By Daniel Rosen, President of the American Jewish Congress

Published originally in the Wall Street Journal.

In “Harvard Goes Only Halfway Toward Institutional Neutrality,” (op-ed, June 13), Daniel Diermeier does an excellent job dissecting one of the fundamental problems with Harvard’s new policy on institutional neutrality: the fact that it provides a carve-out for calls for divestment—specifically targeting Israel. Harvard’s claim that divestment is “an action rather than a statement the university makes” is intellectually dishonest. Divestment is a nakedly transparent political statement. Those calling for divestment see it as such. Avoiding statements while making an exception for the main demand of the current anti-Israel movement on campus suggests a double standard.

More broadly, Harvard representatives blame the university’s formal statements on the conflict in the Middle East as being at the root of the university’s antisemitism crisis. This is a cop-out. The real issue lies in Harvard’s failure to uphold its own principles and code of conduct and protect the many students who feel under assault.

The new policy also fails to address hate on campus. Merely stating that students and faculty engaging in hate speech “do not speak for Harvard” isn’t enough. What will the school do if white supremacists or Islamophobes march on campus? Will they allow their hate to go unchallenged?

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.