Harvard University’s student-run daily newspaper has announced its support for and endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Israeli occupation, making it one of the most significant steps by an American university against the occupation.
The Harvard Crimson Editorial Board announced in its paper yesterday that it now “proudly” endorses the BDS movement, stating that “We are proud to finally lend our support to both Palestinian liberation and BDS — and we call on everyone to do the same.”
The paper’s Editorial Board admitted that where it previously held a “sceptical” stance on the matter, it has now shifted to fully supporting the BDS campaign, insisting that “The weight of this moment — of Israel’s human rights and international law violations and of Palestine’s cry for freedom — demands this step”.
That shift in mindset, it said, was enabled through the education campaigns and artwork presented by the university’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Aside from highlighting the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, the transgressions against Palestinians’ human rights, and Tel Aviv’s constant violations of international law, it also acknowledged that there is an “overwhelming power imbalance” in the discourse and debate surrounding the issue of Israel and Palestine.
That imbalance, which tilts overwhelmingly in support of the Israeli narrative within American institutions and governance, enables 26 states in the country to impose legal pressure on companies which decide to boycott Israel.
The paper’s Editorial Board acknowledged, in that regard, that “We are acutely aware of the privilege we hold in having an institutional, effectively anonymous by-line. Even on this campus, many of our brave peers advocating for Palestinian liberation can be found on watchlists tacitly and shamefully linking them to terrorism.”
Launched in 2005, the BDS movement advocates for the boycotting of Israeli products imported from the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank, as well as the boycotting of and divestment from companies which deal with or have contracts with the ongoing occupation.
Struggles for and against the movement have been seen in universities throughout Western nations, particularly the US, and have led to prominent institutions such as Columbia University, the University of Manchester, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) passing resolutions and adopting measures in support of BDS.