After Taking a Stand, Harvard Surrenders to the Israel-Haters

Jan. 24 2023

While Minnesota’s Hamline University has stood behind its decision abruptly to fire a professor for showing students medieval Muslim paintings of Mohammad, Harvard University’s Kennedy School quickly reversed its decision not to grant a prestigious fellowship to the career Israel-basher Kenneth Roth. Unlike the adjunct professor of art history who lost her job in the name of equity, Roth—recently retired from a long career as head of Human Rights Watch—was well positioned to conduct a campaign in the press against Harvard, and to paint himself as a victim of nefarious pro-Israel “donors.” Jonathan Tobin comments:

While Roth is fêted in intellectual circles as a brave truth-teller and human-rights advocate, he is anything but. A veteran Israel-hater, Roth hijacked an organization that was once respected as an impartial, non-partisan opponent of tyrannical regimes around the world. Under his leadership, it became part of an international leftist movement that twisted the concept of human rights into what was primarily a euphemism for championing the Arab and Islamist war against the existence of the state of Israel.

Though not entirely silent about other human-rights offenders, Human Rights Watch became . . . part of an international “lawfare” campaign conducted in forums such as the UN Human Rights Council. Roth . . . is also a terrible hypocrite who took $470,000 from a Saudi billionaire by promising not to advocate for LGBTQ rights in the Muslim world. But the issue here is bigger than the travesty of a figure like Roth being given such prestigious honors by schools viewed as the gold standard of learning.

The willingness of the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and other liberal outlets to skew their coverage on the issue by falsely describing Roth as a “critic” of Israel is equally depressing. Israel’s government, like that of any other country, may be criticized for this or that policy. But those who label it an “apartheid state” and seek to haul it into international kangaroo-court tribunals are not “critics.”

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Read more at JNS

More about: Academia, Freedom of Speech, Harvard, Human Rights Watch, Israel on campus

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy