-Israel animus is well documented, as is his wife’s, Hilary Rantisi, a Palestinian-American who serves as director of the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School.  She has been active with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, a Palestinian Christian Arab group operating in the West Bank that preaches the demonization of Israel to Christian audiences world-wide and compares Israel’s defensive actions against Arab terrorism to Nazi Germany’s oppression and slaughter of Jews.

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  • Steven

    I understand your upset. Have you read this article by Dershowitz? It might provide some clarification

    • Roger

      I don't like Dershowitz as a rule. I didn't like the article. But he did have a point.

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    You'll find them in the darkest recesses of the human???mind they call them genetically
    deformed opinions.Hating Jews is in today just like in the 1930ths.

  • David R

    "So they hanged Haman on the very gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai…(Esther chap.7 verse 10)

    I'm not worried for Israel and it's blessed people the Jews…they are under Divine protection. I'm more concerned about universities like Harvard and the way they are not only permitting, but condoning unchecked hatred within its walls of learning. Instead of helping to build a better and more tolerant society, they are constructing a Jew-exterminating gallows which will eventually be used for them, when the God of the blessed Jews curses these institutions led by haughty, biased cowards.
    And to think that we so freely criticise the Islamic extremists for brainwashing their people and inciting hatred towards us. What hypocrites…I would never send my kids to Harvard, even if I could afford their exorbitant tuition.

  • richard sherman

    Just as Heiddigger and Gertrude Stein enthusiasticly supported European racism, today 99% of college professors support Islamic racism with its foundational antisemitism.

    • John Mac

      Heiddigger was'nt so much racist as conservative. Anti-comunist anti-popconsumerist.
      The blight on so much academia today is that pathological sickness of political correctness…The west is bad the rest – other- good. the west the sinner the 'other' sinned against. University is as it were destroying its own foundations…in the origins of western civilisation.
      Its so hard to get a good classical education these days!!!
      ( Some are so pc that heidegger is only found in footnotes )

    • Choi

      Yes and they also SUPPORTED Hitler and the Nazis and Stalin and the Communists.
      Academia is the POISON TREE that charges HUGE$$$$ to Poison their students' minds.
      DAMN Academia.

  • JOHN

    Harvard, and the University system in general, is a colossal fallure. once the radical fanatic's took over, they have been produceing crowds of functional idiot's. The once great universities that produced generations of advanced minds that have benifited society have, at least since the end of WWII, been reduced to Indoctrination centers.

  • Roger

    This may be a shocker. But when a black professor of race relations couldn't tolerate a white police officer long enough for the officer to do his job, I knew Harvard was no longer a 'great' university.

    • Choi

      Harvard has got the world BULLSHEEETED!
      It's a CESSPOOL.

  • Jim

    a new Mideast interpretation of an old phrase " One Hand (Sunni) hates the other hand (Shiites) and both hands
    hate the Jews"

  • aspacia

    I fear another Jewish Holocaust.

  • Saltire

    It is very sad……for a university with the motto, Veritas. Harvard maybe should consider changing it.