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June 1, 2021 6:47 pm

Harvard Police Investigating Vandalism of Jewish Center After Window Smashed, Palestinian Flag Zip-Tied to Door

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Widener Library at Harvard University. Photo: Joseph Williams

Rabbi Jonah C. Steinberg of Harvard Hillel confirmed on Tuesday that Harvard University Police Department were investigating two acts of vandalism targeting the Jewish group’s Reisman Center in the Rosovsky Hall campus building.

The most recent incident, which is the second in two weeks, occurred during a party on Mount Auburn Street when someone shattered one of Rosovsky Hall’s windows, according to an email from Steinberg seen by The Algemeiner.

Police have not yet determined whether the offender “specifically aimed” the impacting object at the building.

Several days earlier, Rabbi Steinberg added, two masked people “zip-tied” a “Palestinian flag bearing [an] anti-police slogan … to the front door of Rosovsky Hall.”

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He suggested the second act may be connected to a recent Cambridge City Council meeting featuring “public testimony on both a boycott resolution against Israel and a resolution on police-defunding.”

“The essence of Harvard Hillel is a welcoming, inclusive, and resilient togetherness, which I regard as indomitable in the face of hatred and violence,” Steinberg said.

Rising Harvard senior Sam Meyerson told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that he was alarmed that the Reisman Center — his “home on campus” — has now twice been a target for antisemitic harassment.

“The current rise in antisemitism is scary and it is occurring across the United States in cities that have traditionally been safe places for Jews relative to the rest of the world,” Meyerson said, adding that he was “heartened” by a Friday statement from Harvard University President Larry Bacow calling for an end to anti-Jewish hate.

Bacow described “a disturbing rise in antisemitism, including violent acts that target Jews” across the United States, citing the vandalism at Rosovsky Hall as an example.

“People have been beaten for the simple act of wearing a yarmulke,” he said. “Synagogues have been defaced; Jews have been harassed in the streets, and antisemitic social media postings have become common.”

He then asked the Harvard community to fight antisemitism “collectively.”

“As the words of Revered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remind us, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ It is our collective responsibility to speak out and condemn such acts of hatred and bigotry. Let us work together to build a better Harvard and a better nation.”

Meyerson told The Algemeiner he is grateful that Bacow “explicitly condemned” antisemitism, and alluded to instances such as the recent flurry of statements at Rutgers University — where a message of concern issued to the Jewish community was followed by an apology over perceived lack of support for Palestinians on campus.

“Unfortunately many prominent figures — from politicians to college presidents — have refused to condemn antisemitism unless also condemning all other forms of hate,” Meyerson said. “I don’t think it should be difficult to condemn antisemitism.”

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