Sunday, December 29, 2013

Prof Boyle Schools Harvard President Faust About Prejudice

Francis A. Boyle is an attorney and a professor of international law.  He's also the author of many books including, most recently, United Ireland, Human Rights and International Law

Professor Boyle Schools Harvard President Faust About Prejudice

Dec. 27, 2013

Dear President Faust:

I notice your condemnation of the ASA Boycott against Israel in today's New York Times. I note for the record that Harvard has never once apologized to those of us Harvard Alums who participated in good faith in the Harvard Divestment/Disinvestment Campaign against Israel when your predecessor Larry Summers accused us of being anti-Semitic-- a charge which he refused to defend against me as related below. As a matter of fact, Harvard is so notoriously anti-Palestinian that the late, great Edward Said refused to accept Harvard's top chair in Comparative Literature when Harvard offered it to him. As a loyal Harvard alum I spent an entire evening with Edward at a Chinese Restaurant in Manhattan trying to convince Edward to take this Chair. I thought it would be good for Harvard to have Edward teaching there. As a lawyer and a law professor, I can be quite persuasive. But Edward would have none of my arguments. As Edward saw it, Harvard was so anti-Palestinian that Harvard would have thwarted his intellectual creativity to move there. So Edward stayed at Columbia. Of course Edward was right. And the anti-Palestinian tenor and orientation of Harvard has certainly gotten far worse since when Edward and I were both students at Harvard. Harvard should be doing something about its own longstanding bigotry and racism against the Palestinians. Not criticizing those of us trying to help the Palestinians suffering from Israeli persecution, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and outright genocide.

Yours very truly,

Francis A. Boyle
Professor of Law

Harvard: JDMCL, AM, PHD, CFIA, Teaching Fellow

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA


sent by Francis Boyle - Jul 30, 2007

The Cowardice of Harvard's Larry Summers

I'm not going to go through the subsequent history of the divestment/disinvestment movement, except to say that in the late summer of 2002 the President of Harvard, Larry Summers accused those of us Harvard alumni involved in the Harvard divestment campaign of being anti-Semitic.

After he made these charges, WBUR Radio Station in Boston, which is a National Public Radio affiliate, called me up and said: "We would like you to debate Summers for one hour on these charges, live." And I said, "I'd be happy to do so." They then called up Summers and he refused to debate me.

Summers did not have the courage, the integrity, or the principles to back up his scurrilous charges. Eventually Harvard fired Summers because of his attempt to impose his Neo-Conservative agenda on Harvard, and in particular his other scurrilous charge that women are dumber than men when it comes to math and science. Well as a Harvard alumnus I say: Good riddance to Larry Summers! (laughter).

Debating Dershowitz

WBUR then called me back and said, "Well, since Summers won't debate you, would you debate Alan Dershowitz?" And I said, "Sure." So we had a debate for one hour, live on the radio. And there is a link that you can hear this debate if you want to. I still think it's the best debate out there on this whole issue of Israeli apartheid. Again that would be WBUR Radio Station, Boston, 25 September 2002.

The problem with the debate, of course, is that Dershowitz knows nothing about international law and human rights. So he immediately started out by saying "well, there's nothing similar to the apartheid regime in South Africa and what Israel is doing to the Palestinians."

Well the problem with that is that Dershowitz did not know anything at all about even the existence of the Apartheid Convention. That is our second Handout for tonight. [See Handout 2 reprinted below.]

The definition of apartheid is set out in the Apartheid Convention of 1973.

And this is taken from my book Defending Civil Resistance Under International Law, Trial Materials on South Africa, published in 1987, that we used successfully to defend anti-apartheid resistors in the United States. If you take a look at the definition of apartheid here found in Article 2, you will see that Israel has inflicted each and every act of apartheid set out in Article 2 on the Palestinians, except an outright ban on marriages between Israelis and Palestinians. But even there they have barred Palestinians living in occupied Palestine who marry Israeli citizens from moving into Israel, and thus defeat the right of family reunification that of course the world supported when Jews were emigrating from the Soviet Union.

Israel: An Apartheid State

Again you don't have to take my word for it. There's an excellent essay today on by the leading Israeli human rights advocate Shulamit Aloni saying basically: "Yes we have an apartheid state in Israel." Indeed, there are roads in the West Bank for Jews only.

Palestinians can't ride there and now they're introducing new legislation that Jews cannot even ride Palestinians in their cars.

This lead my colleague and friend Professor John Dugard who is the U.N. Special rapporteur for human rights in Palestine to write an essay earlier this fall that you can get on Google, saying that in fact Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians is worse than the apartheid that the Afrikaners inflicted on the Blacks in South Africa. Professor Duguard should know.

He was one of a handful of courageous, white, international lawyers living in South Africa at the time who publicly and internationally condemned apartheid against Blacks at risk to his own life. Indeed, when I was litigating anti-apartheid cases on South Africa, we used Professor Duguard's book on Human Rights and the South African Legal Order as the definitive work explaining what apartheid is all about.

So Professor Duguard has recently made this statement. Of course President Carter has recently made this statement in his book that Israel is an apartheid state. And certainly if you look at that definition of the Apartheid Convention, right there in front of you, it's clear - there are objective criteria. Indeed if you read my Palestinian book I have a Bibliography at the end with the facts right there based on reputable human rights reports, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc. Many of them were also compiled and discussed by my friend Professor Norman Finklestein in his book Beyond Chutzpah, which I'd encourage you to read.

Francis A. Boyle


On Point Radio - Sep 25, 2007 broadcast

Across the country, the push for divestment has spread to more than 40 campuses. The movement condemns Israel for human rights abuses against the Palestinians. Hundreds of big-name academics have signed on, but so far no university has moved to divest.

The current debate isn't the first time divestment has been used on college campuses as a means to effect social and political change. In the 1980s, the South African divestment campaign helped end apartheid.

Do you see parallels with the apartheid debate? Has Israel become a trendy target?


Francis Boyle, professor of international law at The University of Illinois College of Law

Alan Dershowitz, professor at Harvard Law School

Taufiq Rahim, student at Princeton University