Jewish undergraduates at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts received mock eviction notices last week which had been distributed by a radical anti-Israel group, the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee, in advance of and as a “coming attraction” to Harvard’s Israel Apartheid Week.
The notices read:
We regret to inform you that your suite is scheduled for demolition in the next three days.
If you do not vacate the premise within this time frame, we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings. We are hereby released of any liability for damage to any persons or effects including gross negligence. You will receive an invoice for the charges of demolition and waste removal soon.
This may seem like unrealistically harsh treatment, but this is the actual state of affairs in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaa Strip. Around 25,000, homes have been destroyed by the Israeli military occupation forces since 1967 resulting in the internal displacement of over 160,000 Palestinians. All of this is against international law yet continues to this day.
Harvard’s Israel Apartheid Week took place this past week, March 3 – 9. However, other than the mock eviction notices and some tattered sandwich board-type signs protesting the “Illegal Occupation,” some of which looked as if they had been re-cycled from other protests, there were only two scheduled events.
The first event was the propaganda movie about protests against the security fence, “5 Broken Cameras,” which was shown on March 7. Then, on March 8, one of the oldest voices against Israel, linguist Noam Chomsky, spoke about “Lessons from Apartheid South Africa.” That’s it.
Harvard students were apparently less blase about the “Israel Apartheid” events than had been the case in the past.
Senior Seven J. Triconowicz shared his negative view of the events with the school paper.
“I feel like [Israeli Apartheid Week] goes against what Harvard stands for as a place for open academic dialogue, open thoughts, and open intellectual activity,” said Tricanowicz. “I find it kind of concerning that an event is going on in a way that promotes polarization and closed-mindedness.” His statements echo similar sentiments expressed by Oxford University students about an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions motion which was soundly defeated last month.
One of the organizers of the mock eviction notices, senior Yacoub H. Kureh, was reportedly “dismayed” that some of the notices had been ripped up and thrown down on the ground. Imagine.
Even Jewish student leaders expressed disapproval of what amounts to childish pranks and one-sided information filled with inaccuracies, a welcome change from the past and from the situation at many other campuses.
Junior Sara Kantor ’14, co-chair of Harvard Students for Israel, told the school paper that she believes the Harvard Israeli Apartheid Week is “inherently problematic.”
“We feel bad responding to something that is so outside the spectrum of what we are willing to engage in,” said Kantor. “The issue is that it no longer becomes a question of dialogue—it simply becomes rhetoric and demonizes an entire nation and people.”
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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