Harvard student paper “proudly” supports the boycott movement, says it rejects anti-Semitism

JTA – For years, the editorial board of Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper at Harvard University, refused to support the boycott of Israel movement, even though it expressed concern about Israeli policies and supported the free speech rights of Harvard student groups. Defend the boycott.

That changed on Friday, when the newspaper published Unsigned editorial giving full support to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movementin a powerful symbol of the changing campus climate around Israel.

The editorial also expressed its support for Harvard University’s Palestine Solidarity Committee, a student group that has been hosting over the past week the school’s chapter of the annual international event “Israel Apartheid Week.”

The Crimson Editorial Board wrote: “We are proud to finally give our support to both Palestinian liberation and BDS – and call on everyone to do the same.”

It was a noticeable shift from the paper History of BDS Opposition, which was cited by the Council in its opening. Recently in 2020, Crimson . appeared Express duplication.

“In the past, our board of directors has been skeptical about the movement (if not, in general, about its goals), arguing The editorial said that the boycott movement as a whole “did not touch on the nuances and peculiarities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” “We regret and reject this view.”

What has changed, Crimson editors said, is “the weight of this moment – Israel’s violations of human rights and international law and Palestine’s cry for freedom”.

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While previous Crimson editors have called comparisons between apartheid-era Israel and South Africa “offensive” and “disgusting,” the editorial published on Friday compares favorably the tactics of BDS with the anti-apartheid movement, while adding that “Israel remains America’s favorite blind spot in the amendment” because individuals and companies who criticize Israel regularly face criticism and consequences, sometimes dictated by state laws.

Students walk past the Widener Library at Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, August 13, 2019 (AP/Charles Krupa, File)

Coming from the oldest continuously deployed campus in the United States, at the country’s most selective college, Crimson’s support is sure to fuel pro-Israel fears that college campuses are inhospitable to students who support Israel. Pro-Palestinian advocacy is common in universities and last year 11 student governments issued BDS decisionsout of 17 that were considered.

Like both republicans And Democratic leadersJewish groups across the political spectrum oppose the BDS movement, which was started by Palestinian activists, because they say its opposition to Israel’s very existence is dangerous for Jews. Sponsor of the BDS Resolution in Burlington, Vermont, last year He withdrew the proposal after being convinced that the movement was contributing to anti-Semitism; It would have been the first American city to pass such a decision.

The newspaper also attributed the credit to the activity of the Palestine Solidarity Committee on campus, which included this week Installation of the “wall of resistance” at Harvard Yard; Campus visits from controversial pro-Palestinian Jewish academic activists Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein (the last of them BDS conflict); And discussion panels on social justice on “Black Palestinian Solidarity” and “Palestinian Gay”[s]. “

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As with most newspapers, Crimson’s editorial staff is separate from its news department. Its 90 members meet three times a week to discuss and decide on positions they need to take, and editorials reflect majority opinion but not complete consensus, according to its website.

On the news side, the current Crimson staff has at least one Jewish editor: news editor Natalie Kahn, who is also student president for Harvard Hillel. As in Hillel, Kahn . was Quoted in Crimson He criticized the installation on the wall, calling it “disgusting” and helping to organize a “Stand Up with Israel rally” on campus to oppose it.

View of Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

The editorial said the council did not believe the “wall of resistance” constituted anti-Semitism. “We unequivocally oppose and condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms,” ​​the editorial said.

Neither Crimson nor Kan’s editors responded to requests for comment by the Jewish Telegraph Agency at press time.

Among the members of the editorial board and former Jewish editors of the Crimson Foundation were current US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Attorney General Merrick Garland; journalists Yair Rosenberg and Irene Carmon; Former CNN President Jeff Zucker.

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