Harvard University Succumbs

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 9 Jan 2023

Richard Falk | Global Justice in the 21st Century – TRANSCEND Media Service

Harvard University Withdraws a Fellowship from Kenneth Roth & HRW

7 Jan 2023 – I admit to feeling an ironic mean-spirited satisfaction that Ken Roth had his appointment as Senior Fellow at the Carr Center of Human Rights of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government cancelled. After serving for 29 years as Director of Human Rights Watch, the world’s leading organization addressing human rights violations, Roth was superbly qualified for and entitled to this appointment. And would have had it but for the exertion of effective Zionist donor influence at Harvard. Without such a backroom factor this most revered academic institution would have undoubtedly been proud of Roth’s presence. [Chris McGreal, “Harvard Blocks Role for Former Human Rights Watch Head Over Israel Criticism,” The Guardian, Jan. 6, 2023] After his long and distinguished tenure at HRW Roth had become a civil society celebrity. This incident is another demonstration that even the most respected and wealthy institutions of higher learning are not fully insulated from nasty ideological and mercenary pressures that go against their proclaimed missions.

The irony of Roth’s mistreatment recalls a somewhat illuminating anecdote that seems so relevant that I cannot resist its disclosure. Over a decade ago I was a member of a local HRW advisory committee in Santa Barbara where I live. One day I got a phone call from a friend who chaired the committee. She informed me of my removal from this body because of a conflict of interest arising from my then holding the position of UN Special Rapporteur for Israeli Violations of Human Rights in Occupied Palestine. I thought it strange that this technical rule, given its dubious application here, should have been suddenly invoked some years after I had taken up the UN position, which led me to iuire further as to the real motive for my abrupt removal..

And I suppose unsurprisingly, it didn’t take me long to find out the true explanation for my ouster. UN Watch, Israel’s puppet NGO in Geneva had complained to HRW that it was unseemly to retain on their organizational chart a person with such notorious antisemitic views as myself. It was Ken Roth, I was told who had made the move to dismiss me. in. response, What followed could have been anticipated, UN Watch seized upon the incident to boast about their influence, announcing this blacklisting ‘victory’ on their website and through media releases. HRW was silent in response, allowing the impression to stand that I had been removed from their committee because of my antisemitism. I asked that HRW issue a statement clarifying my removal from committee on their stated grounds, which I thought of as a routine request, and learned that it was supported by several senior HRW staff, but rejected by Roth. The incident had some harmful effects on my academic life: lecture invitations were withdrawn or cancelled, and I experienced a variety of other unpleasant effects of becoming ‘unacceptably controversial.’

By coincidence, a few weeks later Roth and I appeared on the same panel at the University of Denver, and I told him that I was harmed by the way my removal from the SB Committee was handled, giving UN Watch grounds to show that I was too extreme in my criticisms of Israel for even HRW. Roth brushed me off with these unforgettably derisive words—“no one pays any attention to what UN Watch says.” In fairness, I acknowledge the subsequent reckless bravery of HRW years later in joining Amnesty International and B’Tselem in finding that Israel had established an apartheid regime of governance when it comes to the Palestinian people. [See “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,’ Human Rights Watch, April 27, 2021; see also earlier report by Richard Falk & Virginia Tilley, “Israeli Pactices Towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” UN ESCWA, MRCH 15, 2017.] It was this single report among hundreds issued during Roth’s long tenure that caused enough of a backlash as to make Harvard succumb.

I wish that it was true that smears by UN Watch and likeminded individuals and organizations lacked the leverage they possess to produce such totally unjustified results as inflicted on Roth. I suspect that what motivated Roth in my case was the influential Zionist membership on the HRW Board. As a child, I had known Bob Bernstein, the founder of HRW, as a family friend in NYC, and had a rather unpleasant dinner with him here in Santa Barbara a few years before incident while he was the leading Israeli advocate on the HRW Board. I learned that he and other board members were unconditional Israeli supporters who would have shed no tears about my treatment a few years hence.

