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Jewish students at Harvard create new ‘pro-Palestinian rights’ group

A group of Jewish undergraduates at Harvard University has gotten together to create the “Harvard Jewish Coalition for Peace,” which aims to “show solidarity with the Palestinian people” and to “combat anti-Semitism.”

According to The Crimson, the fledgling organization also considers itself “anti-Zionist” as it will fight antisemitism via “supporting marginalized groups and creating spaces and events for Jewish students outside of Harvard Hillel.”

The group’s Facebook page points out that it focuses on “engaging with the rich history of radical, Left, and anti-Zionist Jews.”

That last statement also blasts Hillel International for its intransigence on BDS — Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions — complaining that it forbids association with any pro-BDS organization, as well as “any group that opposes ‘the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders.'”

Tomorrow, HJCP will host “The Jewish Case for BDS: Teach-In” at the PBHA Parlour Room at which it will ask (among other things) “Why is ‘criticism of Israel’ not enough?”

HJCP sent out an email advertising the event on Saturday, which drew criticism.

From the Crimson story:

Caleb J. Esrig ’20 replied over the email list that he found it “immensely disappointing” to see the message sent during Shabbat,a time during which some Jewish people refrain from using technology.

Esrig — a former Crimson editorial editor— also said in a Monday interview that he disagrees with the BDS movement.

“At the end of the day, BDS is not about human rights or social justice,” Esrig said. “It is not about ending the occupation. It’s not about Israeli human rights abuses. It is about ending the Jewish state.”

Sarah Bolnick ’23wrotein an email that she was similarly “distressed” by the new organization’s messaging and platform.

“Even if they claim that they’re committed to fighting anti-Semitism, this new organization is, even if unwittingly, alligning themselves with groups that have historically sought the oppression of Jews,” she wrote. “To oppose Israel’s policies or government is one thing. To reject its legitimacy is quite another.”

Hillel President Rebecca S. Araten ’22 wrote in emailthat Hillel is committed to an “active and constructive relationship” with Israel, rather than one of “alienation and vilification.”

In keeping with that “engagement” of the radical Left, HJCP notes it “seek[s] to organize the Jewish community” to assist in the fight against “white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, ableism, capitalism, settler-colonialism, and imperialism.”

Read the article.

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