Dozens of members of Harvard University’s graduate student union have resigned in protest of its response to the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and what they described as the union “repeatedly ignoring” concerns voiced by Jewish and Israeli members.
Since Thursday, more than 30 members resigned, according to the Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper. The members were joined by over 70 other Harvard students who signed on “in solidarity” a letter that circulated social media explaining their decision to leave the union.
In the letter, the students said they were “profoundly disappointed” with the union’s actions since Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that rules Gaza, invaded Israel on Oct. 7, massacred over 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped over 240 others as hostages. It was the deadliest single-day attack on Jews since the Holocaust.
Rather than pursue a “shared agenda of solidarity,” the union has “repeatedly ignored and derided the concerns of many of its Jewish and Israeli members,” according to the letter. “Despite becoming increasingly vocal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, [the union] has at no point acknowledged, let alone condemned, the horrific attacks on Israeli civilians on and since Oct. 7. This refusal to extend empathy to Israeli and Jewish students at a time of escalating antisemitism is a shameful failure of solidarity.”
The students also cited the body’s delay in issuing a statement condemning antisemitism and Nov. 10 endorsement of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, which seeks to isolate Israel from the international community as a step toward the Jewish state’s eventual elimination. Beyond endorsing the BDS movement on Nov. 10, the union also voted to sign a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza — a move that critics argue would allow Hamas terrorists to regroup to target Israel.
“Jewish and Israeli members and allies seeking to raise concerns in union meetings about campus antisemitism have been dismissed as ‘privileged,’ told they had ‘nothing at stake, unlike those students with family members now under attack,’ and accused of wielding ‘white supremacist power’ and being ‘complicit in genocide,’” the letter read.
The students noted that the graduate union recently signed a letter that referred to Israel as “the murderous Israeli regime” and accusing it of “ongoing genocide.”
Amid such hostility, the resigning students wrote, they have tried to “engage in good faith” but have reached their limit.
“For the last month we have engaged in good faith,” the letter continued. “At this point, however, it has become abundantly clear that HGSU-UAW [Harvard’s graduate student union] has no interest in supporting the safety and wellbeing of all students impact by the conflict. We are therefore left with no choice but to announce our resignation from the union.”
The graduate union is affiliated with the United Auto Workers labor union (UAW), which represents about 400,000 members including some graduate students and academic workers.
In a statement to the Harvard Crimson, HGSU-UAW Trustee Max Ehrenfreund responded to the resignations.
“These resignations are not merely symbolic, but materially limit the union’s capacity to advocate for its workers,” Ehrenfreund said. “For that reason, we will be reaching out to all of the resigning members to hear from them individually to understand how the union can better serve them and to figure out what we might be able to do to convince them to sign a card again.”
The union’s unofficial “BDS caucus” recently issued a statement deriding efforts to get the union to issue a more thorough statement condemning antisemitism, saying it “feeds into a right-wing narrative that paints the recent wave of protests and consciousness-building in the Palestinian struggle as ‘incidents of incitement and calls for violence against Jewish and Israeli students.’”
Harvard has been a hub of controversy since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, with the school coming under fire for what Jewish and pro-Israel voices have described as allowing antisemitism and anti-Israel hatred to proliferate on campus since Oct. 7.
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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Treasure Trove: How some sheet music in the Theresienstadt Ghetto became a symbol of hope
In 1941, the Nazis established the Theresienstadt Ghetto outside Prague. By the war’s end, 33,000 people died there and another 88,000 stayed there for months or years before being deported to extermination camps. Despite the tremendous overcrowding and very difficult conditions, the prisoners in Theresienstadt maintained a rich cultural life with lectures and performances. The […]
The post Treasure Trove: How some sheet music in the Theresienstadt Ghetto became a symbol of hope appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.
Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta
i24 News – A protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.
A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.
JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.
The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.
The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a… pic.twitter.com/B8nUQAj2nU
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023
“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.
Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”
“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
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Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed
Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.
Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.
“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”
Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.
A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.
Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.
More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.
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