Harvard Crimson is drinking the BDS Kool-Aid - editorial

The problem is that the editorial board does not seem to have a clue what “Palestinian liberation” or BDS really mean.

The exterior of The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. (photo credit: REUTERS/KATHERINE TAYLOR/FILE PHOTO)
The exterior of The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KATHERINE TAYLOR/FILE PHOTO)

The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper at America’s most elite university, is drinking the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) Kool-Aid.

The paper’s editorial board in its editorial on Friday titled “In support of Boycott, Divest, Sanction and a Free Palestine,” said it was “proud to finally lend our support to both Palestinian liberation and BDS – and we call on everyone to do the same.”

The problem is that the editorial board does not seem to have a clue what “Palestinian liberation” or BDS really mean. If they did, it is hard to believe they would really support it, because both Palestinian liberation and BDS really mean only one thing: no Jewish state.

All anyone on the editorial board of the Crimson had to do was Google the name of BDS founder Omar Barghouti to find a plethora of quotes to support the above assertion.

Here is just one example: “Definitely, most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, would ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

 WE MUST stand together against BDS and all forms of antisemitism. (credit: Wikimedia Commons) WE MUST stand together against BDS and all forms of antisemitism. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Is that what the student editors are advocating? Just a day after Holocaust Remembrance Day, did they really want to call for a world without a Jewish state?

That they essentially did just that attests both to the editorial board’s own gullibility and naiveté, as well as to how the BDS movement has succeeded in pulling the wool over the eyes of so many intelligent people.

Regarding the paper’s naiveté, consider this from the editorial: “Even for journalists, openly condemning the state’s [Israel’s] policies poses an objective professional risk.... Dare question Israel’s policies or endorse Palestinian freedom and you will be shunned from the newsroom, past accomplishments or legitimate arguments be damned.”

Are they serious? Have the members of the paper’s editorial board never picked up a copy of The New York Times or The Guardian? Have they never watched MSNBC or the BBC? Enough already with the self-aggrandizing canard that it is somehow an act of great personal courage to criticize Israel. One could actually argue the exact opposite: that to stand up for Israel today in certain circles, including at Harvard, is what takes courage.

Want more examples of naiveté? Consider this: The editorial said there is an “overwhelming power imbalance that defines and constricts the ongoing debate. This stark power differential extends far beyond the arena of free speech, shifting from rhetorical to lethal on the ground in Palestine, where Israeli soldiers have killed nearly 50 Palestinians, including eight children, this year alone.”

Forget that the paper gives no context as to how those Palestinians were killed, creating the impression that IDF soldiers just randomly murder innocent Palestinians – not that most of those killed were in the act of shooting civilians, stabbing soldiers or throwing rocks or Molotov cocktails at passing cars. Forget all that for a minute.

What is embedded in the paper’s protest against an “overwhelming power imbalance” is the notion that weak means right, strong means wrong. That’s a half-baked way to look at the world. In this view, al-Qaeda should get the paper’s sympathy in its battle with America because it is undeniably the “weaker” party in that fight.

We could give the Crimson the benefit of the doubt and say that it doesn’t want to cancel out the Jewish state, and is just opposed to the “occupation.” If that is indeed the case, then what BDS has succeeded in doing, as leading left-wing US political philosopher Michael Walzer told the Post recently, was create an extremely effective “old-fashioned front organization” that hides its true motivations.

“Most of the kids who support BDS on campus think that they are opposing the occupation,” Walzer said, even though BDS as an international organization “is committed to the destruction of the state of Israel.”

What needs to be done, therefore, is to rip the mask off the organization, expose its true colors and reveal what lurks behind terms like “Palestinian liberation” and “BDS.” To do that, more and more Americans – non-Jews and Jews alike, including those critical of various Israeli policies – need to stand up and forcefully explain why they shudder at the thought of a world where there is no room for Israel.