WASHINGTON, D.C. (13 February 2015) – The Jerusalem Fund mourns the passing of Dr. Naseer Aruri, a former board member and Palestine Center Advisor. Chancellor Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and internationally recognized Middle East expert, Dr. Aruri died Tuesday, February 10, at the age of 81 from complications related to Parkinson’s disease.
Born in Jerusalem, Palestine on January 7, 1934, he immigrated to the United States in 1954 and received his B.A. in History from American International College and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He served on the faculty of UMass Dartmouth from 1965 to 1998, and chaired the Political Science Department for eight of those years.
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. A former member of the Palestinian National Council, the parliament-in-exile of the Palestinian people, he was also a founding member and twice served as President of the Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG).
Professor Aruri lectured and published far and wide in newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals throughout the world 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 many publications include books Dishonest Broker: the U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine (South End Press 2003), and Palestine and the Palestinians: A Social and Political History (Westview Press) co-authored with his colleague, the late American University (DC) Professor Samih Farsoun.
Professor Aruri’s papers have been preserved at the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections at UMass Dartmouth.
The Jerusalem Fund sends our condolences to his wife, Joyce, their children and grandchildren.
The Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that maintains three programs. The Palestine Center hosts educational briefings and publishes analysis of the Palestinian experience and U.S. policy in the region. The Humanitarian Link provides short-term grants on a quarterly basis to humanitarian organizations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and surrounding refugee camps. The Jerusalem Fund Gallery hosts art exhibits, workshops, film screenings, concerts and more that showcase the rich artistic heritage of the region.