BDS Propaganda at Harvard Crimson
victorgrigas, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

BDS Propaganda at Harvard Crimson

The Harvard Crimson editorial starkly proclaims: “We support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement as a means of achieving that goal.”

Since the editorial lacks a byline, we can only guess who wrote it. My prime suspects are Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Who else?

The editorial follows the usual course for Israel-bashers: Time it to coincide with a Jewish day of observance; contradict itself; offer no credible reason for its premise; issue broad-based allegations devoid of evidence; ignore critical context; appeal to the humanity of the victims; avoid mention of the true villains; and tout catchy phrases like “Keffiyeh Thursdays.”

The April 29 editorial’s anonymous author credits the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee with inspiring the editorial board to finally endorse BDS, the movement to undermine Israel’s economy. “PSC’s spirited activism…has forced our campus – and our editorial board – to once again wrestle with what both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called Israel’s ‘crimes against humanity’ in the region,” the editorial states.

No mention of Palestinian “crimes against humanity” such as the four terrorist raids that left 14 Israelis and others dead since March 22. An Israeli security guard was murdered after the editorial appeared.

This simplistic assessment comes from the student newspaper that serves arguably the most prestigious university in America – on the day following Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The editorial plainly contradicts itself six paragraphs in when it says: “We feel the need to assert that support for Palestinian liberation is not antisemitic. We unambiguously oppose and condemn antisemitism in every and all forms, including those times when it shows up on the fringes of otherwise worthwhile movements. Jewish people – like every people – including Palestinians – deserve nothing but life, peace and security.”

Pleased to hear that “support for Palestinian liberation is not antisemitic.” I think the editorial is right. The Palestinians should be liberated from corrupt ideologues who need to be replaced by realistic leaders ready to build a prosperous, democratic society.

That must be what they are talking about if the editorial writer is serious. Otherwise, they are insulting the intelligence of Jews, and they do not care if they are. That alone is antisemitism. Does a reasonable person need to read on? We will, anyway.

Among accusations, the editorial states, “Israeli soldiers have killed nearly 50 Palestinians, including eight children, this year alone.”

We should thank them for alerting us, and we should wonder: What were the circumstances? Why did Israeli soldiers kill these “nearly 50 Palestinians?” Because they felt like it? Or was it in self-defense?

What children were they referencing? What did these children do? Were these infants or teen-agers attacking the soldiers?

The editorial explains nothing.

Referring to an art display presented at Harvard, the editorial adds, “They direct our eyes towards the property and land confiscations, citizenship denials, movement restrictions, and unlawful killings that victimize Palestinians day in and day out.”

“Movement restriction” is a long-established strategy aimed at preventing terrorism. Some of the killers who murdered Israelis and others since March 22 slipped into Israel from the West Bank, possibly due to gaps in the network of barriers separating Israel from its eastern territories. Perhaps the editorial writer forgot that.

In the second-to-last passage, the editorial states, “The tactics embodied by BDS have a historical track record; they helped win the liberation of Black South Africans from apartheid, and have the potential to do the same for Palestinians today.

“Israel’s current policy pushes Palestinians towards indefinite statelessness, combining ethnonationalist legislation and a continued assault on the sovereignty of the West Bank through illegal settlements that difficults the prospect of a two-state solution; it merits an assertive and unflinching international response.

“The arguments made against BDS could have been and indeed were once made against South Africa, and we are no longer inclined to police the demands of a people yearning to breathe free.”

In the “so many lies, so little time” department, we could take up far more space challenging most allegations in the Crimson editorial. Likewise, we might also point to some of Israel’s mistakes in the conflict. Palestinians soundly overshadow Israel in one arena: that of screwups.

The editorial’s author gripes that the “settlement” movement “difficults the prospect of a two-state solution.” The future of a two-state solution was “difficulted” nearly 22 years ago when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected Israel’s proposal for a two-state solution that would encompass Gaza, most of the West Bank and even eastern Jerusalem.

Arafat ceded Israel’s continued control of the territory which allowed Israel to build more communities in the West Bank and, if Jerusalem was still part of the deal, Israel could not be involved with evictions of Arab residents.

Whoever is right or wrong in these instances, the Palestinians brought it on themselves. What would the Crimson editorial board suggest to resolve the situation now?

Postscript: The editorial employs the word “difficult” as a verb. I wonder if this is grammatically proper. Maybe it’s a Harvard thing. Plus, the editorial’s reference to keffiyeh Thursdays. Is this something in the order of casual Fridays?

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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