News from the the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance, released today. The speech at the Harvard dormitory took place last week.
November 20, 2013, Cambridge, MA— Avraham Burg, the former speaker of Israel’s Knesset, spoke in an undergraduate dormitory at Harvard College last week after being barred from speaking at Harvard Hillel.
“It’s such a shame that Harvard Hillel would not allow an open discussion about Israel to take place within its walls,” Sandra Korn, who helped organize the talk. “Hillel should be a space for students to engage with Jewish issues, regardless of religious or political beliefs.”
Burg was allowed to attend an invitation-only dinner in the Hillel building, but was forbidden from hosting the event there since it was co-sponsored by the Harvard College Palestinian Solidarity Committee. The other co-sponsoring student groups included J Street U Harvard and two Hillel-affiliated groups, Harvard Students for Israel and Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance. The event took place in the Quincy House Junior Common Room instead.
“This is an attack on free speech in its most naked form,” said Ann Finkel, a Harvard student who attended the event. “I’m not sure what they were afraid of – people with all kinds of political views had a very constructive conversation with Mr. Burg.”
Notice that it was the sponsorship of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee that did it. This is the political-spiritual crisis in Jewish life, we think we can come to terms with Israeli history and future without engaging our brothers and sisters. The Jewish cocoon, as Peter Beinart put it. Or as David Remnick said on Charlie Rose, where are the Palestinians at this table?
Burg wrote this in our What Comes Next? series:
The next diplomatic formula that will replace the “two states for two peoples” will be a civilian formula. All the people between the Jordan and the sea have the same right to equality, justice and freedom. In other words, there is a very reasonable chance that there will be only one state between the Jordan and the sea – neither ours nor theirs but a mutual one.