Roth’s experience recalled the famous 1946 poem of the German theologian and pastor, Martin Niemöller, which vividly depicted the hazards faced by the tendency of liberals under pressure to sacrifice principles for financial gain or woke morality:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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Richard Falk is a member of the TRANSCEND Network, Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, Chair of Global Law, Faculty of Law, at Queen Mary University London,  Research Associate the Orfalea Center of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Fellow of the Tellus Institute. He directed the project on Global Climate Change, Human Security, and Democracy at UCSB and formerly served as director the North American group in the World Order Models Project. Between 2008 and 2014, Falk served as UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Occupied Palestine. His book, (Re)Imagining Humane Global Governance (2014), proposes a value-oriented assessment of world order and future trends. His most recent books are Power Shift (2016); Revisiting the Vietnam War (2017); On Nuclear Weapons: Denuclearization, Demilitarization and Disarmament (2019); and On Public Imagination: A Political & Ethical Imperative, ed. with Victor Faessel & Michael Curtin (2019). He is the author or coauthor of other books, including Religion and Humane Global Governance (2001), Explorations at the Edge of Time (1993), Revolutionaries and Functionaries (1988), The Promise of World Order (1988), Indefensible Weapons (with Robert Jay Lifton, 1983), A Study of Future Worlds (1975), and This Endangered Planet (1972). His memoir, Public Intellectual: The Life of a Citizen Pilgrim was published in March 2021 and received an award from Global Policy Institute at Loyala Marymount University as ‘the best book of 2021.’ He has been nominated frequently for the Nobel Peace Prize since 2009.

Go to Original – richardfalk.org

 

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One Response to “Harvard University Succumbs”

  1. Hoosen Vawda says:

    Dear Professor Emeritus, Richard Falk. Greetings for the Gregorian New Year from Durban, South Africa. I write to congratulate you on the report you have published on how the internationally renowned and esteemed Harvard University has cancelled Ken Roth’s appointment as Senior Fellow at the Carr Center of Human Rights of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, based on his perceived anti-Semitic bias. I commend Professor Falk, to highlight the spectre of anti-Semitism, often used as a strategic tool, when it comes to any criticism levelled against Israel. It is also a great “living example” of poetic justice against Ken Roth, noting his past interactions with Professor Falk. I note, with some degree of concern, that not many members of the Transcend Board write about anything against Israel, compared with other global challenges. In this respect Professor Falk is brave. What is happening in Israel presently, with the Prime Minister Netanyahu forming a “Luciferous” coalition with the ultra-right wing , extreme political party to rule the country, has resulted in nationwide protests in Israel and thing can only get worse of the apartheid state, henceforth. The situation is reminiscent of apartheid South Africa, prior to 1994, under which I grew up, survived university and professional career, being called a “coolie doctor”. Nelson Mandela, has said “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”. Knowing that we, in South Africa, can empathise, as well as identify with Palestinians, either Christians or Muslims, since we also experienced similar disenfranchisement, discrimination, expropriation of our land, violent torture and even extra judicial killings of journalists, activists, academics as well as healthcare professionals. It is also interesting to note that at the UNGA, this week, it is understandable that while Israel and USA voted against the resolution to refer Israel to the ICJ, it is disheartening to note that Germany and Britain also voted in favour of support for Israel. It is also noteworthy, that British made telescopic eyepieces for the rifles used by the Israel Defence Force snipers, are used against Palestinian youth, not only to maim them for life, but also to kill them, as was witnessed during the Second Intifada. However, The Bottom Line is not to despair, for patient perseverance, also pays handsome rewards. According to various scriptural, Abrahamic religious prophecies, the 7th decade has come and let us be hopeful that the Zionist regime will cease forth, with divine intervention, much akin to the Pharaonic Empire in the times of Prophet Moses. Nothing can last forever.

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