Harvard’s Israel Problem Goes Far Beyond Pro-Boycott Editorials and Apartheid Walls

When, two months ago, the Harvard Crimson endorsed the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel, the story received some national attention, especially in Jewish media. But the problems for the university’s Jews, J.J. Kimche and Angelique Talmor explain, go much further. The “idea that Jews don’t belong in Israel,” they write, “has become de rigueur” at Harvard, and has penetrated far beyond courses on the Middle East.

The Chan School of Public Health hosts courses such as “The Settler-Colonial Determinants of Health,” which focuses on demonstrating how Israel’s “settler colonial” society undermines the health of “indigenous people.” Harvard Divinity School’s program of Religion and Public Life has hosted a year-long series of anti-Israel seminars, platforming numerous speakers who advocate for the “decolonization” and even the “de-Judaization” of Israel. It is hard to imagine that any other national entity would be subject to seminar after seminar informing them that their own national aspirations are uniquely illegitimate.

This makes Harvard less welcoming for Jewish students. Those who wish to enter the classes of Amos Yadlin, a retired Israeli general and politician, at Harvard Kennedy School have had to walk through a gauntlet of protesters accusing them of complicity in genocide. Jewish students have had to walk next to the “apartheid wall” constructed in Harvard Yard during Passover, which employs Holocaust imagery to depict Israel’s behavior toward Palestinians and declares that “Zionism = Racism.”

Inside many classrooms, Jewish students are too intimidated to speak out against the new intellectual and social orthodoxy that deems Israel to be the world’s worst human-rights violator. Having witnessed this process repeat itself across the university, we can’t avoid the suspicion that such hatred of the world’s largest Jewish collective is a smokescreen for something darker.

Read more at City Journal

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Harvard, Israel on campus

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy