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Press Release: Naseer Aruri, 81, internationally recognized expert on Middle East


Naseer Aruri, 81, internationally recognized expert on Middle East

UMass Dartmouth professor served on Amnesty International Board, published widely on U.S. foreign policy related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Author:  Joseph Sullivan [Contact]
Date:  February 12, 2015
Department:   News & Public Information
Naseer Aruri, Chancellor Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and an internationally recognized Middle East expert died Tuesday, February 10 from complications related to Parkinson's disease.  He was 81.

Professor Aruri served on the faculty of UMass Dartmouth from 1965 to 1998, and chaired the Political Science Department for eight of those years.

Born in Jerusalem, Palestine on January 7, 1934, Professor Aruri's father was a high school principal in Jerusalem and he and his family split their time between Jerusalem and the West Bank village of Burham, where the family home still stands. He immigrated to the United States in 1954 in order to pursue a college education and arrived in Springfield where his brother, Said, was already a student at the American International College (AIC). He received his B.A. in History from AIC and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

While a student at AIC, he was adopted by the sizeable Lebanese community of Springfield and later married Joyce Thomas, a Lebanese-American, to whom he was married for 54 years. Besides his wife, he is survived by four children -- Faris, Karen Leila Carnes (who teaches at UMass Dartmouth), Jamal and Jay -- as well as 13 grandchildren, two sisters, a brother, a niece and nephew.

Professor Aruri was an internationally recognized scholar-activist and expert on Middle East politics, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and human rights. He served three consecutive terms as a member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International, USA (1984-1990) and was a member of the Board of Directors of the New York-based Human Rights Watch/Middle East from 1990-1992. He was a Founding Member of the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) in 1982 and a member of the editorial board of Third World Quarterly (London). He was a key participant in the drafting of the Arab Covenant of Human Rights under the auspices of the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Justice, in Siracusa, Italy in December, 1986. He was a member of the Independent Palestinian Commission for the Protection of Citizen's Rights (Ramallah) and a member of the Advisory Board of Directors of the International Institute for Criminal Investigations in The Hague.  He testified as an expert witness in U.S. Federal and Canadian Courts in cases dealing with political asylum and deportation.

Professor Aruri was a leading advocate in the U.S. on behalf of the rights of the Palestinian people.  He was a former member of the Palestinian National Council, the parliament-in-exile of the Palestinian people. He was a founding member and twice served as President of the Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG).

Professor Aruri lectured at hundreds of universities and scholarly conferences and has appeared as a guest commentator on numerous media outlets, including ABC, PBS, CNN, Al-Jazeera, NPR, the BBC, and Radio Pacifica.  He published widely in newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals throughout the Globe and was the author/editor of more than a dozen books, chiefly on the subject of American foreign policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His books included Dishonest Broker: the U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine (South End Press 2003), which has been translated into Arabic, Spanish and Italian. He co-authored Palestine and the Palestinians: A Social and Political History (Westview Press) with his colleague and dear friend, the late American University (DC) Professor Samih Farsoun.  

In 1993, Professor Aruri was the recipient of the UMass Dartmouth College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award. Despite his prolific scholarship, his most rewarding moments were in the classroom.  When the University Senate at UMass Dartmouth presented him with the award in June, 1988, among the quoted remarks was the following: "Charismatic and extraordinarily accessible, you have communicated to your students, along with a wealth of information and unique insights, a respect for them as valuable human beings and genuine interest in their personal and academic evolution."

Professor Aruri's papers have been preserved at the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections at UMass Dartmouth. A memorial service is being planned for April 12 at UMass Dartmouth.
 

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