is "VERITAS." It's shield and class rings display it. At issue is anti-Palestinian
Harvard Political Review (HPR) explained. It's separate from Harvard's
Crimson. HC's the nation's oldest continuously published college newspaper.
It began as a fortnightly. For decades it's been a daily.
It was founded in 1873. Past editors included Franklin Roosevelt and Jack
Kennedy. Undergraduates staff it. Some pursue journalism careers.
HPR calls itself "America's preeminent undergraduate journal of politics
and public policy." It's "nonpartisan." It's "written and published entirely
by Harvard undergraduates." Harvard's Institute of Politics provides help.
On March 10, HPR published a Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC)
letter. More on that below.
PSC supports Palestine's liberating struggle. It's non-sectarian. It believes
peace depends on guaranteed Palestinian self-determination and equality.
Its mission statement says they're only possible if Israel's occupation
ends, its Separation Wall is dismantled, Israeli Arabs have equal rights
as Jews, and Palestinian refugees are assured their legal right of return.
PSC "encourage(s) people of all backgrounds to join the Palestinian struggle
and show their solidarity with the Palestinian people."
It headlined "The Crimson's Anti-Palestinian Bias." Four Harvard students
contributed: Lena Awwad, Giacomo Bagarella, Asmaa Rimawi and Hannah Schafer.
Shafer's a rabbi's daughter. She's "deeply offended that the Crimson keeps
publishing pieces that label our PSC activism on campus as anti-Semitic."
She calls doing so "defamatory." Crimson editors "should be ashamed of
themselves," she says.
PCS challenges Crimson editorial policy. It silences Palestinian voices.
Palestinian students and supporters "feel alienated."
Examples below highlight the issue.
In March 2012, PSC organized a Harvard Kennedy School One State Conference.
Harvard's Office of the Provost, the Weatherhead Center for International
Affairs, and Carr Center for Human Rights co-sponsored it.
Half the conference's organizers and speakers were Jewish. Crimson editors
called its agenda "deeply wrong." They pre-judged it. They did so before
the conference began.
Views expressed were wrongheaded. Claiming speakers ignored Jewish self-determination
was absurd on its face. Many addressed it comprehensively. Some proposed
a one-state solution. They urged equal rights for all Israeli citizens.
One-fifth are Palestinians.
Crimson editors claimed "only the two state solution protects and respects
the national aspirations of both Jews and Palestinians."
Saying so turns truth on its head. Years ago two states were possible.
No longer. Israel controls over half the West Bank and much of East Jerusalem.
More land is stolen daily.
Had Crimson editors attended the conference, they'd have heard cogent
opinions on both sides. They'd have known what went on. Their commentary
could have reported it accurately.
In October 2012, they "put Palestinian students through a nightmar(ish)"
week. A PSC commentary followed. Complying with Crimson editing requirements
was "shocking." Statements of fact were challenged.
At issue was attempted censorship. Imposing it was unconscionable. At
PSC's insistence, its op-ed was posted online.
Crimson editors removed it. They did again after it was reposted. They
shamed themselves in the process. They violated journalistic ethics. They
have no right being editors.
They finally published it for circulation. It wasn't easy getting them
to do so. It was shocking to have to try.
In February 2013, they targeted PSC again. They did so unjustly. They
called it anti-Semitic for supporting the Global Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions (BDS) campaign. It seeks vitally important change.
This writer's a proud cultural member. People of conscience everywhere
should join. They should lend support. They should do it because it matters.
Crimson editors feel otherwise. Zionists want Israeli criticism quashed.
They go all-out to do it. They employ no-holds-barred tactics.
PSC deplores racism. It does so in all forms. Anti-Semitism has no place
in civilized societies. It's intolerable everywhere.
BDS targets Israel economically and politically. It challenges organizations
and businesses complicit with occupation harshness.
It's inspired by South Africa's anti-apartheid boycott. It worked because
it had teeth. BDS effectiveness against Israel increases.
It's vital. It needs widespread support. Many Jews agree. It has nothing
to do with anti-Semitism. Saying so is morally reprehensible and false.
Harvard's Progressive Jewish Alliance launched an Open Hillel campaign.
It targeted the Harvard chapter's ban on BDS discussions.
PCS is involved in Israeli Apartheid week activities. They're ongoing
now. Lectures are presented. Films are shown. Apartheid crimes are explained.
On March 5, Crimson editors considered another anti-PSC commentary. At
issue is comparing Israel to South Africa. Honest observers know it's
worse. They say so openly and forthrightly.
Crimson editors objected. PSC members urged they reconsider. They refused.
They prohibited dissenting opinions.
PSC submitted an op-ed anyway. It included challenging views. They were
presented responsibly. They were grounded in international law. Crimson
editors wouldn't print it.
On March 9, they published their own commentary. They attacked PSC. They
denied the right to respond. Harvard marginalizes Israeli criticism. Doing
so is longstanding.
Palestinians and supporters have a right to be heard. Silencing them is
unconscionable. Doing so violates Harvard's core motto. "VERITAS" must
be more than just words.