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March 14, 2013 1:54 am

Despite Jewish Outrage, Harvard Silent on Israel Apartheid Week “Eviction Notices”

avatar by Max Elstein Keisler

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A Harvard student posted this picture of one of the "eviction notices" on their facebook page.

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.”

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  • Emily

    As a Jewish Harvard student, I would like to say that this article is misleading — Jewish students were NOT specifically targeted by these notices. They were posted on all students’ doors, not just Jewish students, and in no way singled out Jewish students. When this article states that “mock eviction notices were tacked to the dorm doors of several Jewish students,” it fails to note that the exact same notices were also posted on all the other non-Jewish students’ doors in those dorms.

    • Max Elstein Keisler

      Emily, as I made clear in our discourse, this article does not state that Jewish students were specifically targeted. Your issues with reading comprehension reflect on yourself, not this article.

      • mstr

        “…to the dorm doors of several Jewish students, courtesy of the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee as part of their “Israel Apartheid Week” activities”

        Specific targeting is EXACTLY what you are implying here and it’s laughable for you to claim otherwise. If you’re going to be a conniving Zionist and twist words for your own agenda, then own it. Don’t play coy.

        • Carl

          ” If you’re going to be a conniving Zionist and twist words for your own agenda, then own it”. Don’t count on it, they never do. “So can I give no reason, nor I will not, More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing”.

  • Jay

    Socialism at its finest. Expecting to be listened to, but not hearing anyone else.

  • Yasmine Ali

    First of all, Harvard officials dare not say anything – most of their funding come from relatives of ours in Saudi Arabia. Secondly, speaking out against injustices against poor muslims who are fighting for freedom is not wrong and should not be condemned!

    • James Weatherworth

      It is racial profiling, Yasmine. What if all the non-Muslims on campus pinned notices on your Muslim doors saying “you have one day to live, after which we will come in with bombs strapped to our chests and blow ourselves up next to you. Jihad Jihad! We will kill ourselves and kill all infidels! Suicide! Jihad! I want blood and I hate Jews!”

      Lol all we’d be doing after all is “speaking out against injustices against poor innocents being murdered by suicidal Muslims and should not be condemned.”

  • Felicity Scott

    In targeting and identifying Jewish students publicly this group is putting them at risk. If Harvard allows students of one relio-ethnic group to be targeted in this manner without action, then Harvard is saying that particular relio-ethnic group has no right to feel safe while on campus. Pretty sure that’s illegal in the state of Massachusetts. Quoting Chapter 22, Section 32 of the state of Massachusetts General Laws: ” “Hate crime”, any criminal act coupled with overt actions motivated by bigotry and bias including, but not limited to, a threatened, attempted or completed overt act motivated at least in part by racial, religious, ethnic, handicap, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation prejudice, or which otherwise deprives another person of his constitutional rights by threats, intimidation or coercion, or which seek to interfere with or disrupt a person’s exercise of constitutional rights through harassment or intimidation. Hate crime shall also include, but not be limited to, acts that constitute violations of sections thirty-seven and thirty-nine of chapter two hundred and sixty-five, section one hundred and twenty-seven A of chapter two hundred and sixty-six and chapter two hundred and seventy-two.”

  • richard sherman

    The Harvard administration is silent because antisemitism has become foundationL to.Harvard just as it is to San Francisco State and Columbia..Jew bashing is acceptable on campus today but do not let anyone criticize the sociopath Muhammad who personally decapitated 900 unarme jews at Quarayza.

    • Jew

      It’s time to form the JDL- once again we r needed

  • Eric R.

    Harvard will put up with this until rich Jewish alumni decide to stop giving money. Then Harvard would have an about face.