Thursday, March 23, 2006

Harvard Backs Away from "Israel Lobby" Professors

Removes Logo from Controversial Paper
by Alex Safian
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
March 22, 2006

A controversial research report, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by Harvard professor Stephen Walt and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, that faults the “Israel lobby” for allegedly distorting the foreign policy of the United States to the detriment of U.S. interests, and which has been severely criticized as inaccurate and wrongheaded, no longer sports the Harvard or Kennedy School of Government logos that previously appeared on its front page.

In a further sign that Harvard and the University of Chicago are distancing themselves from Professors Walt and Mearsheimer, the report also no longer includes the pro-forma disclaimer used for all other research reports on that Harvard website. In its place is a far stronger disclaimer, in much larger type. The original disclaimer read:

The views expressed in the KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the John F. Kennedy School of Government or Harvard University. Copyright belongs to the author(s). Papers may be downloaded for personal use only.

The new, much more prominent disclaimer reads:

The two authors of this Working Paper are solely responsible for the views expressed in it. As academic institutions, Harvard University and the University of Chicago do not take positions on the scholarship of individual faculty, and this article should not be interpreted or portrayed as reflecting the official position of either institution.

It is especially notable that while the original disclaimer merely stated that Harvard did not necessarily share the views expressed in the article, the revised disclaimer goes much further, stating that:

1. The two authors are “solely responsible” for the content.
2. Both Harvard and the University of Chicago “do not take positions on the scholarship of individual faculty.”

Now, since universities do indeed take positions on the scholarship of individual faculty all the time (when deciding on hiring, tenure, raises, etc.), this can only be viewed as a devastating vote of no confidence by their respective universities in the work of Professors Walt and Mearsheimer.

Harvard should take the obvious next step and remove the paper from its Website pending correction of numerous errors of fact, logic and omission.

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