Harvard dean accused of anti-Semitism

Alan Dershowitz claims Walt's paper takes themes from Protocols of Elders of Zion.

stephen walt 88 (photo credit: )
stephen walt 88
(photo credit: )
A recent paper co-authored by the academic dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government was "explicitly targeting American Jews," according to Alan Dershowitz. The paper, "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy" by Harvard's Stephen Walt and University of Chicago's John Mearsheimer, wrote Dershowitz, took up themes found in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He also expressed wonder that the paper was published even though it "does not meet their usual scholarly standards," and risked being "seized on by bigots to promote their anti-Semitic agenda." The paper was added to the Harvard Kennedy School Web site while students were on spring break. An abridged version of the paper was published in The London Review of Books. Some students at Kennedy School disagreed with Dershowitz. Debra Decker thought the paper was "just his [Walt's] opinion." While she criticized the Kennedy School's academic dean for failing to use primary sources in his scholarship, Decker said it was "fair for him to put it out there." She added, "I think it's an interesting discussion to be raised, about what extent interest groups affect national interests." Other students doubted that Dershowitz's charges were warranted at all. "As soon as there is any sort of criticism, people jump on the anti-Semitism bandwagon. And Arabs are Semites themselves. There are 40 pages of footnotes. They [Walt and Mearsheimer] are not getting this out of thin air," said Joanne Kubba. She commented further, "We can criticize it academically, but we don't have a right to say we're refusing to fund it. That's were I think the problem lies." Still other students read the paper open to the ideas it expressed and found it problematic. "I tried to read it as objective [sic] as possible," said Robert Jacobi, "and the first thing that struck me was a sentence, that I realized later was quoted everywhere, [in which] they say that there are many American Jews who spend all their days basically influencing American foreign policy... And that's when I started to feel like: Okay, that's a little bit weird."