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Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 15:57 GMT
Poet Paulin 'banned from Harvard'
Tom Paulin
Tom Paulin: Regular on Newsnight's Late Review
Poet Tom Paulin has been banned from Harvard after saying American Jews settling in the occupied territories were "Nazis" who should be "shot dead", according to reports.

Paulin, who grew up in Belfast, was due to give the prestigious Morris Gray poetry reading at the Boston university on Friday night, but the event was cancelled on Tuesday.

The university said it was "by mutual consent of the poet and the English department", the Guardian newspaper reported on Friday.

More than 100 students and members of staff protested at the poet's invitation because of his steadfastly anti-Israeli views, it reported.

Occupied territories

The protests were over an interview the poet recently conducted with Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram, where he repeated anti-Israeli views.

He reportedly told the paper that American Jews who settled in the occupied territories ""should be shot dead.

"I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them."

The paper also quoted him as saying ""I never believed that Israel had the right to exist at all."

In a statement, the Harvard University said they had invited Paulin because of his poetic history, but had to rescind the invitation after his anti-Israeli comments.

Paulin, a member of Hertford College at Oxford, has been teaching at Columbia University in New York.

The university has been criticised by Paulin's Colleague, Columbia lecturer Jim Shapiro.

He said banning a speaker on account of his political views had set a "dangerous precedent".

Paulin, who won the Somerset Maugham prize in 1977 for his first collection of poetry, A State of Justice.

He is a regular on the BBC Two arts discussion programme Newsnight Review.

See also:

22 Apr 02 | England
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