Marie Harf Wrote Thesis on How Conservative Support for Israel Complicates US Foreign Policy

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf wrote her college honors thesis on “how conservative evangelical support for Israel complicates U.S. foreign policy,” according to Indiana University records.

Harf’s thesis further illustrates the collegiate thinking in an Obama administration that has alienated a key American ally in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Harf, 33, previously worked on Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Harf’s Indiana University honors political science professor said that Harf did not plan to pursue political science like her professor father Jim, but that she ended up becoming “pretty good” at it.

“I always had a soft spot for Jim, since he first helped me realize I might be good at this line of work, and for Marie, who initially had no intention of following in her father’s footsteps but who turned out to pretty good at political analysis herself,” the professor said.

Harf generated controversy this week for saying that the way to combat terrorists like ISIS is to help get them jobs.

“But we cannot win this war by killing them, we cannot kill our way out of this war,” Harf said on Chris Matthews’ MSNBC program. “We need, in the longer term, medium and longer term, to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs.”

Harf later doubled down on her remarks, saying that her view is simply too nuanced for media commentators to ingest.

“Longer term, we cannot kill every terrorist around the world, nor should we try,” Harf told CNN. “How do you get at the root causes of this? Look, it might be too nuanced an argument for some, like I’ve seen over the past 24 hours some of the commentary out there, but it’s really the smart way that Democrats, Republicans, military commanders, our partners in the Arab world think we need to combat this.”

Harf’s comments have been widely mocked through the #JobsForISIS Twitter hasthtag.

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Correction: Harf’s quote has been corrected to accurately reflect the transcript of her remarks.

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Patrick Howley