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Halutz's Harvard study condemned
University campaign questions the attendance of Israeli military figure.
Last Modified: 17 May 2007 22:23 GMT
Halutz resigned in 2007 after
criticisms of the war on Lebanon

A group of activists at a leading American university has begun a week-long campaign to highlight the attendance of Dan Halutz, a former Israeli military chief, on an elite study programme.
 
The Harvard University students say that people with poor human rights records, or who are seen as war criminals, should not be welcomed at the centre.
The Alliance for Justice in the Middle East has covered the campus with mock "WANTED" posters accusing Halutz, the former Israeli chief of staff, of war crimes.
 
Halutz is being sponsored by the Israeli army to attend a two-month executive training programme at Harvard's Business School (HBS).

The group launched its week-long mock dragnet on Tuesday to expose what it says is the university's "pattern of admitting and hiring individuals with a credible and public record of war crimes and human rights abuses". 

Not wanted

In addition to the posters, members are employing missing person milk cartons, helium balloons, and the internet to make their case.

The posters say Halutz ordered the indiscriminate bombing of Lebanon last summer, killing more than 1,000 civilians. Halutz resigned from his post in January 2007 after admitting failures in the war against Hezbollah.

The posters read: "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 resume in an executive education programme at Harvard Business School."

It then asks people to contact the International Criminal Court if they spot him.

Human rights organisations 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.

A Jewish student group on campus says the posters' are "accusatory and inflammatory" and condemned the campaign as "hateful propaganda" that "has no place on HBS campus".

The group is now in talks with the school's administration about how to prevent similar campaigns in the future.

Raising awareness

But organisers say they hope to generate awareness. Maryam Gharavi, one organiser, told Al Jazeera.net: "Up to now, the media has only partially covered this distressing trend.

H programme
"Since the founding members of the campaign are all Harvard students, we think it is imperative that our university not extend itself to training, funding, and lending public legitimacy to known war criminals after they have committed their abuses."

Gharavi said the idea came once her group saw a pattern of admitting high-ranking army officers with command responsibility into Harvard-affiliated programmes.

"We searched for as many war criminals and/or human rights abusers that fit our profile, using recognised international law and credible media reports, without regard for nationality. We drafted dossiers for those for whom we did find a match," Gharavi said.

The group's site profiles Hector Gramajo, the former Guatemalan defence minister, who was a Mason Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1991, although the group says it has found that most of those who fit their criteria are from Israel. 

Gharavi said: "We simply want the university to ensure that it does not admit or hire any individuals with credible records of responsibility for war crimes or serious human rights abuses. We believe a fair screening procedure should be in place for these exclusive programmes."

The Business School declined to comment to Al Jazeera.net, but in a statement issued by its director of media relations it said that the course, aimed at senior executives, attracted leaders from global business and the military.

The statement said: "All participants are sponsored at the most senior levels of their ogranisations. HBS relies on the information provided by and the judgment of these sponsoring organisations in accepting participants to its executive education programmes."

Source:
Al Jazeera
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