The Harvard Crimson on Friday broke with the paper's longstanding editorial position to endorse—in a lengthy but borderline illiterate editorial—the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that aims to economically isolate the Jewish state of Israel. The endorsement came at the tail end of an "Israeli Apartheid Week" hosted by the Ivy League school's Palestinian Solidarity Committee, replete with an art show that equated Zionism with "racism" and "white supremacy." (The Crimson editorial characterized this as "a colorful, multi-panel 'Wall of Resistance' in favor of Palestinian freedom and sovereignty.")
The former Crimson president, author, and columnist Ira Stoll wrote a letter to the paper's editor blasting the decision. Crimson president Raquel Coronell Uribe is declining to publish that letter, which the Washington Free Beacon is publishing below, edited lightly for clarity.
For sure I made my share of mistakes as president of the Crimson. The content of the paper should be up to the undergraduates, not the alumni.
Even so, I wanted to write to express my fury, dismay, and disgust with the staff editorial today backing the effort to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel. It makes me embarrassed to be associated with the Crimson.
The editorial says you "unambiguously oppose and condemn antisemitism in every and all forms." Actually, it is an example of antisemitism to single out Israel for boycott, divestment, and sanction while giving a free pass to the many countries with far worse human rights records, countries like Communist China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. A boycott of Israel would mean Harvard scholars could not collaborate with Israeli academics in advancing life-saving technologies, and that no Israeli students—no matter their background or political views—could study at Harvard.
The editorial goes on about "privilege" and "power imbalance." That struck me as particularly tone-deaf this week. Thursday was Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
My father's family was from the Town of Wlodowa in Poland. The Encyclopedia Judaica entry on Wlodowa reports that "In June 1942 all the children up to the age of ten were taken to Sobibor and murdered. On Oct. 24, 1942 the entire Jewish population was sent to death in the Sobibor gas chambers. During these deportations hundreds of Jews fled to the forests and organized partisan units. … In the late autumn of 1942 the Germans ordered the establishment of a special ghetto in Wlodowa for all Jews who voluntarily left their hiding places in the forests of the northeastern Lublin province. They were promised that no further deportations would take place. Several thousand Jews who had taken refuge in the forests, but who lacked arms and food supplies and could not survive the winter there, trusted the German promise, and settled in the new Wlodowa ghetto. On April 20, 1943 all were deported to Sobibor and murdered."
Feel free to publish or share this letter if you wish. Or maybe just think of it the next time an institution you lead wants to lecture the Jews about privilege and a power imbalance.
Former Crimson President
Harvard Class of 1994