Jewish and anti-Zionist: Harvard Students Launch pro-BDS Organization

Group of undergrads says it will focus on Palestinian solidarity work, states it doesn't represent the vision of most Jewish students attending the university

JTA
Marcy Oster
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Statue of John Harvard sits in Harvard Yard at Harvard University, Cambridge, August 13, 2019.
Statue of John Harvard sits in Harvard Yard at Harvard University, Cambridge, August 13, 2019.Credit: Charles Krupa/AP
JTA
Marcy Oster

A group of undergraduate students at Harvard University has formed what they call an “anti-Zionist Jewish organization” that supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The Harvard Jewish Coalition for Peace introduced itself in a public statement posted Monday on Facebook as “a new organization founded in the idea that Jewish liberation is inextricably bound up with the liberation of all people.”

The group said it will focus on Palestinian solidarity work; fighting and for the safety of Jews and all people through solidarity; and creating Jewish spaces and events outside of Hillel.

“We build on a long history of Jewish anti-Zionism which teaches us that Jewish safety or liberation will never come at the expense of other people’s lives and land, and are committed to following the leadership of Palestinians in supporting the Palestinian-led (BDS) movement on and off Harvard’s campus,” the group said.

, a pro-Palestinian group that backs the BDS movement, has a number of chapters on campuses across the country that push the boycott movement.

The Harvard coalition grew out of discussions about the need for an organized anti-Zionist organization following the spring 2019 organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee at the Boston-area school.

Hillel does not allow partnership with groups that support BDS or oppose Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state.

“We do not claim to represent the majority of the Jewish community here at Harvard," the statement said, "but we hope that our group can provide a space for those who resonate with this vision.”

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