Despite Jewish Outrage, Harvard Silent on Israel Apartheid Week “Eviction Notices”
Harvard University officials have remained silent despite outrage expressed by the Anti Defamation League and Jewish students at the school following an incident in which mock eviction notices were tacked to the dorm doors of several Jewish students, courtesy of the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee as part of their “Israel Apartheid Week” activities.
“I find this sick, uninformed, and deeply offensive to peoples who have actually been the victims of racial oppression and genocide,” wrote one student on Facebook.
In a press release, Robert Trestan, ADL Acting New England Regional Director, said that “This tactic is designed to silence and intimidate pro-Israel advocates at Harvard and campuses around the country. Free expression has a place on campus; however targeting the dorms of Harvard students lends itself to creating tension, isolating students and fomenting hostility.”
One Jewish student expresses disappointment over the school’s silence. Rebecca, a freshman who received one of the eviction notices, and asked The Algemeiner not to publish her last name, compared the incident to the university’s response to a satirical Finals Club invitation which contained comments that were deemed offensive to Jews and African-Americans. In that instance, College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds issued a condemnation via email that same day. In the condemnation, Hammonds wrote that “Even if intended as satirical in nature, they are hurtful and offensive to many students, faculty and staff, and do not demonstrate the level of thoughtfulness and respect we expect at Harvard when engaging difficult issues within our community.” Hammonds could not be reached for comment. The Harvard Office of Student Life, did not respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.
Rebecca is disappointed in the university’s apparent apathy, and says her view of Harvard is changing. “I hadn’t really gotten any impression when I was looking at the school about Harvard’s sentiment toward Israel and Judaism in general, but since arriving there I have been surprised by the amount of anti-Israel sentiment I have encountered.”
She added: “I’d like to think the university maintains a neutral opinion in regards to race and ethnicity. I would hope that they would respond […] in a better way to this incident.”
The Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee denied that they had targeted Jewish or Israeli students, and said that they are “not concerned [about] disciplinary action on the part of the college.”
According to PSC secretary Giacomo Bagarella, “Nothing in the content or method of our campaign is in violation of Harvard University rules […] we have also met recently with University representatives to discuss the nature of IAW and of some of the responses that it elicited. University administrators reiterated their support to free speech and the ability of activist organizations to carry out their mission on Harvard’s campus.”