Harvard University has been sued by Jewish students who accused it of allowing its campus to become a “bastion” of rampant antisemitism.
In a complaint filed on Wednesday night, students accused Harvard of “selectively” enforcing its anti-discrimination policies to avoid protecting Jewish students from harassment, ignoring their pleas for protection, and hiring professors who support anti-Jewish violence and spread antisemitic propaganda.
“Based on its track record, it is inconceivable that Harvard would allow any group other than Jews to be targeted for similar abuse or that it would permit, without response, students and professors to call for the annihilation of any country other than Israel,” the complaint said.
The complaint accused the prestigious 388-year-old university of violating a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination.
It was filed eight days after Harvard president Claudine Gay resigned, under fire for her handling of antisemitism in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel. She also faced plagiarism allegations.
Harvard did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
Academic institutions around the world have been rocked by disputes over free speech and the right to protest since the Israel-Hamas war broke out in Gaza.
Other schools, including New York University and the University of California, Berkeley, face similar lawsuits.
Plaintiffs in the Harvard lawsuit include Alexander Kestenbaum, a master’s degree candidate at Harvard Divinity School.
They also include five unnamed students at Harvard’s law and public health schools, and the nonprofit Students Against Antisemitism.
The students said it is no defense for Harvard to sit idly and allow escalating “Jew-bashing” because of the purported need to let people express themselves freely.
They also said Harvard’s bias extends to admissions, including an alleged 60 percent decline in the number of Jewish students, mirroring quotas the school had a century ago.
More than 30 student groups at Harvard signed a petition the day after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, blaming Israel.
According to the complaint, the school took a day to respond, offering “platitudes” but neither condemnation of the petition nor support for Jewish students.
“Harvard, America’s leading university, has become a bastion of rampant anti-Jewish hatred and harassment,” the complaint said.
Gay resigned after being slow to condemn Hamas’ attack, and botching her Dec. 5 congressional testimony by failing to definitively say that calling for the genocide of Jews violated Harvard’s code of conduct.
The complaint filed in Boston federal court demands the suspension or expulsion of students who engage in antisemitism, and return of donations conditioned on hiring antisemitic professors or promoting an antisemitic curriculum.
The students are also seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
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Washington Says It Will Not Back Expanded IDF Operations in Rafah
i24 News – Medics reported that Israeli airstrikes overnight in Gaza’s Rafah claimed the lives of 17 individuals on Saturday.
The attacks come as tensions escalate, with over a million Palestinians densely packed into the border city, awaiting a potential full-scale offensive amid widespread destruction across the enclave and limited avenues of escape.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced plans for military action, aiming to evacuate Rafah’s population and dismantle four Hamas battalions allegedly stationed in the area.
As IDF prepares for an intense ground operation in Rafah, its efforts to create safe corridors for Palestinian civilians are made more difficult by the fighting ongoing throughout Gaza. @mcauliffe_marym joins @Nicole_Zedek with the latest updates: pic.twitter.com/83PJfNMEdd
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 10, 2024
Unlike previous conflicts where civilians were urged to seek refuge in southern Gaza, the current situation presents a dilemma as there are no relatively unscathed areas left, leaving residents with nowhere to flee. Aid agencies have warned of the potential for a significant loss of civilian lives should an assault on Rafah occur.
Reports from Gaza City indicate intensified fighting on Saturday, with residents reporting clashes amid the ongoing hostilities.
An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, disclosed plans to coordinate the relocation of Rafah residents northward in anticipation of potential military action. However, Egypt has stated its refusal to permit mass displacement of Palestinians into its territory,.
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Numerous Weapons Discovered in UNRWA Premises in Gaza
i24 News – The IDF revealed that it had discovered, in the areas of Shati and Tel al-Hawa in northern Gaza, twenty terrorist infrastructure sites including a tunnel entrance near an UNRWA school. The tunnel, an “important part of Hamas’ military intelligence services,” passed under the building which serves as the main headquarters of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.
Large quantities of weapons were found in rooms of the building, including rifles, ammunition, grenades and explosives. Intelligence and documents discovered in the offices of UNRWA officials confirmed that these offices had also been used by Hamas terrorists, the military claims.
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Qatar Says Hamas ‘Promises’ Hostages Received Medicines, But Offers no proof
i24 News – In a recent development, Qatar has informed both Israel and France that Hamas has purportedly agreed to ensure that hostages receive the essential medicines delivered to them in the Gaza Strip.
Last month, Qatar facilitated the transfer of these crucial drugs to Gaza following a comprehensive list compiled with input from the hostages’ respective doctors. The medications in question are deemed “vital,” primarily aimed at addressing chronic illnesses among the hostages.
This development comes amidst ongoing efforts to address the welfare and medical needs of the hostages held in Gaza, with international stakeholders closely monitoring the situation for further updates.
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