Saturday, May 19, 2007

A wanted man on campus

Israel's former military chief is taking a course at Harvard, where students are pursuing him for war crimes.

By Laila El-Haddad
The Guardian

".....After resigning his post in January, he took some time off to better himself and Halutz has been attending an elite two-month advanced management programme at the Harvard Business School (HBS) in the United States. Ironic though it may be, his training has been sponsored by the Israeli army, according to a press statement issued by HBS.

But a group of Harvard University students is trying to make sure his crimes are not forgotten, while also castigating Harvard for admitting him - and others accused of human rights abuses and war crimes - in the first place.

The Alliance for Justice in the Middle East has plastered the campus of Harvard University and its business school with mock "Wanted" posters.

The group launched their week-long mock dragnet last Tuesday to expose what they say is Harvard University's "pattern of admitting and hiring individuals with a credible and public record of war crimes and human rights abuses". In addition to the "Wanted" posters, they are employing missing person milk cartons, helium balloons, and the Internet to make their case.

The posters say Halutz is "wanted for war crimes" for ordering the indiscriminate bombing of Lebanon last summer, killing over 1,000 civilians. The jets he commanded bombed houses and hospitals, ambulances and airports, refineries and roads. The atrocities committed under his command were condemned worldwide as war crimes. Now he's hiding out and padding his resumé in an executive education programme at Harvard Business School," it reads.

It says he is still "at large" and then asks people to contact the International Criminal Court if they spot him.

Human rights organisations around the world, including in Israel, have also accused Halutz of war crimes for the one-tonne bomb he ordered dropped in a heavily populated civilian area in Gaza in 2002.

Despite my prompting, university officials declined to comment, but did issue a press statement saying that the purpose of the programme was "to bring diverse groups of senior executives together to achieve a broader perspective on global strategic issues". It further states that the school "relies on the information provided by and the judgment of" the sponsoring organisations. In this case, the Israeli military. Yes, that's right, the Israeli military......"

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