Students walk through Harvard Yard, April 27, 2022, on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In the United States, university campuses have become the epicenter of the state-led campaign to intimidate, smear and outright ban opposition to Israel’s genocide in Gaza.
At Harvard University, the month-long campaign against pro-Palestinian students has intensified following a protest organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) on October 18.
After Israel’s bombing of the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, which killed 500 people, hundreds of students marched from Harvard’s Cambridge campus to its Business School in Boston, where they staged a “die-in,” lying down in a symbolic act of solidarity with the two million Palestinians trapped in the Gaza strip.
The students demanded that the university disclose investments in companies “complicit in genocide and human rights abuses toward Palestinians” and for university president Claudine Gay to “explicitly name, condemn, and reject the anti-Palestinian racism, doxxing, and harassment Harvard students and alumni are facing.”
During the “die-in” portion of the protest, a Zionist student began walking over students as they lay on the ground, getting close to their faces to film them and, according to protesters, stepping on them. Footage aired on national news showed student protest “marshals” intervening to protect the safety of the protesters. They formed a circle around the Zionist student, holding up Keffiyes (Middle Eastern scarves) and attempting to guide him away from the protesters while chanting “shame.”
This non-violent action was seized upon by right-wing figures both inside and outside the college, who cynically portrayed the actions of the student marshals as an antisemitic assault.
Harvard Business School Dean Srikant Datar issued a letter days after the protest, condemning the supposedly antisemitic atmosphere on campus, and pledging that the school would undertake efforts to “understand the experience of antisemitism at Harvard Business School” while making assurances that “reports have been filed with HUPD and the FBI” about the events at the protest, implicitly threatening the pro-Palestinian protesters with arrest.