Harvard Crimson ad asks if anti-BDS Harvard profs “only care about certain lives”

Harvard Crimson ad asks if anti-BDS Harvard profs “only care about certain lives”

A full-page advertisement in today’s Harvard Crimson asks, “Do some Harvard Professors only care about certain lives?” (View ad here and at the end of this post.)

The ad refers to a statement signed by 71 Harvard professors in the health, medical, and life sciences fields that opposed the international academic boycott of Israel.

Their statement was subsequently featured in a full-page Boston Globe advertisement in May paid for by the New England Chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

The AJC ad featured the headline “Could an academic boycott of Israel put a child’s life at risk?” accompanied by a photo of a small child in an oxygen mask. The AJC ad and professors’ statement opposed the boycott on the ground that it could interfere with potentially life-saving collaborative research and then indirectly lead to loss of life.

Today’s Crimson ad, placed by the nonprofit organization If Americans Knew, says that since the professors cared about potential loss of life, they expected that the professors would also be willing to sign a statement against the direct, ongoing loss of life caused by Israel.

Accordingly, If Americans Knew sent each professor who had signed the AJC statement a letter documenting the ongoing harm being done to Palestinian children by Israeli policies and asked them to sign a statement urging Israel “to engage in active measures to support the safety of Palestinian children.”

The letter to the professors included information with clickable links documenting Israeli actions harming children. The information is also included in today’s Crimson ad:

  • Palestinian children are being shot, imprisoned by the thousands, and subjected to what amounts to torture by the Israeli military (Human Rights Watch, Defence for Children International)

  • Israeli military incursions, occupation and blockade are depriving Palestinian children of basic necessities of life, making hundreds of thousands homeless and tens of thousands orphans (United Nations Relief & Works Agency, Al-Amal Institute for Orphans)

  • Palestinian children in Gaza are suffering severe psychological trauma, malnutrition, stunting, and depression due to Israel’s 10-year blockade and bombing attacks (UNICEF)

  • Palestinian children are being denied desperately needed medical care, with Israel at times preventing children in Gaza suffering excruciating and sometimes fatal health problems from traveling to outside hospitals (Physicians for Human Rights – Israel)

The Crimson ad names all 71 Harvard professors who signed the anti-boycott statement, and reports reports that none would sign the statement asking Israel to support the safety of Palestinian children.

The ad concludes:

In the 80s, many Harvard faculty members supported campus boycott and divestment initiatives aiming to pressure companies to cut ties with apartheid South Africa, so it’s disappointing that some can’t see the urgency of the boycott movement today.

​We hope these professors will take the time to look into Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children and reconsider where they stand.

The ad refers readers to iakn.us/globe-ad to see citations for the statements regarding Israeli actions.

(An additional 31 professors from other universities also signed the AJC anti-boycott statement.)

Text of the statement concerning Palestinian children that the professors declined to sign:

We, the undersigned, urge Israel to engage in active measures to support the safety of Palestinian children, including ending the practice of imprisoning and torturing Palestinian minors, allowing medical supplies and life necessities into Palestinian areas, permitting Palestinian children to leave those territories to seek necessary medical treatment, desisting from military invasions in which large numbers of children are killed and injured, and adhering to international conventions regarding the rights of children, noncombatants and populations under occupation.

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