Over the past week, a dangerous rumor has circulated accusing the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) of targeting Jewish students in its campaign to raise awareness about the demolition of Palestinian homes. We, the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance, strongly refute these lies and affirm that Jewish students were not targeted. While we do not endorse PSC’s campaign, we support their right to draw attention to problematic Israeli policies and believe that flyering is a legitimate and reasonable way to do so.
As part of Harvard Israeli Apartheid Week, PSC flyered student dorms with mock eviction notices in order to raise awareness about the demolition of Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories. Such flyering is a common means of advertising and campaigning utilized by a wide variety of student organizations. PSC placed these notices on all suite doors in any given dormitory. However, in response to these flyers, several publications began circulating the falsehood that PSC specifically targeted Jewish students in its campaign. This claim is completely wrong, and it is clear to students who live in the dorms that Jewish students were not targeted.
Moreover, several publications have accused PSC of employing anti-Semitic rhetoric in its campaign. These claims are baseless; as PSC affirms in a public statement on its website, these accusations “conflate [PSC’s] criticism of Israeli human rights violations with hatred of the Jewish people.” Indeed, in its mission, PSC “condemn[s] any hatred or discrimination against any racial, ethnic, or religious group." Anti-Semitism is a serious problem, and these claims minimize the seriousness of real anti-Semitism as well slander and harm the falsely accused. We condemn all organizations and publications both within and outside Harvard that continue to spread lies about PSC, and we ask them to immediately publish corrections stating that PSC did not target Jewish students or engage in other anti-Semitic behavior. In light of the anti-Semitic and racist incidents at Oberlin College over the past month, we hope that individuals and organizations devoted to fighting anti-Semitism will not diminish the significance of true anti-Semitism by branding criticism of Israeli policies as anti-Semitic.