A footnote on Mr. Belfer

Kennedy School of Government Dean Stephen Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Politics at Harvard. The Robert Belfer who endowed the chair occupied by Dean Walt is not only an extraordinarily generous benefactor of Harvard, but also of Jewish and Israeli causes. In the analytical framework established by Dean Walt’s “Israel lobby” paper, Mr. Belfer stands condemned as a member of “the Israel lobby.” We observed the irony here on Tuesday in “A footnote on Dean Walt.” In today’s New York Sun, Meghan Clyne reports:

[A]ccording to an observer familiar with the situation at Harvard, the makeover [of the “Israel lobby” paper cover page] comes amid snowballing outrage from Harvard donors who are making their discontent known to the university.

Harvard, the observer said, had received “several calls” from “pro-Israel donors” expressing concern about the Walt-Mearsheimer paper. One of the angered contributors is said to be the donor who underwrote the chair occupied by Dean Walt, Robert Belfer. Mr. Belfer, a 1958 graduate of Harvard Law School, endowed a faculty chair as part of a $7.5 million gift to the Kennedy School in 1997. In addition to bearing the title of academic dean of the Kennedy School, Mr. Walt is also the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Politics.

According to the observer, “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.”

Reached yesterday by phone in Florida, Mr. Belfer declined to comment on the situation.

Thanks to Vital Perspective.

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