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Commentary :: Human Rights
Glorifying Israel Shames Harvard
28 Apr 2012
Glorifying Israel Shames Harvard

by Stephen Lendman

Harvard's motto is "VERITAS (truth)." Its shield displays it. So do rings students buy.

It wasn't present at Harvard's April 19 - 20 Israel Conference (IC). Perhaps an invitation wasn't extended.

IC was billed as a "first of its kind on Harvard's campus." Initiated by Israeli students, they "wanted to bring the Israeli spirit to campus the way they see it - as that of a vibrant, innovative and eternally optimistic state."

"VERITAS" was nowhere in sight. Neither was occupation harshness. Exclusion was more than oversight. Expect little change next year at another session. Topics this year were poor ones. Featuring them concealed reality. Guests were worse. More on them below.

In March, Harvard held a One State Conference. Its purpose was to "to educate ourselves and others about the possible contours of a one-state solution and the challenges that stand in the way of its realization."   

Speakers worth hearing were featured. They included Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah, and Law Professor Susan Akram. Critics denounced their comments.

Harvard Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood issued an advance statement. He expressed deep "disappoint(ment) to see that the initial list of speakers (was) so one-sided."

He feared Harvard would "give the false impression" about endorsing their agenda. He stopped short of presenting his own based on "VERITAS" and full disclosure.

He wasn't alone. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) condemned the conference. He called it "dangerous thinking that gives comfort to Israel's enemies." He requested Harvard cancel. To its credit, it was held as scheduled.

It also featured pro-Israeli Alan Dershowitz. Honest critics know he's a notorious bigot, a longstanding Islamophobe, a misinterpreter of fundamental law principles, a believer in unique Jewish suffering, an advocate for torture and targeted assassinations, a committed Zionist, and apologist for Israel's worst crimes.

He wasn't alone. Yet Abunimah called the conference "one of the most informed, nuanced, creative, and responsible discussions on Israel-Palestine I've recently participated in."

The Harvard Crimson said:

Participants "advocated for the consideration of alternative solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

"Despite the protests, the event proceeded smoothly and remained unaffected by the opinions of some of its opponents, said Kennedy School student Ahmed Moor, an organizer of the conference."

"Panels included discussion about issues of nationhood and cultural identity, the building a global movement, and the history of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. During some of the events, panelists responded directly to critics accusing them of promoting a one-sided dialogue."

When it ended, Moor said it was "about what to do about reconciling between two peoples who deserve better." It begins with honest, open discussions without which no solution is possible.

April's conference was mirror opposite. Harvard apparently yielded to critics and went rogue. Instead of open give and take, pro-Israeli sentiment was featured.

Imagine a speaker lineup shameful enough to embarrass responsible alums, faculty, and student body members alike. Following Harvard Provost Alan Garber's opening remarks, featured ones promoted agendas defiling "VERITAS," justice, fairness, and rule of law principles.

Former Iraq war Pentagon spokesman Dan Senor began things.

He's now an Israeli lobbyist, investment banker, Fox News contributor, and co-author of "Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle." It excludes how Palestinians are occupied, oppressed, exploited, impoverished, imprisoned, tortured, and killed.

He's also a former AIPAC intern, a past and perhaps present Carlyle Group senior associate, a former White House deputy press secretary, a USIBEX director (US-Israel Business Exchange), and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member.

Sourcewatch quoted him in 2004 saying he avoided political partisanship in his work. His career's based on it. Nonetheless, he claimed he's "guided by ethical 'red lines.' "

They didn't stop him from promoting and misreporting on Bush's Iraq war. Nor did it deter his one-sided Israel support.

UK historian/Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson followed him. He's a frequent scoundrel TV/print contributor, a Hoover Institution senior fellow, a GLG Partners investment management consultant, a social agenda critic, and an advocate of replacing Medicare and Medicaid with Medical Security System vouchers to let corporate providers rip off customers more than already. His other views are just as hardline.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer spoke last. He's also an economist, a former Citigroup vice chairman and IMF first deputy managing director, a Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission member, a Guggeneheim fellow, and National Bureau of Economic Research associate, among other anti-populist credentials.

He's to Israel what Bernanke is to America, Goldman Sachs alum Mario Draghi to the EU, and Mervyn King to Britain. Their policies lavished stolen wealth on banks. In the process, they wrecked economies, communities, households, and futures of millions of exploited people.

Their agenda perhaps includes transferring all wealth to elitist hands. If successful, neoserfdom will entirely replace enlightenment in America, Europe, Israel, and perhaps elsewhere. It's well along toward doing it already.

Following morning and afternoon panel discussions, former Obama Middle East official Dennis Ross keynoted day two.

A previous article described him as follows:

Anti-Defamation League head Abe Foxman calls him Israel's "advocate." Middle East analyst Aaron David Miller says he's "Israel's lawyer." Others call him a Zionist hardliner up to no good for Palestine or Israel's regional rivals, including Iran.

He also co-founded the AIPAC-linked Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). An extremist Israeli front group, it's board of advisors includes rogue figures like Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Woolsey, and Richard Perle.

James Petras once called him "a virulent Zionist advocate of Israel's ultra-militaristic policies, including an armed preemptive attack on Iranian nuclear and military installations."

"Ross is an unconditional supporter of the Israeli starvation siege of (Gaza), and fully backed Israel's savage (2006) air attacks against civilian targets in Lebanon."

Closely linked to Israeli policies, he's no friend of Palestine, peace, or justice. He one-sidedly back its lawlessness. He's criminally complicit in its crimes. Nonetheless, Harvard featured him on day two.

Panelists included Asaf Bar Ilan and Michael Eisenberg. Both violate international law. They're connected to illegal Israeli settlements. Ilan owns a Golan farm. Occupied since June 1967, it's Syrian territory, not his. He's also a former IDF officer and Nemesysco Israel Ltd business development vice president.

Eisenberg is a Gush Etzion settlement bloc religious/military school board member. Also a Benchmark Capital general partner, he served in that capacity with Israel Seed Partners.

At the expense of excluded fair-minded scholar/analysts, investment and other business related guests were featured. Among them were Sadara Ventures general partner Yadin Kaufmann, al-Bawader fund general partner/co-founder Habib Hazzan, and Economic Policy Research Foundation's managing director Guven Sak.

Harvard's Center for International Development's Ricardo Hausmann moderated an "Innovating a Region" session.

Harvard Business School's James Sebenius moderated a "Start-Up Nation" one. Besides Eisenberg, speakers included Israeli engineer/inventor/businessman Dov Moran, venture capitalist Jonathan Medved, and Israeli Efi Arazi School of Computer Science's Shimon Schocken.

Israeli journalist/TV host Becky Griffin moderated a Teddy Herzl Talks session. Besides Ilan, participants included Technion Israel Institute of Technology's Yoav Medan, IsraAID's Aid & Development/Japan director Yotam Polizer, Israeli physician/educator Karen Djemal, and SpaceIL CEO/co-founder Yariv Bash.

For doing the right thing, Harvard's One State Conference drew heavy criticism. Nary a disparaging word followed its April one.

Excluding what most needs discussing, Israel was misrepresented as a "vibrant, innovative and eternally optimistic state." Palestinians have other views. So do millions of their supporters worldwide.

"VERITAS" depends on featuring them at future programs. Otherwise, it's just a motto, nothing else.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen (at)

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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