In Revoking the Appointment of a Notorious Anti-Israel Obsessive, a Harvard Dean Stands on Principle

Jan. 16 2023

Few individuals have done so much to grant legitimacy to the distorted fantasies of the Jewish state’s enemies than Kenneth Roth, who presided over the transformation of Human-Rights Watch (formerly Helsinki Watch) from an institution that helped to bring down the Warsaw Pact regimes by exposing their abuses, to one that elevates the defamation of Israel above all else. This record may have been a factor in the decision of the Harvard Kennedy School dean, Douglas Elmendorf, to retract an offer of a fellowship to Roth, who recently retired from his position at Human-Rights Watch. The editors of the New York Sun place Elmendorf’s decision in the context of a larger effort to bring high standards to America’s most distinguished school of public policy:

To have made Mr. Roth a fellow would have aligned the school with those hostile to the Jewish state and thus Jews more generally. Too, it would have been an affront to the memory of the president for whom the school is named, John F. Kennedy.

Mr. Elmendorf has taken criticism for his practice of running a tight ship on personnel. A former governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, withdrew from a fellowship amid student complaints about how he handled the drinking-water crisis at Flint. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik was removed from an advisory committee for what Mr. Elmendorf considered inaccurate statements. Even JFK’s own daughter, Caroline, quit in a quarrel with Mr. Elmendorf.

It turns out that instead of a kind of leftist or Democratic partisan, Mr. Elmendorf is starting to come into focus as a dean prepared to enforce the principles for which he wants the school he leads to stand. Mr. Roth certainly isn’t the first person who failed to meet Harvard’s standards.

Yet Mr. Roth’s reaction to the situation was a Twitter tantrum blaming Israel for “repression of Palestinians” and suggesting his failure to get a fellowship at Harvard owes to pressure from Jewish donors. Mr. Roth’s reaction itself confirms that Harvard’s decision to award him a fellowship was the correct move. Apparently he’s been taken on at the University of Pennsylvania, instead.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Harvard, Human Rights Watch

 

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror