1,000 Israeli students call on Harvard Crimson to move office from ‘stolen lands’

The Harvard student newspaper editorial went further than most in its condemnation of Israel, garnering this reply from the SJA.

Buildings in Harvard Yard are reflected in frozen puddle at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, January 20, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER)
Buildings in Harvard Yard are reflected in frozen puddle at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, January 20, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER)

Over 1,000 Israeli students penned a letter to the Harvard Crimson, Harvard University’s newspaper, calling for the editorial board to move its office off of lands “occupied” from indigenous tribes in a move to highlight the Crimson’s hypocrisy in supporting the BDS movement in an April editorial.

Students for Justice in America, who are supported by Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin, claimed that the Harvard Crimson's offices are situated on lands forcefully taken from the Massachusetts people, which is the indigenous nation of these territories. “The land that the Harvard Crimson operates… is territory that belongs to the Massachusett (indigenous) people. This land, like much other territory in the Boston and Cambridge regions, was taken from these native tribes during its earliest conquest by French and British colonialists and then the American military.”

“Ironically, on April 29th of this past year your Editorial Board published an essay in support of the BDS movement and its ‘blunt approach’ stating that ‘as a board, we are proud to finally lend our support to both Palestinian liberation and BDS - and we call on everyone to do the same,’” the letter continued.

The Harvard Crimson's BDS editorial

“We are proud to finally lend our support to both Palestinian liberation and BDS — and we call on everyone to do the same.”

Harvard Crimson editorial board

“We are proud to finally lend our support to both Palestinian liberation and BDS — and we call on everyone to do the same,” the Crimson’s editorial board wrote in its much-maligned April editorial. It was a notable shift from the paper’s history of opposing BDS, which the board cited in its editorial. 

 BDS ACTIVISTS in action (credit: GALI TIBBON / AFP) BDS ACTIVISTS in action (credit: GALI TIBBON / AFP)

The editorial went further than most in its condemnation of Israel. Whereas past Crimson editors had called comparisons between Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa “offensive” and “repugnant,” the editorial published Friday favorably compares BDS tactics to the anti-Apartheid movement, while adding that “Israel remains America’s favorite first amendment blindspot” because individuals and companies that criticize Israel regularly face criticism and consequences.

The SJA is not the first to express displeasure about the editorial. In May, 70 Harvard University faculty members – including Alan Dershowitz – issued a statement expressing “dismay” over the editorial.

“Accordingly, we, the Students for Justice in America, bluntly demand that the Harvard Crimson, its woke editorial board and staff immediately evacuate the 14 Plympton Street, Cambridge property it occupies at Harvard and return it to the Massachusett people… Justice, morality and boycotts are not just slogans and antisemitic weapons for the Crimson Editorial Board to point at the Jewish community in Israel. Justice and morality must begin at home,” the SJA letter concluded.