Harvard Professor’s Clash With Radical Student Views and Palestinian Sympathy in US Higher Education

In a recent broadcast on Fox Business, Alan Dershowitz, Emeritus Professor at Harvard Law School, delved into the complex issue of the growing sympathy for Palestine among college students, especially amidst the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Moral Clarity and Balanced Dialogue in Universities

The interview began with a reference to an earlier statement by Larry Summers, former president of Harvard University. Summers had expressed concern over the lack of moral clarity from universities, including Harvard, regarding their stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Unlike their prompt responses to other global issues, such as the death of George Floyd or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, universities seemed to hesitate when it came to this particular conflict.

Calling For a Clear Stand

Summers called for a clear stand against Hamas terrorism and criticized the tendency to place the blame solely on Israel.

Dershowitz echoed these sentiments, expressing his disappointment with the narrative prevalent in universities. He emphasized that the one-sided narrative and portrayal of the conflict often favored the Palestinian cause without adequately addressing the complexities involved.

This narrative, Dershowitz argued, influenced how students perceived the conflict, leading to a growing sympathy for Palestine.

The Influence on Student Perspectives

The Harvard Professor highlighted several instances where this biased narrative had led to extreme views among students. Some students supported Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, creating a hostile environment for Jewish students on campus.

Dershowitz stressed that these radical views need to be exposed and challenged in an academic setting.

He also pointed out an emerging trend among students to counteract what they perceived as propaganda. Many were opting for majors in STEM, economics, and other hard sciences, deliberately avoiding humanities courses where they felt radical ideologies were being propagated.

The renowned scholar called for a ‘reckoning’ within universities, akin to the one that followed George Floyd’s death, to address their approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Role of Government and Media

Expanding the discussion beyond universities, Dershowitz also brought attention to the role of government representatives and media in shaping public opinion.

He criticized United States Representative Rashida Tlaib for her refusal to comment on the atrocities committed by Hamas, arguing that this silence represented a double standard in the perception of violence and terrorism.

Dershowitz drew a disturbing comparison to make his point. He pointed out that more Israelis were lynched in a single day of conflict than African-Americans in any ten-year period in history.

He called these acts of violence what they were – lynchings – and condemned the silence of those who had always opposed them. He delivered a powerful rebuke, saying, “Shame on you, Congresswoman.”

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Silence and Intersectionality at Harvard

He also went on to criticize the current Harvard president, Claudine Gay, for her silence on the issue. He contrasted their combined service of over 100 years to Harvard with the current administration’s reluctance to condemn student groups supporting Palestinian causes.

Furthermore, Dershowitz compared the silence over these groups to hypothetically remaining silent over a Ku Klux Klan Club or a neo-Nazi group on campus and further criticized organizations such as Amnesty International and various feminist and gay groups at Harvard for their support of these causes, seeing it as part of the problematic ‘intersectionality’ movement.

The professor sent a strong message of resistance against this trend, invoking Justice Brandeis’s famous quote: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” He called for the exposure of those supporting what he saw as barbarities and vowed not to stand silent.


This article was produced by TPR Teaching. Source.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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