In a dark return to history, Harvard has again made itself unsafe to Jewish students. The storied Harvard Crimson made the mistake of endorsing the antisemitic BDS campaign on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Over the past year, we have witnessed a troubling trend of the Harvard Crimson’s increasingly hostile bias against the State of Israel in favor of shamelessly promoting the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC), a group dedicated to spreading misinformation and lies relating to the conflict.
The Crimson’s decision to promote BDS and a “free Palestine” continues this trend. Importantly, we must question what a “free Palestine” is to the editorial board as Palestinians have rejected proposals for Palestinian independence and peace – not Israelis. The Crimson’s “support” of those “subject to violence” flips the conflict on its head as Hamas targets civilians- not Israel.
Palestinian rejectionism is inherently antisemitic; the trend intensified with the rise of Nazi Sympathizer Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who led efforts to expel and oppress Jews living in the Levant. Today, Palestinian leaders follow in Al-Husseini’s footsteps. Hamas- the genocidal terrorist organization governing Gaza, seeks nothing less than the destruction of Israel and Jews worldwide. The Palestinian Authority is no different- paying terrorists to attack Israeli civilians- known as pay-for-slay. By positioning themselves firmly against Israel and supporting PSC’s calls for Palestinian “resistance,” The Crimson shows a complete disregard for Jewish safety.
Relying on thoroughly debunked Human Rights Watch and Amnesty reports, the Crimson accuses Israel of apartheid- which even harsh critic of Israel and anti-Apartheid judge Richard Goldstone considers slander. The reports cheapen the experience of South African Apartheid’s victims.
The editorial board’s endorsement of BDS and abhorrent anti-normalization tactics employed by PSC is purely hypocritical. It calls their supposed condemnation of “a certain community-wide tendency to dismiss opposing views as inherently offensive and unworthy” into question.
BDS, by design, refuses to acknowledge other views of the conflict leading us further from a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
What does the editorial board hope to accomplish by endorsing BDS? Will the editorial board’s stance affect how writers report on Israel – including Jewish students? Will The Crimson treat different views as taboo and refuse to publish them- perpetuating the tendency they lament while breaking the journalistic ideals of neutrality and objectivity?
In the words of Omar Barghouti – co-founder of BDS, the campaign seeks nothing less than Israel’s destruction. It is intrinsically antisemitic – denying Jews of their history, peoplehood, and right to self-determination.
The Crimson’s embrace of the Palestine Solidarity Committee is concerning considering the group’s history of radicalism and support for extremists like Mohammad El-Kurd. When asked what would happen to Israelis in a Free Palestine, he responded, “I truly sincerely don’t give a f*ck.” El-Kurd’s history of antisemitism, support for terrorism, and violence against Israeli civillians is profoundly concerning. Is this the “violent reality” The Crimson editorial board is reluctant to condemn?
The Crimson’s “broad and proud” support of the “PSC’s mission and activism, including its recent art display,” is especially concerning. This refers to the PSC’s recent “apartheid” wall- which the Crimson falsely refers to as a “resistance” wall. This reframing of words shows the Crimson working to present a softer image for the PSC – breaking their role as neutral arbiters of information.
The wall falsely calls Zionism racism and white supremacy – incredibly offensive to the movement for Jewish self-determination. The idea that Zionism is white supremacy is deeply antisemitic- conflating an indigenous people’s return to their homeland with America’s dark history of racism. It also ignores that over half of Israel’s Jews are of Middle Eastern origin, ethnically cleansed from Arab and Muslim lands- with only one place to go: Israel.
Once again, we must question what a “Free Palestine” actually means – as the Crimson leaves this unclear. Rejecting any form of negotiation or two-state solution- to BDS “Free Palestine” means the end of Israel. The Crimson’s embrace of the erasure of the world’s lone Jewish state is deeply troubling. To cover this up, they state that Jews, like all people, “deserve nothing less than life, peace, and security”- proven impossible without an independent, secure Jewish state.
The Crimson has long been where the world’s best and brightest journalists get their start. Among its former editors are Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. By endorsing prejudiced calls for divestment and the “activism” of campus hate group Palestine Solidarity Committee, the editorial board has compromised intellectual honesty and journalistic ethics.
It should be deeply concerning to all members of the Harvard community that the university’s commitment to “respect for the rights, differences, and dignity of others, honesty, and integrity in all dealings” no longer applies to Jewish and pro-Israel students.
Grant Newman is a graduate of Harvard Law School and an adjunct at The MirYam Institute and Matthew Blicher is a third-year student at Northeastern University and a 2021-2022 CAMERA On-Campus Fellow.
This article was originally featured in JewishBoston.