A former fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Philip Mattar is president of the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC). He holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, is associate editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, and has been a member of the advisory committee for Human Rights Watch/Middle East since 1993. He has taught at the City University of New York, Georgetown University, and Yale University. Moreover, he is the editor of the Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, and the co-editor of The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East.
Since 1984 Mattar has been the Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS), a quasi-academic organization that was founded in Beirut and has maintained longstanding, close (though unacknowledged) ties to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). According to a State Department official, IPS is “the unofficial academic wing of the PLO.”
In a July 1992 National Geographic article titled “Who are the Palestinians?” Mattar claimed that the Palestinians are descended from a pre-Israelite people known as the Canaanites; this was Mattar’s attempt to cast doubt upon the legitimacy of Israel’s claim to the ancient land of the Hebrews.
In 1992 Columbia University Press released a revised edition of Mattar’s book, The Mufti of Jerusalem: Al-Hajj Amin Al-Hussaini, Founder of the Palestinian National Movement. In this screed, Mattar does not mention that Al-Hussaini, the leader of the Palestinians from the 1930s until the 1950s, formed a close alliance with Adolph Hitler and the Nazis during World War II; that Al-Hussaini established a special Muslim Waffen SS Division, known as the Handschar Division, in Bosnia and Herzegovina; that this division committed war crimes and atrocities against Serb Christians; or that the postwar Yugoslavian government consequently indicted the Mufti as a war criminal.