Palestinian advocates say Harvard Crimson has repeatedly shown bias (including typical ‘nightmare’ edits on op-ed)

Israel/Palestine
on 13 Comments

A beautiful and important intervention in the Harvard Political Review, alleging five recent instances of bias on the part of Harvard’s newspaper of record, carefully documented by Lena Awwad, Asmaa Rimawi, Giacomo Bagarella and Hannah Schafer of the Palestine Solidarity Committee (and Schafer is the daughter of a rabbi who fought in the IDF).

This kind of pushback should be happening all over our media, but it requires brave writers who are not afraid of powerful editors. It is what Sarah Schulman did so brilliantly last year when she explained the New York Times’s efforts to censor her pinkwashing piece.

It is what we are doing here when we ask again and again, Where is Ben Ehrenreich’s piece on Nabi Saleh for the New York Times Magazine– which will explain at last why he was detained last July? Huh, Times editors: Haven’t you sat on this piece long enough to hatch it? Or has it been killed at this point as untimely? (P.S. Mr Ehrenreich, don’t you want to tell us what’s going on?)

Two paragraphs from the Harvard Political Review article (the editors of course distance themselves from the argument):

As members of the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC), we are disheartened by what appears to be The Crimson’s silencing of Palestinian voices. In the past year, our experiences have been so negative that many Palestinian students and our allies feel alienated by this publication. Our five most recent episodes with the Crimson highlight this unfortunate reality….

Then, in October 2012, The Crimson put two Palestinian students through a nightmare of one week of back and forth exchanges before finally publishing an op-ed on our behalf.  The amount of editing that went into an op-ed was shocking and the requests for references of each and every fact and assertion of ours was at a level that is not expected of other student groups. For instance, we were pressured to omit a reference to the Israeli occupation being illegal under international law. We pushed back by establishing that this was not a controversial claim; rather, there is a global consensus affirming this fact, and we expressed that we did not appreciate The Crimson’s attempt to censor us. As a result of our persistence, the op-ed was finally posted online, though The Crimson took it down not once, but twice, before finally letting it stand and be published for circulation.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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13 Responses

  1. David Doppler
    March 11, 2013, 11:35 am

    Here’s a link to the Crimson’s Editorial Board: link to thecrimson.com
    These young people will have to live with the record of the their bias for the rest of their lives. Will it help them or hurt them in their careers? How will their actions today, and the consequences of those actions, affect their lives as they develop?

    Does Harvard continue to deserve its place atop elite university rankings?

  2. eGuard
    March 11, 2013, 12:27 pm

    In the HPR piece, second paragraph: Half of our organizers and speakers were Jewish and/or Israeli.

    Now that is a killing argument.

  3. Krauss
    March 11, 2013, 12:43 pm

    Can anyone imagine Apartheid South Africa getting this kind of treatment in the 1980s? I bet the Harvard Crimson was pushing for boycotting then. But South Africa couldn’t scream anti-Semitism as a smear tactic, nor did it have a passionate lobby inside America.

    Yet we’re being told that somehow this support for Israel is entirely organic. Well, if anything, the actions of the editors in the media, some of whom are Zionists, tell a different story. I wouldn’t be surprised, by the way, if most of the editors were not Zionists. But most of those of aren’t, most likely don’t care either way and let the zealots run the show on I/P.

  4. mondonut
    March 11, 2013, 12:54 pm

    Too funny. A series of back and forth edits and requests for reference constitute a “nightmare”? Oh my, I think this comment might get rejected by the mods! I do declare that I feel myself swooning! A case of the vapors!!!

    And the “for instance” is the entirely controversial claim that the occupation is illegal? A claim backed up by a dubious reference to a fictional global consensus and Security Council Resolution 446 which in no way determines the occupation to be illegal.

    • Krauss
      March 11, 2013, 3:43 pm

      From the name to the bait-heavy post, this one smells ‘troll’ from a far distance.

  5. hophmi
    March 11, 2013, 4:14 pm

    It is more disingenuous complaining.

    The piece omits the fact that the editorial published by the Crimson editorial board was IN RESPONSE to an op-ed published by the PSC organizers about the conference before the conference took place. The op-ed was largely about why the two-state solution was impossible. The name of the conference was the One State Conference, and the purpose of the conference was to address the one-state solution, so there was good reason for the editorial board to assume that the conference was promoting . . . the one-state solution.

    The op-ed that the organizers published before the conference was riddled with errors, and thus, several corrections were necessary. The first ridiculous error was the assertion that 5.4 million Jews were ruling over 11 million Palestinians, a ratio that underestimated the Jews (about 6 million) and substituted the number of Palestinians worldwide for the number of Palestinians actually in Israel and Palestine (5.5 million). The article also misquoted Desmond Tutu as saying that Israel’s system was “worse than apartheid,” which Tutu never said.

    link to thecrimson.com

    So it should not have come as a surprise that when one of the same writers submitted another op-ed, the Crimson did the right thing and asked her to source her facts in an article where every sentence contained a factual assertion of some kind. Frankly, the writers of the piece in the Harvard Political Review can hem and haw all they want about mistreatment. My guess is that they can’t substantiate their claim that the Crimson does not treat other groups this way when they write op-eds on controversial subjects and they have a record of misstating the facts.

