April 20, 2024
Fallout from campus antisemitism continued at Harvard University this week as the school was forced to condemn a cartoon and a professor resigned from a pro-Palestinian group that shared the image. The image included a hand adorned with a Star of David and a dollar sign clutching nooses tightened around the necks of Arab and […]

Fallout from campus antisemitism continued at Harvard University this week as the school was forced to condemn a cartoon and a professor resigned from a pro-Palestinian group that shared the image.

The image included a hand adorned with a Star of David and a dollar sign clutching nooses tightened around the necks of Arab and black men, according to a statement from interim Harvard President Alan Garber in which he condemned the image as “flagrantly antisemitic” Tuesday evening.

The men in the image appeared to be boxer Muhammad Ali and former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The cartoon was shared on social media by student groups Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee and African American Resistance Organization, as well as reposted by faculty group Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine.

“While the groups associated with the posting or sharing of the cartoon have since sought to distance themselves from it in various ways, the damage remains, and our condemnation stands,” Garber said. “Perpetuating vile and hateful antisemitic tropes, or otherwise engaging in inflammatory rhetoric or sharing images that demean people on the basis of their identity, is precisely the opposite of what this moment demands of us.”

The groups have removed the image and issued apologies, with the Palestinian Solidarity Committee saying the “original antisemitic image wholly violated our internal standards and betrayed our fundamental values of justice and liberation,” describing it as a “painful error” and a “combination of ignorance and inadequate oversight.”

In the wake of the controversy, African and African American Studies professor Walter Johnson resigned as the faculty adviser for the PSC and Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine, but the PSC clarified in a statement that “he remains supportive of our goals as an organization,” according to the Harvard Crimson.

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In a since-removed list of signatories to the FSJP founding statement, Johnson was listed as the first. The group also issued an apology for reposting the cartoon, saying, “We apologize for the hurt that these images have caused and do not condone them in any way. … Harvard FSJP stands against all forms of hate and bigotry, including antisemitism.”

Harvard is the subject of multiple investigations related to antisemitism and Islamophobia, including complaints filed with the Department of Education and subpoenas from the House Education and Workforce Committee.

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