Harold Rhode And Bernard Lewis Classic

Harold Rhode and Bernard Lewis

The classic expose of Pentagon operator Harold Rhode was written by Bob Dreyfuss and Jason Vest last January, and aptly entitled “The Lie Factory.” It has long been known that Rhode has a close relationship with former School of Oriental and African Studies and Princeton historian Bernard Lewis. I received a tip from someone who knew the story of how Rhode, a Middle East expert, became ensconced in the Pentagon. She writes:


‘ Harold Rhode was completing his PhD [in the 1970s] at Columbia University . . . Although his PhD adviser was Tibor Halasi-Kun, Harold regularly visited Bernard Lewis at Princeton. He considered Lewis his real mentor. Later, [I was told by someone in the know that] that Lewis helped him get a job in Richard Perle’s office at the Pentagon. The rest is history….

Some writers are asking about what the connections are between various individuals and groups in the Iraq/Iran/Israel/etc. mess. Were there ever to be a serious investigation of the Israeli infiltration of the Pentagon (unlikely, of course), one would certainly have to examine Bernard Lewis’s role here.

Even though Edward Said raised the issue 25 years ago, in view of recent events, it seems high time that a scholarly society promote a frank and more balanced discussion of the political agenda driving Lewis’s scholarship as well as his advice to leaders as a supposed senior scholar on the Islamic world. (On the other hand, I am not aware of any reputable treatment of his non-academic side; a Google search only reveals some rather unsavory publications that question his non-academic affiliations.) ‘

Rhode participated in the meetings in Europe with the proto-fascist Italian military intelligence organization, SISMI, and the rightwing Italian Defense Minister, along with fraudster Manuchehr Ghorbanifar, at which suspected spy Lawrence Franklin also was present.