Harvard professor steps down from anti-Zionist organizations amid antisemitic backlash

The Harvard University community has roundly condemned the political cartoon posted by PSC and HFJP.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

The leader of the two anti-Zionist Harvard University groups that posted an antisemitic cartoon on social media has resigned from his positions, according to an announcement first reported by The Harvard Crimson on Tuesday.

Walter Johnson, who teaches African and African American Studies at Harvard, left his role as faculty adviser of the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Committee (PSC) and ended his membership in Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine (HFSJP), of which he was the first founding member.

The announcement follows a controversy prompted by PSC’s and HFSJP’s sharing an antisemitic image depicting a left-hand tattooed with a Star of David, and containing a dollar sign at its center, dangling a Black man and an Arab man from a noose.

PSC told the Crimson that Johnson already planned to resign. HFSJP issued no comment before publication.

“Conversations about Professor Johnson’s stepping down from the position were ongoing,” PSC said. “His term was up in the spring and he had let us know he was not going to renew. This was a personal decision and he remains supportive of our goals as an organization. We are grateful for his time and support and wish him all the best.”

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Under Johnson’s leadership, PSC — while scenes of Hamas terrorists abducting children and desecrating dead bodies circulated worldwide — issued a statement blaming Israel for the attack and accusing the Jewish state of operating an “open air prison” in Gaza, despite that the Israeli military withdrew from the territory in 2005.

In the weeks that followed, the group stormed the campus screaming “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “globalize the intifada,” terrorizing Jewish students and preventing some from attending class.

Their activities, and the reluctance of the university to stop them, have led to a series of antisemitism scandals and prompted a federal investigation, which is being conducted by the US House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Other incidents have blighted the reputation of Harvard University, America’s oldest and, arguably, most prestigious institution of higher education. Since the October 7 massacre by Hamas, Harvard has been accused of fostering a culture of racial grievance and antisemitism.

Important donors have suspended funding for programs. Its first Black president, Claudine Gay, resigned in disgrace last month after being outed as a serial plagiarist. Her tenure was the shortest in the school’s history.

The Harvard University community has roundly condemned the political cartoon posted by PSC and HFJP.

The Harvard Crimson, which only a year-and-a-half ago endorsed the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, said in an editorial published by its board on Wednesday that it exemplified that “campus discourse has gone toxic.”

PSC apologized, chastising itself for showing “ignorance and inadequate oversight.” Interim president Alan Garber, even suggested that the parties involved in sharing the image will be disciplined. The Harvard Crimson noted that it “certainly passed through many hands” before “someone, in the end, pressed post.”

“The members of the [Harvard Corporation] join me in unequivocally condemning the posting and sharing of the cartoon in question,” interim president Garber said in a statement. “The university will review the situation to better understand who was responsible for this posting and to determine what further steps are warranted.”