Harvard student government passes resolution accusing Israel of genocide

Since Oct. 7th extreme anti-Zionism blurring the line separating criticism of Israel from flagrant antisemitism has loomed over Harvard.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

The Harvard Law School (HLS) Student Government has passed a divestment resolution that falsely accuses Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza, a controversial charge which some scholars and lawmakers have deemed as antisemitic in accordance with the world’s leading definition of antisemitism.

“Be it resolved, Harvard Law School Student Government formally calls upon [Harvard Management Company] to divest completely from weapons manufacturers, firms, academic programs, corporations, and all other institutions that aid the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine and the genocide of Palestinians, including withdrawing investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments,” the resolution says.

The measure’s passing — by a vote of 12-4 with 3 abstentions, according to The Harvard Crimson — follows what has been described by dissident students as a “rushed” process to bring it before the body for a vote and questionable amendments to its constitution to allow for a secret ballot concealing from the public how members voted.

Normally, per its own bylaws, the student government would hold an in-person roll call vote.

Extreme anti-Zionism blurring the line separating criticism of Israel from flagrant antisemitism has loomed over Harvard University since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, in which the terrorist group slaughtered hundreds of civilians and committed heinous acts of rape.

As harrowing footage of the attack circulated online in its immediate aftermath, 31 student groups at Harvard issued a statement blaming Israel for the attack, accusing the Jewish state of operating an “open air prison” in Gaza.

Friday’s action, undertaken by law students who will go on to work at some of America’s most prestigious firms and may one day serve in government, is disturbing, according to Shabbos Kestenbaum, a graduate student at the Harvard Divinity School.

“The resolution’s unconstitutional and anonymous passing by Harvard students who are slated to work for law firms that either have extensive dealings with Israeli businesses or offices in Israel prove one thing,” Kestenbaum told The Algemeiner. “They are as cowardly as they are antisemitic.”

Following the vote, The Crimson reported that two HLS Student Government members, Cameron Adkins and Regina De Nigris, have resigned and proclaimed that they “strongly disagree” with the constitutional violations that had to happen for it to take place.

“The resolution has been pushed through at the last possible minute to avoid running up against the end of this student government’s term, and, perhaps, to insulate the student government from receiving contrary input,” they said in a resignation letter obtained by the campus paper. “We voiced our disagreement to the student government at every opportunity … Our concerns, however, were pushed aside.”

Swap Agrawal, who wrote the resolution and will be graduating this May, defended the resolution as necessary, adding that “a strong majority of students believe strongly” in it.

The past six months have been described by critics of Harvard as a low-point in the history of the school, America’s oldest and, arguably, most prestigious institution of higher education.

Since the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas, Harvard has been accused of fostering a culture of racial grievance and antisemitism, while important donors have suspended funding for programs. The school’s 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.

In November, a mob of anti-Zionists — including Ibrahim Bharmal, editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review — followed, surrounded, and intimidated a Jewish student. “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” the crush of people screamed in a call-and-response chant into the ears of the student who — as seen in footage of the incident — was forced to duck and dash the crowd to free himself from the cluster of bodies that encircled him.

In December, Gay — along with her then-counterparts Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) — was hauled before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to account for her administration’s handling of surging antisemitism on campus.

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For weeks, Gay had been reluctant to punish students who chanted genocidal slogans and to unequivocally condemn antisemitism.

During questioning, she told the committee that determining whether calling for a genocide of Jews constitutes a violation of school rules depends “on the context.”

The welter of incidents at Harvard has prompted a congressional investigation, with which the school has been allegedly non-compliant.

Last month, US Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the education and workforce committee, wrote Harvard a censorious letter accusing school officials of obstructing the committee’s investigation with “grossly insufficient” responses to its inquiries and by submitting content of a “limited and dilatory nature.”