In a dark return to history, Harvard University has again made itself unsafe to Jewish students. The storied Harvard Crimson editorial board has now endorsed the antisemitic BDS campaign, which demands the end of the world’s only Jewish state, the day after Yom HaShoah, in which we remember the tragic consequences of statelessness for the Jewish people. This is a culmination of the past year, in which 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. 

What stands out most about The Crimson’s statement is how uninformed the editorial board is. 

They claim that Israel denies Palestinians their sovereignty, but are they aware of the times that the Palestinians themselves rejected offers of sovereignty, in Camp David in 2000, as well as the offer of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008? 

The board speaks of “unlawful killing,” but are the members aware of the Palestinian Authority’s payments to Palestinians who are convicted of murdering Israelis, or other terror attacks?

The board speaks of an “assault on the sovereignty of the West Bank,” but are the members aware that Palestinians have never in history had sovereignty over the whole West Bank, and that the limited sovereignty they have today arose from the Oslo Accords

The board speaks of “illegal settlements that difficults [sic] the prospect of a two-state solution,” but have the members ever stopped to ask why Jews who live in the West Bank cannot become citizens of a future Palestinian state? 

Since, by their own account, the primary driver of their decision is an art installation, perhaps this lack of awareness of facts should come as no surprise. 

Importantly, we must question what a “free Palestine” means to the editorial board, since, as noted, Palestinians have rejected multiple proposals for Palestinian independence and peace. The Crimson’s “support” of those “subject to violence” flips the conflict on its head as Hamas targets civilians, and the Palestinian Authority pays salaries to those who commit terror attacks. 

The antisemitism inherent in the rejectionism of Palestinian Arab leaders has a long history. It dates back at least to 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. By supporting a movement calling for Israel’s destruction, The Crimson shows a complete disregard for Jewish safety. 

The editorial board has endorsed a movement that openly stated the goal of which is the demise of any Jewish-majority state. In the words of Omar Barghouti, co-founder of BDS, the campaign seeks nothing less than Israel’s destruction. It is intrinsically antisemitic because it seeks to deny Jews their history, peoplehood and right to self-determination. This calls the board’s supposed condemnation of “a certain community-wide tendency to dismiss opposing views as inherently offensive and unworthy” into question. 

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?

The Crimson’s “broad and proud” support of “PSC’s mission and activism, including its recent art display,” is especially concerning. The PSC wishes us to see the conflict as a zero-sum game defined by a series of Israeli assaults on Palestinians, which could not be further from the truth

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 but life, peace, and security.” But history shows us that this is 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 F. 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.

Matthew Blicher is a third-year student at Northeastern University and a 2021-2022 CAMERA On-Campus Fellow.

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