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War on Gaza: Harvard suspends Palestine Solidarity Committee after months of 'harassment'

The group said the university has repeatedly affirmed that Palestine remains the exception to free speech
Two women hug while students from Massachusetts of Institute of Technology, Harvard University and others rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 22 April, 2024 (AFP).

Harvard University has suspended the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee after months of administrative repression, harassment and intimidation from right-wing politicians and donors, the group said in a statement sent to Middle East Eye.

"For months, we have been disproportionately targeted by the administration on the grounds of technicalities that we tried to observe vigilantly in the interest of protecting student safety," the statement on Monday read.

Harvard PSC said on 6 March that it had been retroactively placed on probation since 1 March, for a February event that it had not officially sponsored.

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The student group was subsequently suspended this week because it held a rally in solidarity with the Columbia students and in protest against student repression with group that were not official student organisations.

The group said that Harvard University has demonstrated time and again that Palestine remains the exception to free speech. 

"After standing idly by as pro-Palestine students faced physical and cyber harassment, death threats and rape threats, and racist doxxing, Harvard has now decided to dismantle the only official student group dedicated to the task of representing the Palestinian cause," the group said.

"As the death toll in Gaza rises with each day of the ongoing genocide, our right to protest this violence only becomes more important. It is shameful - but not surprising - that an institution that is actively invested in Israel’s blatant violence against Palestinians, one that hesitates to even recognize the existence of Palestinians in its official communications, has taken the extra step to erase the only official student group dedicated to solidarity with the people of Palestine."

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Since the events of 7 October, when a Hamas-led attack on southern Israel killed 1,150 and over 200 were taken back to Gaza as hostages, the Strip has been under siege and deprived of basic necessities while facing a devastating bombing campaign by Israel.

At least 34,000 Palestinians have been killed and around a million displaced, in what has been described as an unfolding "genocide".

Harvard University, like several other educational institutions in the US, has been a key site of struggle for pro-Palestinian protesters since Israel's war on Gaza began.

Pro-Israel groups and billionaire donors have repeatedly conflated criticism of Israel with antisemitism. In December, Harvard president Claudine Gay testified at a Congressional hearing about antisemitism on campus.

Her testimony drew widespread criticism and led to her resignation in January.

Harvard University did not respond to MEE's request for comment.

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