Naseer H. Aruri (Arabic : نصير عاروري, 7 January 1934 – 10 February 2015) was an American scholar-activist and expert on Middle East politics, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and human rights. Aruri was Chancellor Professor (Emeritus) of Political Science, having served on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth from 1965-1998. In 1993, he was the recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences “Distinguished Research Award”. Aruri’s papers have been preserved and are on display at the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections at UMASS-Dartmouth.
He was born in Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine in 1934. His 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. Aruri emigrated to the United States in 1954 in order to pursue a college education. He arrived in Springfield, Massachusetts, 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. 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, the daughter of a Lebanese immigrant. The couple eventually settled in the Town of Dartmouth, Massachusetts and have four children and 13 grandchildren.
Aruri was elected to three consecutive terms as a member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International, USA (1984-1990). He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the New York-based Human Rights Watch/Middle East, 1990-1992. Aruri was a Founding Member of the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR), Cairo and Geneva 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 is a member of the Independent Palestinian Commission for the Protection of Citizens Rights (Ramallah) since its inception in January 1994, and a member of the Advisory Board of Directors of the International Institute for Criminal Investigations in The Hague. Aruri has spoken at the United Nations on several occasions and delivered the Keynote address on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights at the invitation of the United Nations Staff Union – U.N. Headquarters, New York, on December 9, 1988. He has testified as an “expert witness” in US Federal and Canadian Courts in cases dealing with political asylum and deportation.
Aruri is a former member of the Palestinian National Council, the parliament-in-exile of the Palestinian people and served on the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization. He was a founding member and twice served as President of the Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG). He was also a founding member and former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trans-Arab Research Institute and a member of the Board of Directors of the Jerusalem Fund and its Palestine Center Committee.
Aruri has spoken at hundreds of universities and scholarly conferences and has appeared as a guest on numerous media outlets throughout the world, including PBS NewsHour, CNN Crossfire, CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight (Moneyline), ABC News, C-SPAN, Al Jazeera and has been a commentator on NPR, Pacifica Radio, the BBC, Radio Monte Carlo, the Voice of America and Alternative Radio.
Aruri has published widely in newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals throughout the Globe. He is the author/editor of numerous books, chiefly on the subject of American foreign policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Aruri’s many publications include The Palestinian Resistance to Israeli Occupation (AAUG Press 1970), Enemy of the Sun: Poems of Palestinian Resistance, with Edmund Ghareeb (Drum and Spear Press 1970); Occupation: Israel Over Palestine (AAUG Press, 1983/ZED Press 1985; 2nd Edition, 1989) (chosen by the American Library Association’s Choice Magazine http://www.ala.org/acrl/choice/home as an “Outstanding Academic Book for 1984/1985”); The Obstruction of Peace: The U.S., Israel and the Palestinians (Common Courage Press, 1995), Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return (Pluto, 2001). "Revising Culture, Reinventing Peace: The Influence of Edward W. Said" with Muhammad Shuraydi (Interlink, 2001). His book Dishonest Broker: the U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine, (South End Press 2003) has also been translated into Arabic, Spanish and Italian. He is the co-author (with the late Professor Samih Farsoun) of Palestine and the Palestinians: A Social and Political History. Second Edition, Westview Press (2006).
Aruri was a consistent critic of the decades long U.S. dominated “peace process” that he has argued was never intended to reach a just peace, but rather designed to serve Israeli and American interests in the region.[ citation needed ] He was a harsh critic of the Oslo Peace Accords in what he suggested, at the time, amounted to a surrendering of the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinian people. He has been especially vocal in his criticism of the PLO, and later the Palestine Authority (PA), for its complicity in a process that he has described as providing the framework and cover for further Israeli colonization of Palestinian land.[ citation needed ]
Aruri and his wife Joyce (Thomas)married in 1961. They have four children and thirteen grandchildren. Aruri died of complications from Parkinson's disease on 10 February 2015, aged 81.