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David Harris
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David Harris has led the American Jewish Committee (AJC) since 1990. AJC has been described by the New York Times as “the dean of American Jewish organizations.” Harris has been honored by the governments of Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Spain and Ukraine for his work on transatlantic relations, human rights, historical memory and intergroup understanding. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and London School of Economics. He was a Junior Associate at Oxford University’s St. Antony’s College (1977-78), a Visiting Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (2000-02), and a Senior Associate at St. Antony’s College (2009-11). Since 2001, he has broadcast a weekly commentary on the CBS Radio network, and since 2007, he has had a blog on international affairs at the Jerusalem Post.

Entries by David Harris

Letter From a Nonagenarian

(1) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 2:42 PM

When my mother turned 80, she spoke out for the first time in "Letter from an Octogenarian."

At the time, she wrote:

"I never thought I would live to see the day when 'Death to the Jews' was again heard, as it has been heard in Europe, the Muslim...

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To the Weekend Protesters

(9) Comments | Posted August 10, 2014 | 11:49 AM

This weekend, there have been large protests on the streets of London, Cape Town, and Santiago, and smaller demonstrations in Paris and New York.

Were they marching in support of the tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians in Iraq who face imminent murder and starvation on a mountaintop at...

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Hamas Versus Israel: Moral Clarity Awards

(13) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 12:17 AM

In an earlier piece, I offered ten candidates for the Moral Fog Award.

These were countries, institutions, and leaders who couldn't, or wouldn't, make a clear moral distinction between Israel, a democratic nation seeking nothing more than quiet on its border with Hamas-ruled Gaza, and Hamas, a...

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Hamas Versus Israel: A Failure of Imagination

(6) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 9:37 PM

For a number of diplomats and journalists, predictable story lines have emerged, as the most recent round of Israel-Hamas fighting continues into its fourth week.

At best, the struggle is essentially a Hatfield-McCoy feud. It just goes round and round and round. No one at this point...

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Hamas Versus Israel: Moral Fog Awards

(3) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 2:16 PM

In the current conflict, there are those who refuse to grasp the simple, stark truth.

Although the distinction between Israel and Hamas couldn't be clearer -- between a democratic nation and a terrorist organization, between the victim and the aggressor, between a society that protects its civilians and one...

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Hamas Versus Israel: The Case for Moral Clarity

(22) Comments | Posted July 13, 2014 | 4:25 PM

Two centuries ago, the great German poet Goethe said: "The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes."

It's as true today as it was then.

The difference between Hamas and Israel couldn't be greater, yet you wouldn't know it when listening to some observers.

For...

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To Israel's Critics

(23) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 2:58 PM

Want to be taken seriously by Israel and its friends?

Here's your moment to demonstrate your bona fides.

If you really mean what you say about criticizing Israeli policies but not questioning Israel's inherent right to live in peace and security, then raise your voice right now.

Not...

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Israel, the Middle East and Cognitive Dissonance

(2) Comments | Posted July 6, 2014 | 11:55 AM

Try as I might, there are some things I just don't get.

For starters, I'm seeking to understand Israel's options in today's Middle East.

To listen to some observers in the media and in foreign ministries, it's all quite simple and yet puzzling -- simple because the answer is obvious,...

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Belzec: Past and Present

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2014 | 3:50 PM

Belzec.

It's not exactly a household name.

But during World War II, Belzec, a small town in southeastern Poland, was one of the main Nazi death camps in the occupied country, along with Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka.

As many as 500,000 Jews were murdered there by the Nazis....

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Europe, Wake Up!

(5) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 12:35 PM

Europe needs to wake up to the threat posed by anti-Semitism.

Sure, it thinks it's awake, but, in reality, only partially.

The problem is bigger and deeper than many realize. And the stakes couldn't be higher, not just for Jews, but for Europe's core values, beginning with the protection...

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Happy 66th Birthday, Israel!

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 2:07 PM

For many nations, a 66th birthday may not generate much excitement. But if the country happens to be Israel, which celebrates its birthday this week, it's another story.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only UN member state whose right to exist is regularly challenged, whose elimination from...

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Give Ukraine a Chance

(5) Comments | Posted April 24, 2014 | 4:36 PM

The Ukraine crisis continues. At this stage, no one can safely predict where the country will be a month from now, let alone a year down the road.

Nonetheless, a few things appear crystal-clear.

First, history will record this as a high-stakes, even defining, crisis. What happens in Ukraine...

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Jan Karski: An Authentic Hero

(10) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 11:57 AM

This year, we mark what would have been Jan Karski's 100th birthday.

The more time goes by, the more I miss him. Precisely when his voice is needed more than ever, he is no longer among us.

In 1914, Jan Karski (né Kozielewski) was born to a Catholic family...

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The Meaning of Israel: A Personal View

(12) Comments | Posted January 14, 2014 | 5:00 PM

Against the backdrop of recent efforts in some academic circles to vilify and isolate Israel, let me put my cards on the table right up front. I'm not dispassionate when it comes to Israel. Quite the contrary.

The establishment of the state in 1948; the fulfillment of its envisioned role...

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Mind the Gap on Iran: A Time to Reassure Allies and Rebuild Trust

(24) Comments | Posted November 24, 2013 | 2:36 PM

Israel appears to have come up with the short end of the stick in the just-announced Iran deal.

While President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are going to great lengths to say that Israel ought to feel safer, at least for the life of the six-month agreement, Israel's top...

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What Being Jewish Means to Me

(41) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 6:16 PM

As recent surveys reveal a disturbingly large number of American Jews -- millions, in fact -- who feel disconnected from their Jewish identity, allow me to share what being Jewish means to me.

To me, being Jewish means entering into a partnership with the Divine for the...

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A Middle East Quiz

(24) Comments | Posted September 15, 2013 | 3:07 PM

Here's a quiz.

What Middle East story does the New York Times, the newspaper of record in the United States, deem so important that it devotes most of the front page of its 12-page Sunday Review section this week, including eye-catching art work, and the bulk of two inside pages?

...
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Why I Support U.S. Action on Syria

(6) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 3:59 PM

Syria dominates domestic discussion and debate, as it should. Whether and how the United States reacts to the evidence of Syrian use of chemical weapons on August 21st is a consequential matter, not to be taken lightly regardless of where one falls on the range of views.

Those for whom...

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Palestinians and Double Standards

(142) Comments | Posted August 27, 2013 | 7:09 PM

The tweet arrived last week from a respected journalist. It read: "18 Palestinians killed in #Syria chemical attack."

I subsequently checked other mainstream news sources to see if there were comments on the story. One of the few was Ma'an, the Palestinian news agency, which put...

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An Open Letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

(33) Comments | Posted August 22, 2013 | 6:05 PM

To His Excellency Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

I must confess my surprise at your recent statement that, "No, I don't think there is discrimination against Israel at the UN."

Respectfully, Mr. Secretary-General, there is discrimination against Israel at the UN, and it is not new, either.

For starters:

•...

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