    “In February 2013, a Crimson editorial writer published an op-ed targeting PSC and accusing us of having “anti-Semitism” in our midst merely because of our support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.”

    Actually, most of the op-ed is about why the writer thinks the BDS movement is antisemitic, based on article he found on the BDS website. He goes out of his way to give PSC members the benefit of the doubt.

    “Instead, on March 9, the Crimson published a fourth piece attacking the PSC without allowing us to respond. This op-ed reproduces the outrageous charge of anti-Semitism against us. . .”

    It doesn’t. link to thecrimson.com

    In fact, a search of the Crimson’s archives reveals that over the past year, the Crimson has published several pro-Palestinian op-eds, including:

    1. link to thecrimson.com

    2. link to thecrimson.com

    3. link to thecrimson.com

    4. link to thecrimson.com

    5. link to thecrimson.com

    6. link to thecrimson.com

    7. link to thecrimson.com

    So the notion that the Crimson gives pro-Palestinian op-ed writers a hard times is abject nonsense.

  6. HarryLaw
    March 11, 2013, 7:10 pm

    Mondonut, “And the “for instance” is the entirely controversial claim that the occupation is illegal? A claim backed up by a dubious reference to a fictional global consensus and Security Council Resolution 446 which in no way determines the occupation to be illegal.”
    The occupation is illegal, a military occupation of Palestinian territory is supposed to be temporary, 45 years is not temporary, the military commander in occupied territory is supposed to administer the area under his control according to the Laws of occupation enshrined in the Hague Regulations and Fourth Geneva Convention, these rules have been trashed and the Israeli government appears to be trying to do what is fundamentally contrary to International law i.e, acquiring territory through the use of force.

  7. Sin Nombre
    March 11, 2013, 7:14 pm

    Well, given that Ron Unz has just looked at the statistics involved and estimated the degree of jewish favoritism at Harvard equating to a jewish kid having a 3000% percent better chance of gaining admittance over an equally credentialed white gentile, one can imagine there might just be a paucity of Palestinians affecting things there as well.

  8. Avi_G.
    March 12, 2013, 9:24 am

    we were pressured to omit a reference to the Israeli occupation being illegal under international law. We pushed back by establishing that this was not a controversial claim; rather, there is a global consensus affirming this fact, and we expressed that we did not appreciate The Crimson’s attempt to censor us. As a result of our persistence, the op-ed was finally posted online, though The Crimson took it down not once, but twice, before finally letting it stand and be published for circulation.

    The United States and Canada have gatekeepers on almost every university campus, every media outlet, every publishing house, and every government office.

    There are usually Jews who are not necessarily ardent Zionists, but when the moment of truth comes along, they will usually do whatever is within their power — and often beyond that — to act as gatekeepers on behalf of Israel.

    I have personally experienced it in academia, publishing houses and media outlets.

    We’re talking about individuals — outside of any organization or entity – who take it upon themselves to be Israel’s gatekeepers.

  9. IL1948
    March 12, 2013, 11:05 am

    Speaking of bias, why have you continued to ignore this story?

    link to news.yahoo.com

    • Annie Robbins
      March 12, 2013, 1:30 pm

      there’s a draft started back there. we’re backed up on drafts. lots going on. something will probably be up by tomorrow.

      • eljay
        March 12, 2013, 1:46 pm

        >> Speaking of bias, why have you continued to ignore this story?

        Speaking of bias, why do Zio-supremacists continue to ignore the fact that Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state, born of terrorism and ethnic cleansing, and maintained and expanded by means of a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder?

        I expect that Mondoweiss will, before too long, address the relatively-insignificant matter of an incorrectly-attributed death. Meanwhile, Zio-supremacists will continue to ignore, gloss over, excuse or otherwise justify the considerably-more-significant matter of the immoral and unjust behaviour of the supremacist “Jewish State”.

  10. Mayhem
    March 12, 2013, 4:44 pm

    While we are on the topic of media bias let us go back to the story that Mondoweiss was more than happy to subscribe to last November. when the conflagration between Israel and Gaza was taking place – refer link to mondoweiss.net
    As we will see in a moment the article was gravely mistitled ‘4 myths about the Israeli attack on Gaza’. The author said

    In an iconic photograph circulated widely on the Internet, Jihad Misharawi, a BBC Arabic journalist who lives in Gaza, carries the body of his 11-month old son, Omar, through al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. A round of Israeli missile fire hit Misharawi’s four-room home in Gaza, killing his son. Misharawi’s sister-in-law was also killed, and his brother wounded. He told his manager at BBC that when the missiles hit, there was no fighting in his residential neighborhood.

    The last sentence of the statement was probably true because what actually happened was this and this is the finding of a UN report, which indicates that the three members of the Misharawi family were killed by a rocket fired by Palestinians and not by an Israeli airstrike. Refer link to ohchr.org where it is reported in paragraph 39:

    On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.

    Will Mondoweiss retract the lie that it helped propagate last November?
    I don’t think so, as MW is not in the habit of promoting information that negates its position and supports Israel in any way whatsoever.
    To be criticising another publication of bias when guilty of same is pretty hypocritical.

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