The Kennedy School of Government (KSG) removed its logo from a controversial paper published last week by Academic Dean Stephen M. Walt and the University of Chicago’s John J. Mearsheimer. A disclaimer stating that the views expressed belong only to the authors was also made more prominent on the working paper’s cover.
In their paper, Walt and Mearsheimer argued that the “Israel Lobby,” composed of active supporters of Israel, has seized control of U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East and made it reflect Israel’s interests more than those of the U.S. Since its publication in the London Review of Books last Thursday, the authors have drawn heated criticism from many academics, including Harvard’s Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz and longtime Harvard lecturer Martin Peretz, who is also the editor-in-chief of The New Republic.
According to a statement released yesterday by KSG Dean David T. Ellwood ’75, the paper’s logo was removed after some news agencies “were mistakenly reporting the paper as a ‘Harvard study’ written by ‘two Harvard researchers.’”
Usually, papers like Walt and Mearsheimer’s, which is part of the faculty working paper series and available on the KSG’s website, display the school’s logo, the series name, and a standard disclaimer stating that the views expressed may not reflect those of the KSG or Harvard.
The removal of the logo and series name was supported by Walt, the KSG said in the statement.
The authors also strengthened the wording of the disclaimer that appeared on the cover of their study, writing that “as academic institutions, Harvard University and the University of Chicago do not take positions on the scholarship of individual faculty, and this article should not be interpreted or portrayed as reflecting the official position of either institution.”
According to their assistants, both authors were travelling yesterday and unavailable for comment.
Yesterday’s issue of The New York Sun reported that an “observer” familiar with Harvard said that the University had received calls from “pro-Israel donors” concerned about the KSG paper. One of the calls, the source told The Sun, was from Robert Belfer, a former Enron director who endowed Walt’s professorship when he donated $7.5 million to the Kennedy School’s Center for Science and International Affairs in 1997.
“Since the furor, Bob Belfer has called expressing his deep concerns and asked that Stephen not use his professorship title in publicity related to the article,” the source told The Sun.
Belfer did not respond to a request to comment yesterday.
—Staff writer Paras D. Bhayani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.