Friday, March 31, 2006

Exposé on Jewish role in US policy is disowned by Harvard University

Richard Beeston:

HARVARD UNIVERSITY is distancing itself from a report by one of its senior academics that accuses the Jewish lobby in America of subverting US foreign policy in Israel’s interest.

After a furious outcry from prominent American Jews, Harvard has removed its logo from the study and disowned any responsibility for the views put forward in the working paper, released two weeks ago.

Yesterday it confirmed that Stephen Walt, the co-author of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, will be stepping down in June as academic dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government to become an ordinary professor.

Professor Walt and John Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, caused a storm of protest when they published their report, which argued that America’s interests were being manipulated by the pro-Israel lobby, using a network of politicians, journalists and academics. It said that the Jewish lobby was a key factor behind President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and cautioned that the US could be drawn into conflicts against Israel’s other enemies in the region.

No one disputes that the Jewish lobby is an influential force in US politics and that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) is one of the most powerful organisations in Washington. Aipac is described in the report as “a de facto agent of a foreign government (that) has a stranglehold on the US Congress”. It also challenges the need for America to give Israel $3 billon (£1.73 billion) in aid every year, worth about $500 for every Israeli citizen. It argues that Israel’s critics are routinely branded anti-Semites.

Professor Walt said yesterday that he and his co-author stood by their paper and welcomed “serious scholarly discussion of its arguments and evidence”. Instead, they have provoked an emotional and angry response, including criticism from other scholars at Harvard.

Marvin Kalb, a member of the Kennedy School, said that the report contained factual errors and failed to meet basic academic standards.

Alan Dershowitz, the famous Harvard criminal lawyer, denounced the report as ignorant propaganda, and said that he was writing a paper to refute its claims.

Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat congressman from New York, accused the authors of finding “Jewish conspirators under every bed and controlling every major American institution”.

The report states: “Pressure from Israel and the [Jewish] lobby was not only a factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical... the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure.

Equally worrying, the lobby’s campaign for regime change in Iran and Syria could lead the US to attack those countries, with potentially disastrous effects.”

Mission Improbable

Global Divide on Israel Lobby Study

US professors accused of being liars and bigots over essay on pro-Israeli lobby

The Lobby Strikes Back

Stephen Walt to step down as head oh Harvard's Kennedy School of Government?


At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and disowned any responsibility for the views put forward in the working paper"

Since when does a university itself, as an institution, assume "responsibility" -- whatever that means in this case -- for the scholarly work of its "academics"? Was the work factually inaccurate? Or are the drawn conclusions the problem? Normally if there was concern on the part of the Harvard administration (and why?) you'd think the appropriate thing to would be to issue a terse statement reminding anyone reading the report that its conclusions do not necessarily represent the views of Harvard.

One would think.

However it is apropos that the brouhaha surrouning this piece in a way serves to support its conclusions.

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After a furious outcry from prominent American Jews, Harvard has removed its logo from the study and disowned any responsibility for the views put forward in the working paper

Would these "prominent American Jews" happen to be supporters of Israel or is it anti-Semitic to even ask?


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