Harvard faces backlash over supporting BDS, Palestinian nation
The Harvard Crimson is facing backlash from campus Jewish groups, along with some high-profile Harvard faculty and alumni, after the newspaper’s Editorial Board last month endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls on Western institutions to cut ties with Israel.
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In a staff editorial published on April 29, The Crimson’s Editorial Board endorsed BDS, which seeks to put international pressure on Israel over the country’s treatment of Palestinians.
In a statement, The Crimson’s president, Raquel Coronell Uribe ’22-’23, wrote that the newspaper is committed to “journalistic integrity, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression.”
“The Crimson strives for diversity and inclusivity in all respects, from diversity of identity to diversity of opinion,” Coronell Uribe wrote. “The Crimson rejects discrimination, including antisemitism, in all its forms — both among our staff and in our pages.”
The staff editorial said “support for Palestinian liberation is not anti-Semitic,” adding: “We unambiguously oppose and condemn antisemitism in every and all forms.”
The editorial was published on the heels of the annual Israel Apartheid Week, put on at Harvard by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, a student group “dedicated to supporting the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, justice, and equality through raising awareness, advocacy, and non-violent resistance”
As part of the demonstrations, the PSC put up a mural in Harvard Yard that said, “Zionism is Racism Settler Colonialism White Supremacy Apartheid.”
At a Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences meeting earlier this month, Government professor Eric M. Nelson ’99 questioned University President Lawrence S. Bacow about the “eruption of antisemitism on campus,” pointing to The Crimson’s editorial and the mural symbol that was found in Currier House earlier this month.
Staff editorials published by The Crimson have previously been critical of Israel, but last month marked the first time the board had endorsed the BDS movement.
Days later, Daniel A. Swanson ’74, who was president of The Crimson in 1973, sent in his own letter to the editor applauding the editorial.
In an interview, Swanson said it took “tremendous courage” for the Editorial Board to publish the piece, adding that the United States press corps has done a “poor job” covering the Israel-Palestine conflict.