Aryeh Neier

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Before joining the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Soros foundations network as president in September 1993, Aryeh Neier spent 12 years as executive director of Human Rights Watch, of which he was a founder. Prior to that, he worked for the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years, including eight as national director.
From 1978 to 1991, Neier served as an adjunct professor of law at New York University, and he has lectured at a number of colleges and universities in the United States (including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Duke, New York University, and the University of California at Berkeley) and at universities in many other countries. He is the recipient of three honorary doctorates (Hofstra University, Hamilton College, and the State University of New York at Binghamton) and the American Bar Association's Gavel Award.
Neier is the author of six books: Dossier: The Secret Files They Keep on You (1975, Scarborough House); Crime and Punishment: A Radical Solution (1976, Stein and Day); Defending My Enemy: American Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, and the Risks of Freedom (1979, E.P. Dutton); Only Judgment: The Limits of Litigation in Social Change (1982, Wesleyan University Press); War Crimes: Brutality, Genocide, Terror, and the Struggle for Justice (1998, Times Books); and Taking Liberties: Four Decades in the Struggle for Rights (2003, Public Affairs). Neier has also contributed chapters to more than 25 books.
He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, a columnist for the Nation, and has also published in such periodicals as the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, Foreign Policy, Dissent and a number of law journals. He has contributed more than 100 op-ed articles to newspapers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and the International Herald Tribune.
Neier was born in Nazi Germany and became a refugee at an early age. An internationally recognized expert on human rights, he has conducted investigations of human rights abuses in more than 40 countries around the world. Over the past two decades, he has been directly engaged in the global debate on accountability and bringing to justice those who have committed crimes against humanity, the subject of his latest book, Taking Liberties. He played a leading role in the establishment of the international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia.[1]

In the late 1950s: "As director of the League for Industrial Democracy, Neier thought to invigorate its student branch, which he renamed Students for a Democratic Society in 1959. He writes that he hired, then fired, Tom Hayden: "It was too late. He had established his leadership of SDS." At this point, Neier expresses his basic ideology: "I was anti-Soviet and anti-Communist and was appalled by arguments that Soviet repression and the invasion of Hungary were defensive actions.... Also, the language about 'participatory democracy' sounded to me like a justification for demagogy." Neier says he regretted losing SDS (then soon leaving LID) because the "political views I wanted to promote...were essentially those I have maintained ever since."" [1]


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Scott L. Malcomson, "Justice Talking", The Nation, October 20, 2003.
  2. Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Morality's Avenging Angels: The New Humanitarian Crusaders", Znet, 30 August 2005.
  3. Trustees, Central European University, accessed July 3, 2009.
  4. Advisory Council, Global Philanthropy Forum, accessed January 9, 2010.
  5. Staff, Coalition for International Justice (Archived page from 2003), accessed June 1, 2010.

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