CAMERA on Campus is appalled at the shameless display of ignorant hatred at the “Harvard out of Occupied Palestine Launch Event” on February 20th, 2020. On multiple occasions throughout the night, students and panelists uttered patently absurd slurs, ranting about the “Israeli settler-colonial state,” Harvard’s supposed “nursing” of the “Israeli-Zionist monoglossia,” “hegemonic Zionism on Harvard’s campus,” as well as Israel’s “apartheid” policies – a baseless accusation that has been thoroughly debunked. For example, in the supposedly apartheid state of Israel there are Arab legislators in the Knesset, Arab diplomats in the Foreign Ministry, Arab generals in the Israel Defense Forces, and also Arab judges. In fact, it was an Arab District Court judge (George Karra) who sentenced former Israeli President Moshe Katzav to jail, and an Arab Supreme Court Justice who upheld the sentence (Salim Joubran).

Just as false as the apartheid charge were the speakers’ baseless allegations that Israel buries Palestinians in “mass graves,” that the IDF is “indistinguishable from a terrorist organization,” and that “bad-faith Zionist actors” target “grassroots, pro-Palestinian organizing.” In fact, Jews and supporters of Israel are the ones being targeted.

Presumably referencing Israel’s defensive military operation in Gaza during the summer of 2014 (Operation Protective Edge), one speaker alleged that the IDF killed “551 babies in 51 days,” a claim not even made by the terror group Hamas that rules Gaza. In fact, the total number of Palestinians aged 17 or younger killed in the fighting was 194, the majority of those being combatants aged 17 or nearly 17.

Perhaps most disturbingly, Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, declared his support for a secular, binational state in which “the indigenous Palestinians” and “colonial settlers” are treated equally. Contrary to Barghouti, Jews are the indigenous population, who lived in a sovereign kingdom thousands of years before the advent of Islam and the Arab invasion and conquest of the region.

Once again, we strongly reiterate our belief that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, as it aims to strip Jews, and only Jews, from the community of self-determining peoples.

It is deeply concerning to see such anti-Zionist hatred on Harvard University’s campus. We call on all those who care about truth and justice to make their voices heard in denouncing the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee et al.’s lies.

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