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Scott Brown calls on Harvard to cancel ‘one state’ conference

Republican US Senator Scott Brown is calling on Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to cancel a conference on a “one-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms Harvard’s sponsorship of a conference exploring a ‘one-state solution’ to the Israel-Palestinian conflict,” he said in a statement. “This is dangerous thinking that gives comfort to Israel’s enemies who view the ‘one-state solution’ as a euphemism for eliminating Israel as a Jewish state. Harvard may have a right to do this, but that doesn’t make it right to do it. The University should cancel this conference.”

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The Globe reported this morning that the conference has drawn criticism from the Anti-Defamation league, which said it has dangerous implications for Israel. The ADL has not called on Harvard to cancel the conference, but has instead asked Harvard President Drew Faust to denounce its theme.

The conference organizer, Ahmed Moor, a first-year student, told the Globe that the conference is intended to discuss ways that all residents of the region enjoy human rights. The Kennedy School told the Globe that the conference is student organized, but received modest funding from the school’s student government and the event’s website will use the school’s name and logo.

Brown, facing a reelection challenge from Elizabeth Warren, has made the Democrat’s ties to Harvard University a centerpiece in his strategy to label her an out-of-touch elitist. Warren teaches at Harvard Law School.

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Brown even made a reference to elitism in his in his statement attacking the conference.

“Academic elites need to understand that their ideas have real world consequences well beyond the comforts of the ivory tower, and the last thing Israel needs is Harvard legitimizing a terribly misguided idea,” he said.

Warren’s campaign, in a statement, would not say whether she agrees with calls to denounce or cancel the conference.

“Elizabeth was unaware of this conference, but she is a strong supporter of the steadfast relationship between Israel and the United States, and she firmly believes in a two-state solution,” spokeswoman Alethea Harney said.

Coincidentally, Brown will be hosting students from the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics at his Boston office on Monday. A flier from the school advertises “a private off-the-record meeting and discussion with study group students on the new dynamics shaping 2012 politics in the wake of 2010’s historic wave election.”

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.
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