Washington: denial of Kennedy School fellowship to researcher because of his stance on Israel requires investigation
Stockholm - Skyline International for Human Rights deeply regrets that the Harvard Kennedy School has declined to award Kenneth Roth, former director of Human Rights Watch, a fellowship for his critical and professional comments on Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
Wednesday, January 11, Skyline notes that the statement by Kenneth Roth (who was executive director of Human Rights Watch from 1993 to 2022) that "Douglas Elmendorf" - dean of the Kennedy School of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard College in the U.S. - declined his appointment as a lecturer on human rights issues because of his constant criticism of Israel while at Human Rights Watch, requires investigation.
Skyline points out that the statement by James Smith, a Kennedy College spokesman, "based on an assessment of the candidate's potential contributions to the College" and that the College does not discuss such considerations is not sufficient, but rather requires a clear explanation.
The human rights foundation Skyline expresses concern that Kennedy University gave in to donor pressure or that the decision took into account special interests at the expense of professional standards and adherence to human rights norms.
Skyline emphasizes that calling Israel an apartheid regime for the Palestinians is not a biased position, but rather an expression of a reality on which dozens of international and independent human rights organizations agree. It is also based on a legal analysis of thousands of crimes and violations committed by Israeli forces against Palestinians.
Furthermore, Skyline emphasises that it is not acceptable that the expression of such a position is grounds for academic exclusion, but that it is necessary to allow freedoms and to support effective measures to end the apartheid regime and to respect human rights charters.
Skyline concludes its statement by calling on Harvard University to launch an investigation into the incident and definitively declaring that it will not accept funds from donors who seek to use that money to seize academic freedoms and influence the ways of professional human rights work.