(August 13, 2020 / JNS) What do Harvard’s Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke have in common? More than you’d think. Including a shared belief that Jewish self-determination is “Jewish supremacy.”
Over the past year, Harvard’s PSC has used its Instagram account to spread hateful anti-Jewish tropes and foster hostility towards Jewish students.
In one particularly anti-Semitic post, on Holocaust Remembrance Day no less, the group shared a meme from the “International Holocaust Cartoon Contest,” a competition that aims to delegitimize one of the history’s greatest tragedies. The cartoon depicted a Jewish man wrapping tape around the mouth of a personified globe apparently trying to speak out about Israel’s “crimes.” The meme plays into the racist stereotype that Jews control the world, an age-old dog whistle that has been used to justify the persecution of Jews across history. As if posting such hateful content in the middle of Holocaust Remembrance Day isn’t evidence enough of their Jew-hatred, David Duke himself shared the cartoon.
Incidentally, this isn’t PSC’s first time sharing content with David Duke. On Aug. 4, they created and shared a post entitled “What is Zionism?” In it, the group went on to call Zionists “Jewish supremacists,” a term first coined by Duke to instill fear about the Jewish people. Beyond borrowing a term from a KKK leader, the group also accused Zionism of being “genocidal,” “insidious” and an example of “settler-colonialism.” These characterizations insinuate Jews are power-hungry and untrustworthy, once again pushing anti-Semitic stereotypes under the veil of political disagreement.
This is not accidental. PSC has proven they are aware of the problematic nature of these posts, yet they have not apologized nor explained their behavior. After hundreds of comments deeming certain posts as anti-Semitic, the group silently took down both the International Holocaust Cartoon Contest photo and the “What is Zionism?” post. No effort was made to explain this decision, allowing them to limit further visibility of their anti-Semitism while also avoiding accountability altogether.
PSC’s tactics seemed to work since, even after all of this, Harvard University’s administration remains silent. How has PSC gotten a free pass from the university, even as they continue to make common cause with David Duke and refuse to condemn one of the country’s most well-known racist bigots? Does Harvard’s administration just not care about the Jewish members of their community?
As an institution meant to educate students and expand their worldview, Harvard University is failing. PSC should answer for their harmful actions and be educated on the dangers of their rhetoric. Simply undergoing anti-Semitic sensitivity training or learning about Jewish history could work to unravel this environment of hate and hostility. However, without the Palestine Solidarity Committee being held accountable, Harvard University will continue to force Jewish students and faculty to face unfair demonization and hatred.
Ryan Fournier is the founder and co-chair of Students for Trump.
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