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Harvard Faces Outcry for Rescinding Post to Ex-Head of Human Rights Watch over Criticism of Israel

Written by on 09/01/2023

We speak with the longtime former head of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, about losing a prestigious position at Harvard over his criticism of Israeli human rights abuses. Roth was set to begin as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy after he retired as director of the renowned human rights organization in April. But the school’s dean, Douglas Elmendorf, vetoed the move over Roth’s and Human Rights Watch’s “anti-Israel bias,” The Nation reports. “We hold Israel to the same standards as everybody else,” Roth says of Human Rights Watch’s work. He adds that while it’s unclear what pressure the Kennedy School may have faced in its decision, reporting truthfully on Israel’s rights record often brings down the ire of pro-Israel groups who want to shut down all criticism. “They want us to exempt Israel from human rights scrutiny, and no credible human rights group could possibly do that.”

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