A footnote on Dean Walt

Kennedy School of Government Dean Stephen Walt — coauthor of the execrable paper on “the Israel lobby” — occupies the Robert and Renee Belfer Chair of International Affairs at Harvard. The Robert Belfer who endowed Dean Walt’s chair is a 1957 graduate of Harvard Law School who has contributed with extraordinary generosity to Harvard. The endowment of Dean Walt’s chair by Mr. Belfer was part of a $7.5 million gift by Mr. and Mrs. Belfer to the Kennedy School in 1997.

Mr. Belfer and his family have also been leading philanthropists and supporters of Jewish causes for decades. Mr. Belfer has been Chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University as well as a board member of both the American Jewish Committee and the Weizmann Institute. Reader Howard Rosenberg wonders “what Mr. Belfer thinks about a beneficiary of his largesse publishing such an anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic tract.” Dr. Rosenberg writes:

Just last week Mr. Belfer received an honorary doctorate from the Weizmann for “his outstanding professional accomplishments…his lifelong commitment to the values of Jewish philanthropy…and his strong identification with the aspirations of the Weizmann Institute in the service of Israel…” Do you think he has any idea about Walt’s professional activities?

Speaking in the terms of Dean Walt’s analytical framework, Dean Walt appears to be the financial beneficiary of an influential member of “the Israel lobby.” In Dean Walt’s universe, this might even be evidence sufficient to deem Dean Walt himself a member of “the Israel lobby.”


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