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David Harris
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 Azerbaijan, Belgium, 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

Dear U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

(11) Comments | Posted July 19, 2015 | 3:42 PM

Speaking in Parliament last week on the eve of your visit to Israel, you said the following:

"The question you have to ask yourself is what kind of a deal would have been welcomed in Tel Aviv. The answer of course is that Israel doesn't want any deal with Iran....

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BBC Anchor Trivializes Iran Threat to Israel

(25) Comments | Posted July 14, 2015 | 5:17 PM

Dear Razia Iqbal,

I was in my car this morning and listening to BBC Newshour, carried by our local National Public Radio station in New York.

You were the host of the hour-long program, and the principal subject was the major deal announced, after years of negotiations, between the...

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UN Human Rights Council? UN Human Wrongs Council!

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2015 | 3:36 PM

The 47-member UN Human Rights Council in Geneva just voted to assail Israel because of the Hamas-triggered war in the summer of 2014.

That's right, assail Israel, not Hamas.

There will be those silver-tongued diplomats from Europe and elsewhere who will try to explain that the text could have been...

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'Middle East Peace Process?' High Time for a New Name

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2015 | 7:14 PM

There are those in the international community who have long claimed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root cause of the Middle East's problems.

Among the more prominent voices articulating this notion has been Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He has asserted that the absence of a Palestinian state...

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Ten Ways Israel Is Treated Differently

(647) Comments | Posted June 14, 2015 | 9:18 AM

It's appalling to see how Israel is treated by a totally different standard than other countries in the international system. Of course, Israel deserves scrutiny, as does every other nation. But it also merits equal treatment -- nothing more, nothing less.

First, Israel is the only UN member state whose...

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Why History Matters: The 1967 Six-Day War

(68) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 6:38 PM

Mention the word "history" and it can trigger a roll of the eyes.

Add "Middle East" to the equation and folks might start running for the hills, unwilling to get caught up in the seemingly bottomless pit of details and disputes.

But without an understanding of what happened, it's...

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Eight Words From President Obama

(27) Comments | Posted May 24, 2015 | 3:27 PM

President Barack Obama delivered a compelling and heartfelt speech on May 22 at a Washington synagogue.

He spoke directly to the concerns and aspirations of the Jewish people, identifying himself squarely with Jewish ethical values and the Jewish historical journey as a metaphor for the universal quest for peace...

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After Copenhagen, What Next for Europe?

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2015 | 1:33 PM

Once again, the jihadists have attacked, this time in Copenhagen.

Once again, they have killed innocent people.

Once again, they have targeted both democratic values -- freedom of speech and the press -- and a minority community - the Jews.

And once again, Europe has been reminded that it is...

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After the Attacks in France, What Next?

(3) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 5:12 PM

The terrorist attacks that killed 17 innocent people in France last week have provoked widespread revulsion and condemnation.

All people of good will stand as one with France. Its citizens were attacked, and so were its laudable values, which have inspired the democratic spirit worldwide for well over two...

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Dear UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 6:14 PM

You have one of the toughest jobs in the world.

It can't be easy to balance all the competing interests and pressures that come with being the head of a complex global body with 193 member states. You are constantly walking on a tightrope.

Moreover, too often observers fail...

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If Not Us, Who?

(3) Comments | Posted September 14, 2014 | 4:12 PM

Forty years ago this month, my life took a new path. Forty years later, I'm still on that path.

The year was 1974. U.S. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Chairman Leonid Brezhnev had introduced the word "détente" into the Cold War vocabulary. One of the outcomes was a series...

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The 75th Anniversary of the Second World War: Contemporary Lessons

(5) Comments | Posted September 1, 2014 | 12:58 PM

Exactly 75 years ago today, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, which valiantly sought to resist the onslaught, but was overwhelmed by the numerically and technologically superior invading army.

Two days later, on September 3, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The history of the ensuing years, until the day...

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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

(7) 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

(21) 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.


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To Israel's Critics

(24) 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.


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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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