Harvard University deceived public in response to antisemitism, shocking congressional report alleges

The report concluded that Harvard never took meaningful action to address antisemitic hatred and the flouting of school rules against harassment and discrimination.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

Harvard University severely lapsed in its response to surging antisemitism on campus after Hamas’ invasion of Israel on Oct. 7 and, at times, acted disingenuously to deceive the public, according to a shocking report issued on Thursday by the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The report, generated as part of a wider investigation into Harvard, claimed that the university formed an Antisemitism Advisory Group (AAG) largely for show and did not consult it in key moments during an explosion of antisemitism there that directly followed Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel — a series of events in which Jewish students were harassed and verbally abused.

So frustrated were a “majority” of AAG members with being part of what the committee described as essentially a public relations facade that they threatened to resign from it.

“The committee’s report proves that former President [Claudine] Gay and Harvard’s leadership propped up the university’s Antisemitism Advisory Group all for show,” US Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, said in a statement.

“Not only did the AAG find that antisemitism was a major issue on campus, it offered several recommendations on how to combat the problem — none of which were ever implemented with any real vigor. This shocking revelation reveals an inner look at how dysfunctional Harvard’s administration is and the deep-seated moral rot that clouds its judgement.”

The advisory group recommended nearly a dozen measures for addressing the problem and offered other guidance, the report says, but it was excluded from high-level discussions that preceded Gay’s testimony about the university’s response to antisemitism before the education committee in December, an event which ultimately led to her resignation.

Among other things, AAG recommended inquiring into the “academic rigor” of courses reputed to promote antisemitism, the precipitous decline in Jewish enrollment at Harvard, and the possibility that terrorists organizations are financing the anti-Zionist student movement. Allegedly, numerous other concerns were raised and ignored.

“Members of the AAG raised the need to address the proliferation of masked protests on campus,” the report said. “Gay flatly rejected a ban on masked protest, citing concerns about free expression and stating she believed it was not feasible to require a medical need for everyone who wears a surgical mask … Despite the concerns about ‘hundreds’ of masked protesters on campus and the illegality of wearing a mask while intending, for example, to intimidate, Harvard’s leaders have not taken steps to prevent masked protesters from harassing and intimidating Jewish students and evading accountability in their violations of university rules.”

The report concluded that Harvard never took meaningful action to address antisemitic hatred and the flouting of school rules against harassment and discrimination, an abdication of responsibility that allegedly contributed to the eruption of a nearly three-week-long demonstration in which a group calling itself Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine (HOOP) occupied Harvard Yard and refused to leave unless the administration agreed to divest from and boycott Israel.

Further details are forthcoming, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce promised. It added that the entire US Congress is now participating in the inquiry, which has been joined by “five other congressional committees to date.”

Harvard’s Jewish Alumni Association (HJAA) also issued a report on Thursday alleging antisemitism among “faculty and teaching fellows there as well” and that the slogans chanted by anti-Zionist protesters during their demonstrations, some of which called for a genocide of Jews in Israel, were learned in the classroom. There have been “no consequences” for such behavior, the group charged.

“The administration has repeatedly ignored Jewish students’ complaints despite clear violations of Harvard’s non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies,” the report said. “We reject how the university is balancing free speech and academic freedom with Jewish students’ rights to access an education free from harassment and hate.”

Earlier this week, Harvard University reached an agreement to end a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” that was highly favorable to the students who broke school rules to mount it.

It included the processing of reinstatement petitions for those who were punished with “involuntary leave” — a measure which in effect disenrolled and banned them from school — and a meeting with the school’s Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR) to discuss the possibility of divestment from companies linked to Israel.

Harvard maintained that it did not grant “amnesty” to any student placed on involuntary leave or charged with violating school rules, but critics insist that it did and, in doing so, emboldened them to escalate their conduct in the future.

The environment at Harvard University, America’s oldest and arguably most prestigious institution of higher learning, has been closely scrutinized since Oct. 7.

Following the tragedy, the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) issued a statement blaming Israel for the attack and vowed to pressure the university to cut ties with the Jewish state.

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A slew of incidents came next: Students stormed academic buildings chanting “globalize the intifada,” a mob followed and surrounded a Jewish student, screaming “Shame! Shame! Shame!” into his ears, and the Harvard Law School student government passed a resolution that falsely accused Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

High-level university officials and faculty also engaged in questionable conduct, some of which was recounted in Thursday’s report by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

In December, Gay told a US congressional committee that calling for a genocide of Jews living in Israel would only violate school rules “depending on the context.”

In February, Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine — a spinoff of a student group allegedly linked to terrorist organizations — shared an antisemitic cartoon on social media which showed a left-hand tattooed with a Star of David, containing a dollar sign at its center, dangling a Black man and an Arab man from a noose.

The group’s former leader, history professor Walter Johnson, later participated in HOOP’s “Gaza encampment” and encouraged the protesters to defy the university’s order to leave the area.

Harvard University will be dealing with the fallout of the events of this academic year for the foreseeable future.

In addition to being investigated by Congress, it is being sued by a Jewish alumni group that accuses it of cheapening the value of their degrees by refusing to address its antisemitism problem.

Harvard, which argues that the plaintiffs’ complaint lacks legal standing, has twice attempted to have the suit dismissed.