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the pulpit

Errors exposed in Harvard clinic’s anti-Israel submission to the UN

The anonymous authors who accuse Israel of apartheid should accept the challenge to debate their claims.

The Widener Library at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 7, 2007. Credit: Joseph Williams via Wikimedia Commons.
The Widener Library at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 7, 2007. Credit: Joseph Williams via Wikimedia Commons.
David M. Litman

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) exposed numerous factual and legal errors in Harvard’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC)’s submission to the United Nations that libeled Israel as an apartheid state. UKLFI and CAMERA have urged the Dean of Harvard Law School to distance the school from this flawed report.

On May 27, 2021, after Israel’s “Operation Guardian of the Walls,” the United Nations Human Rights Council created what is perhaps its most anti-Israel mechanism to date—the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in Israel (“COI”).

On Feb. 28, 2022, the IHRC, along with Addameer—an organization tied to the terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—made a joint submission to the COI that alleged Israel is an “apartheid” state.

UKLFI and CAMERA have responded to Harvard Law and demonstrated to them that the submission not only failed to substantiate this serious allegation but contained basic factual errors and demonstrated shockingly poor legal analysis for such a prestigious institution.

From IHRC’s contradiction of its own incendiary claim that Jewish Israelis are “privileged” to its presentation of inaccurate figures that misrepresent the Jewish state, the submission is filled with falsehoods and omissions.

While it slanders Israel as an “apartheid” state, IHRC completely fails to account for the fact that a state of armed conflict exists. Instead, the clinic states as truth that Israel’s security measures fail a “balancing test,” but never actually applies the test.

IHRC also fails to explain how Israel’s repeated offers of peace and statehood to the Palestinians is consistent with their claim that Israel has an “intent to dominate.” In an absurd passage, the authors even suggest that Israel’s detention of a handful of terrorists prevents political life for Palestinians.

UKLFI and CAMERA have written to the Dean of Harvard Law School and called on him to distance the school from the false and incendiary claims of the law clinic.

In the true spirit of intellectual pursuit and legal debate, UKLFI and CAMERA also call on the Harvard Law Clinic to collaborate in holding a public debate on the claims made in the latter’s submission under mutually agreed terms. If the IHRC stands behind the submission, this will offer them an opportunity to defend their claims.

Yifa Segal, international director of UKLFI, explained: “UKLFI and CAMERA prepared the reply as we were concerned that the prestigious name of Harvard Law School may grant credibility to the submission by its International Human Rights Law Clinic. It might not be clear to all readers that this was not submitted officially by the law school and was evidently not vetted by it.”

She added that “a debate would grant students the opportunity to hear both sides of the argument, perhaps for the first time. We’ve seen how such radically false allegations inflame hatred and give rise to anti-Semitism worldwide. We must expose these lies and set the record straight.”

David M. Litman is a media and education research analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).

This article was originally published by CAMERA.

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