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.”

Read more at JNS

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


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy