Harvard's Racist Admissions Process Isn't the Only Discrimination Problem There: Report
While Harvard University is currently before the Supreme Court defending its admissions policies that discriminate against Asian and white students, a recently released report found that the Ivy League university is suffering from discrimination of another kind: anti-Semitism.
An annual report for the year 2021 released by the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, ranked Harvard as the top school for “assaults on Jewish identity.” With 25 incidents reported, Harvard’s total nearly doubled the University of Chicago, which came in second with 13 incidents in 2021, with instances of anti-Semitism split into three categories: redefinition, denigration and suppression.
The AMCHA defines redefinition as the belief that Zionism and Judaism have nothing to do with each other and that support of Israel is a “colonial political project that exploits Judaism,” while denigration is the attempt to vilify those who do support Israel or Jews with “undue privilege, power or influence.” Suppression calls for boycotting, divesting, and sometimes shutting down events, programs, or beliefs that are deemed Zionist, according to the group.
Harvard had 14 incidents of redefinition, 16 of denigration and 13 of suppression in 2021, according to AMCHA’s report, with many of the incidents overlapping all three categories.
Two Jewish Harvard students, Zachary Lech and Alex Bernat, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that during their time at the university anti-Semitism was not uncommon and realized that it was also not a priority for the administration.
“Harvard wants to shine [a light] on what is currently popular without necessarily taking into consideration the practical ramifications,” said Lech, who is a also CAMERA Campus Fellow. “They are less, in my view, interested about actual well-being as they are in looking good.”
“Quite frankly, the easiest way to frame it is Jews look white, and therefore, you know, it doesn’t work. They don’t care,” Bernat explained.
Bernat and Lech mentioned an event on campus involving Palestinian activist Mohammed El-Kurd, who is originally from Eastern Jerusalem and previously called Zionism a “death cult,” “murderous,” “genocidal” and “sadistic,” according to the Jewish News Syndicate.
During the event, a Jewish student, who is a close friend of Bernat, asked El-Kurd to condemn the acts of terrorism committed by Palestinians against Jewish citizens in Israel. El-Kurd refused and “got tons of applause for it,” Bernat stated.
While Lech and Bernat stated they believe everyone has the right to speak and give their opinion on a subject, both expressed frustration that their concerns about rhetoric like El-Kurd’s were not taken seriously. Lech said the university had a pattern of responding to the concerns of other marginalized groups, but not to the Jewish community.
“My cynical answer would be that yes to some extent Harvard is very comfortable to allow this kind of discrimination to happen on campus just because it’s [commitment] to issues regarding DEI is superficial at best and more done out of a sense that this is what is socially accepted these days and not out of genuine concern for the well being of any group,” Lech said.
Bernat told the DCNF that one of the pro-Palestine groups was allowed to hold this year’s annual “Israel Apartheid Week” during the Jewish holiday of Passover from April 18-22. The Hillel chapter on campus held a “Stand With Israel Rally” to combat “the anti-Israel apartheid week,” according to the university’s student newspaper the Harvard Crimson.
Bernat said Jewish high school seniors looking to attend the prestigious university should be aware of what they are walking into. He clarified that most of the time it’s fine, but when it’s not, it’s hard to ignore.
“If someone’s Jewish identity is strongly tied to Israel it must feel like a dangerous space,” Lech said.
AMCHA, El-Kurd and Harvard did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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