Two months after The Harvard Crimson’s editorial staff endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Jewish Harvard student hit back in the same paper.

The Crimson Editorial Board published an editorial on April 29 titled, “In Support of Boycott, Divest, Sanctions and a Free Palestine” wherein they declared that they were “proud” to endorse “Palestinian liberation and BDS.”

The Crimson’s associate editor Gemma J. Schneider responded to the editorial in a piece titled, “I am a Jewish Crimson Editor, and I See the Writing on the Wall… of Resistance.”

Schneider wrote that the BDS movement created a false image of Zionism as a racist movement of “Jewish supremacy” when it is, in fact, “a movement of liberation, of freedom and of resisting unfair power imbalances during a period in which Jews across Europe were persecuted.”

She added that, contrary to the editors’ claim that BDS is a “blunt tool,” it is a sharp one “sharpened by societal forces, and historical precedents, in order to wage what is, at its core, not a fundamentally economic war of boycotts and sanctions—but a more sinister and violent ideological one.”

“People like me—a ‘f***ing Zionist,’ a ‘smelly Jew,’ a modern-day ‘Elder of Zion’—are not simply ‘collateral damage’ in this war,” Schneider wrote. “We are targets—directly wounded by signals and signs of rhetorical weaponry, and dismissed when we respond to what we know has historically been the writing on the wall.”

The Crimson editorial board not only endorsed BDS, but claimed Israel is “America’s favorite first amendment blindspot” and recanted past opposition to BDS. It further stated that boycotting Israel would help Palestinians gain “dignity and freedom.”

The board went on to compare the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to South African Apartheid, saying, “Tactics embodied by BDS have a historical track record; they helped win the liberation of black South Africans from Apartheid and have the potential to do the same for Palestinians today.”

In response to the Crimson’s decision to back the anti-Israel movement, over 70 Harvard faculty members signed a petition in May that criticized the endorsement.

The faculty members wrote that they were concerned about how the newspaper’s embrace of BDS would affect the “well-being of Jewish and Zionist students at Harvard, some of whom have already reported that they have become alienated from the newspaper on account of the inhospitable culture that prevails there.”

The petition further said that the endorsement of BDS undermined “educational goals” by creating a “false binary of oppressor versus oppressed.”


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