Harvard Lecturer Who Discriminated Against Jewish Students Faces No Disciplinary Action

Marshall Ganz told Jewish students the words 'Jews' and 'democracy' cannot be applied to Israel and organized a 'Palestinian solidarity' discussion during class

Professor Marshall Ganz, Harvard Kennedy School (Twitter/@TrungTPhan)
October 30, 2023

A Harvard University professor who subjected Jewish students to "anti-Israel and anti-Semitic" discrimination has not faced any sanctions or disciplinary action more than four months after his actions were brought to light, according to an advocacy group that is threatening legal action against the school.

Marshall Ganz, a senior lecturer at the college’s Kennedy School, who told a group of Jewish students that the words "Jews" and "democracy" cannot be applied to Israel and organized a "Palestinian solidarity" discussion during class, has yet to face discipline from Harvard’s leadership.

Harvard launched an independent inquiry into the incident—detailed in a complaint published by the Louis. D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law—and found he had "subjected the students to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias and discrimination on the basis of their identities as Jewish Israelis." The Brandeis Center is threatening legal action against the Ivy League school, alleging it is sweeping a previously undisclosed instance of anti-Semitic bias under the rug as Jewish students on campus face a barrage of hate.

Harvard has seen a massive spike in anti-Semitic incidents in the wake of Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 slaughter of more than 1,400 Israelis, with the school generating frontpage headlines for hosting pro-Palestinian rallies that have included backing for Hamas and allegations Israel is to blame for the terror attack. Harvard's leadership has come under fire for failing to denounce such anti-Israel activity, with alumni slamming the school for "dangerous anti-Semitism." Jewish students on campus have been marginalized as a result, with fears mounting that the campus is no longer safe for Israel’s supporters.

While the latest incident took place earlier this year, when Ganz allegedly discriminated against several Jewish-Israeli students in his class, the Brandeis Center argues that Harvard’s effort to keep the matter quiet indicates the school’s leadership is not interested in addressing anti-Semitism on campus.

"This failure, on top of other failures of leadership, have set the stage for the worsening climate that we have seen for Jewish Harvard students since [Oct. 7]," the watchdog group wrote. "Harvard’s failure to speak out against anti-Semitism masked as anti-Zionism has only emboldened the student groups who are now celebrating Hamas’ atrocities. The silence needs to end."

According to the complaint, Ganz pressured three Jewish-Israeli students in his class to abandon a project examining "Israel’s liberal and Jewish democracy," arguing that the words "Jewish" and "democracy" cannot be applied to Israel.

Professor Ganz dismissed their project as "illegitimate," and "demanded they change it, and subjected them to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias and discrimination when they refused," according to the Brandeis Center, which represents students in cases where their civil rights have been violated.

Ganz, the complaint alleges, went on to say the phrase "‘creates an unsafe space’ and compared their use of the words ‘Jewish State’ to a student trying to characterize America as a country led by ‘white supremacy.’"

The professor allegedly threatened "consequences" for the students if they moved forward with the project and repeatedly pressured them to eradicate all mention of a "Jewish democracy."

These efforts, which took place over several months earlier this year, are "blatantly anti-Semitic, demeaning the Israeli students both as Israelis and as Jews, and denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination," according to the complaint, which was originally filed in late March and not made public until today.

The students moved forward with their original project plan, prompting Ganz to organize a "Palestinian solidarity" discussion on the final day of class.

"Being fully aware that the topic would generate strong anti-Israel sentiment in the class, Professor Ganz directed two of the [teaching fellows] to teach a lesson on how to recruit support for Palestinians that included blaming Israelis for the Palestinians’ plight," the complaint alleges.

Harvard launched an independent third-party probe into the matter, which determined that Ganz "silenced the speech of the Jewish Israeli students about a topic he viewed as illegitimate, treated the students differently and denigrated them on the basis of their Israeli national origin and Jewish ethnicity and ancestry, and prioritized others’ concerns over the Israeli students."

Four months later, Harvard has not taken any punitive action against Ganz, who was recently celebrated by the school’s Harvard Gazette as a civil rights pioneer.

"Harvard leadership has allowed its campus to run amuck with anti-Semitism for far too long," Kenneth Marcus, the Brandeis Center’s founder and chairman, said in a statement. "This outrageous, irresponsible, and illegal failure of Harvard’s administration to address even undisputed anti-Semitism has paved the way for the problems they are now facing."