Harvard Hires an Anti-Semitic Apologist for the Islamic Republic

Harvard University’s Kennedy School recently gave a semester-long journalism fellowship to one Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian blogger committed to defending the regime in Tehran—who is also fond of looking for signs of malignant Jewish influence. To add insult to injury, the Kennedy School is falsely billing Derakhshan as a dissident. Sohrab Ahmari explains:

Derakhshan has spent years viciously assailing real dissidents, and he has a long record of public statements in support of the [Iranian] regime, its leadership and security apparatus, and its conspiratorial and anti-Semitic worldview.

Start with the anti-Semitism. In December 2015, amid the popular frenzy over Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Derakhshan took to his English-language Twitter account to note that the villain of the movie was identified as the “supreme leader,” which is also the title of Iran’s ruling theocrat. Wrote Derakhshan [about the film’s director]: “A supreme leader in the new Star Wars? What is the very pro-Israel J.J. Abrams hinting at?”

The tweet played on the canard, rampant among Iranian Islamists, that Jews use Hollywood influence to plant pro-Israel and anti-Iran messages in the minds of global audiences. In the real world, there is no evidence that J.J. Abrams is “very pro-Israel”—other than his Jewish last name, of course. . . .

Then there are the odes, published on his blog, to the Iranian regime. In June 2007, Derakhshan declared that “I’m proud to be Iranian, not because of Cyrus [the Great], but because of Khomeini, a true anti-colonial leader who created the only true postcolonial state in the world, [the] Islamic Republic of Iran.” That would be Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, who executed thousands of secular dissidents, issued a death fatwa against the British novelist Salman Rushdie, and transformed Iran into an Islamist totalitarian state. Derakhshan has similarly warm feelings for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the U.S.-designated Iranian terror army that, among other things, has been spearheading the slaughter in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad. . . .

Most egregiously, Derakhshan has accused prominent Iranian dissidents and thinkers of spying for the U.S.—while the regime imprisoned these figures.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Harvard, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs

Palestinian Acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State Must Be a Prerequisite to Further Negotiations

Oct. 19 2018

In 1993, in the early days of the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat accepted the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But neither it nor its heir, the Palestinians Authority, has ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Robert Barnidge explains why this distinction matters:

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the [UN] General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab state, the Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem.”

Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution—in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, [the precursor to the Israeli government], also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights—it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. [Instead], the PLO [has been] playing a double game. . . . It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a people, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national liberation movement that it is.

The U.S. government, Barnidge concludes, “should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state” and refuse to “press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.”

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Peace Process, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat