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KSG Seeks Distance from Paper

Con­tro­ver­sial paper on “Israel Lob­by” will not dis­play KSG logo or series

by Paras D. Bhayani

The Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment (KSG) removed its logo from a con­tro­ver­sial paper pub­lished last week by Aca­d­e­m­ic Dean Stephen M. Walt and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chicago’s John J. Mearsheimer. A dis­claimer stat­ing that the views expressed belong only to the authors was also made more promi­nent on the work­ing paper’s cov­er.

In their paper, Walt and Mearsheimer argued that the “Israel Lob­by,” com­posed of active sup­port­ers of Israel, has seized con­trol of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy toward the Mid­dle East and made it reflect Israel’s inter­ests more than those of the U.S. Since its pub­li­ca­tion in the Lon­don Review of Books last Thurs­day, the authors have drawn heat­ed crit­i­cism from many aca­d­e­mics, includ­ing Harvard’s Frank­furter Pro­fes­sor of Law Alan M. Der­showitz and long­time Har­vard lec­tur­er Mar­tin Peretz, who is also the edi­tor-in-chief of The New Repub­lic.

Accord­ing to a state­ment released yes­ter­day by KSG Dean David T. Ell­wood ’75, the paper’s logo was removed after some news agen­cies “were mis­tak­en­ly report­ing the paper as a ‘Har­vard study’ writ­ten by ‘two Har­vard researchers.’”

Usu­al­ly, papers like Walt and Mearsheimer’s, which is part of the fac­ul­ty work­ing paper series and avail­able on the KSG’s web­site, dis­play the school’s logo, the series name, and a stan­dard dis­claimer stat­ing that the views expressed may not reflect those of the KSG or Har­vard.

The removal of the logo and series name was sup­port­ed by Walt, the KSG said in the state­ment.

The authors also strength­ened the word­ing of the dis­claimer that appeared on the cov­er of their study, writ­ing that “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.”

Accord­ing to their assis­tants, both authors were trav­el­ling yes­ter­day and unavail­able for com­ment.

Yesterday’s issue of The New York Sun report­ed that an “observ­er” famil­iar with Har­vard said that the Uni­ver­si­ty had received calls from “pro-Israel donors” con­cerned about the KSG paper. One of the calls, the source told The Sun, was from Robert Belfer, a for­mer Enron direc­tor who endowed Walt’s pro­fes­sor­ship when he donat­ed $7.5 mil­lion to the Kennedy School’s Cen­ter for Sci­ence and Inter­na­tion­al Affairs in 1997.

“Since the furor, Bob Belfer has called express­ing his deep con­cerns and asked that Stephen not use his pro­fes­sor­ship title in pub­lic­i­ty relat­ed to the arti­cle,” the source told The Sun.

Belfer did not respond to a request to com­ment yes­ter­day.


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