A slogan that has come to embody the dreams of Hamas supporters that Israel will be wiped away is just fine with more than 100 members of Harvard University’s faculty.
Harvard has been front and center in the debate over rampant anti-Semitism on college campuses. Israel was barely regaining control of communities where the high tide of October’s Hamas slaughter crested when Harvard student groups were proclaiming “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”
As donors distanced themselves and the college came under attack, President Claudine Gay tried to reverse course.
“I affirm our commitment to protecting all members of our community from harassment and marginalization, and our commitment to meeting antisemitism head-on, with the determination it demands,” Gay wrote in an email to students, according to the Harvard Crimson.
“Our community must understand that phrases such as ‘from the river to the sea’ bear specific historical meanings that to a great many people imply the eradication of Jews from Israel and engender both pain and existential fears within our Jewish community,” Gay wrote. “I condemn this phrase and any similarly hurtful phrases.”
“Antisemitism has no place at Harvard,” Gay continued.
The more than 100 learned professors pushing back said the phrase had “a long and complicated history and that Gay’s words “necessarily implying removalism or even eliminationism,” were “imprudent as a matter of university policy and badly misjudged as an act of moral leadership.”
The faculty were “profoundly dismayed,” their letter said.
More than 100 @Harvard faculty members signed a letter defending the genocidal chant ‘From the river to the sea’ saying it has a “long and complicated history.”
Academic freedom at Harvard apparently means freedom to openly hate Jews.https://t.co/1zkfunFQYQ
— Aviva Klompas (@AvivaKlompas) November 17, 2023
The letter also pushed back against Harvard Chabad President Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi who attached the student-led Palestinian Solidarity Committee as “supporting terrorism” and called for it to be shut down.
“At a moment when an affiliate of the University has with apparent impunity stood in the yard and accused students of supporting terrorism, your delineation of the limits of acceptable expression on our campus is dangerously one-sided,” the letter said.
The letter also demanded Gay act to support “intellectual freedom” at Harvard and create “an advisory group on Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism,” according to the Christian Post.
“[N]o honest observer looking at the record of the last few years and especially at the last month can suppose that universities’ responses including Harvard to antisemitism have paralleled in vigor or volume the responses to racism or other forms of prejudice,” he wrote.
“For example, with few exceptions, those most directly charged with confronting prejudice — Offices of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion — have failed to stand with Israeli and Jewish students confronting the oldest prejudice of them all,” he wrote.
Summers wrote that “singling out Israel with widely understood calls for its annihilation is Jew hatred of an unacceptable sort” noting that universities must recognize “that there is evil in the world and considering with the greatest of care and seriousness how to respond.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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