Young Israel Slams Harvard for Naming Defender of Palestinian Terrorists to Diplomacy Post

September 1, 2020

The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) today blasted Harvard University after it named Dr. Saeb Erakat, the Chief Palestinian Negotiator and Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, a Fisher Family Fellow for the 2020-21 academic year. In this role, Erakat will join the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and teach students about diplomacy and statecraft.


Erakat has been deeply involved in Palestinian affairs for several decades. He was appointed Head of the Central Elections Commission and served as Minister of Local Government for the Palestinian National Authority from 1994 to 2003. In 1991, he was Vice-Chair of the Madrid Peace Delegation and was Vice-Chair at the 1992 Washington negotiations. Erakat was appointed Chairman of the Palestinian Negotiating Delegation for Elections in 1994 and has served as Head of the Palestinian Side of the Steering and Monitoring Committee ever since.


The Palestinian Authority’s Chief Negotiator has a history of making anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements, including saying in 2016 that “we bow our heads in admiration and honor” for the acts of “heroism” committed by imprisoned Palestinian terrorists. In 2014, Erakat said “Hamas is a Palestinian movement, is not and never will be a terrorist organization.” After Israel and the United Arab Emirates recently agreed to normalize diplomatic relations, Erakat vociferously criticized the deal, calling it “a public birth for the Arab Zionists,” and adding that expressing support for Israel is forbidden. Erakat also accused Israel of intentionally infecting Palestinians with Covid-19 when he spoke about Israelis “spitting on Palestinian cars and property in order to transfer the Corona disease to them.”


“Saeb Erakat is a terrorist apologist and master fabricator who has long been an impediment to peace,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “Harvard’s enigmatic decision to offer a prominent position teaching diplomacy to Saeb Erakat, who has failed miserably and repeatedly in the area of international diplomacy, inexplicably gives a public platform to an individual who is diametrically opposed to peace and progress. Dr. Erakat’s diplomatic missteps, legendary obstinance, and support of terrorism has created chaos in the Middle East and fomented an anti-Israel sentiment that has led to heinous acts of violence against civilians. If Harvard empowers Saeb Erakat to teach the leaders of tomorrow about the future of diplomacy, it is going to be a bleak future indeed. We call on Harvard to reassess its decision and consider rescinding its invitation to Saeb Erakat, a man who selfishly and deliberately puts his own malevolent interests before the interests of the people he purports to represent.”


For the past 108 years, the National Council of Young Israel has ably served the broader Jewish community. With more than 25,000 member families and approximately 135 branch synagogues throughout the United States, Canada, and Israel, the National Council of Young Israel is a multi-faceted organization that embraces Jewish communal needs and often takes a leading role in tackling the important issues that face the Jewish community in North America and Israel.