Harvard students demand university to 'condemn' Israel’s 'excessive use of force'

Harvard University students and student organizations signed a petition demanding the university divest from all companies who do business with Israel.

The petition also demands the university make a “public statement rebuking Israel’s excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians.”

Over 226 students and 43 organizations at Harvard University signed a petition calling on the university administration to condemn Israel’s “excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians.”

The petition, created by the Palestine Caucus at Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee, and more organizations, states that Israel is committing “ethnic clensing.”

“We, as the Palestine Caucus at Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee, the Harvard Palestine Health Initiative at Harvard Medical School, the Harvard Divinity School Students for Palestinian Rights, and the Middle East and North Africa Student Organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Design write to firstly acknowledge and express our outrage at the latest wave of Israeli state-sanctioned violence against Palestinians,” the petition reads. “The current escalation of violence against Palestinians in Palestine and in Israel follows years of systematic oppression and ethnic cleansing committed by the State of Israel.”

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The petition goes on to state that the violence is “right-wing” and “Israeli state-sanctioned,” also claiming that Israel “has erected a web of discriminatory laws that pervade every aspect of Palestinian life.”

Additionally, the petition calls on the Harvard University administration to divest from all companies who are “involved in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise.”

“We call on our university to end its complicity with Israeli apartheid policies and occupation by removing its investments in companies that are involved in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise until equal rights are guaranteed for all citizens in Israel and Palestine,” the petition states.

The student groups state that Israel has enacted “the most intense aerial bombardments of Gaza since 2014” this week, but fail to mention the rockets being fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, with targets including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and more, according to Haaretz.

Making multiple demands, the students who signed the petition want Harvard to make a “public statement rebuking Israel’s excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians.”

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The Executive Director for Campus Affairs for SandWithUs, a pro-Israel education organization, Rena Nasar First told Campus Reform that they are "appalled" by the efforts of Harvard students to spread "misinformation and hate against Israel."

“We are appalled by the efforts of Harvard University student groups to spread misinformation and hate against Israel. Israel has the right to defend itself from the constant barrage of rockets targeting Israeli civilians by Hamas, a terrorist organization," First said. "Such misinformation and hate will only serve to harm innocent Israelis, Jews and Palestinians. We call on Harvard’s administration to condemn this misinformation and hate and, the terrorism inflicted against innocent Israelis by Hamas. It is imperative that Harvard’s administration brings communities together in pursuit of accurate education and peace building to ensure a campus environment free from hate.”

The petition also calls on students to call the U.S. State Department and Deoartment of Defnse to “ Demand the end of Israel’s forced displacement of Palestinians from East Jerusalem,” write to their congressperson and ask them to support H.R. 2590, the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, and speak out on social media.

“Educate yourself and your community about human rights abuses in Palestine. Write, tweet, and share on social media platforms, but above all, reach out to your representatives at the federal and local levels,” the petition states.

As of May 13, the petition has gained 226 signatures from students at Harvard, and 43 signatures from student organizations.

Campus Reform reached out to Harvard University for comment.

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