Harvard task forces find discrimination and harassment against Jews, Muslims

by | Jun 27, 2024 | Religion

(RNS) — Two Harvard University task forces set up in the wake of the turmoil on campus amid the Israel-Hamas war have found a campus climate rife with discrimination and harassment  directed at Israeli, Jewish, Palestinian and Arab students.The two task forces — one on combating antisemitism and the other on countering anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias — issued preliminary recommendations this week that document pervasive intolerance, shunning, harassment and intimidation on campus.
The antisemitism task force, headed by Derek Penslar, a professor of Jewish history there, found the situation of Israeli students on campus particularly “dire,” with faculty members and teaching fellows discriminating against or harassing students because they are Israeli or have pro-Israel views.
More generally it found that extracurricular student life is characterized by “political litmus tests” that make it impossible for some Jewish students to participate.
The task forces’ preliminary recommendations focused on actionable items the university could take to improve the quality of life for Jewish and Muslim students, including more anti-harassment training, a high-profile series of talks that model respectful disagreement and the expansion of kosher dining options.
The task force on combatting anti-Muslim bias found that Palestinian students felt erased on campus, and Muslim women wearing hijab or keffiyehs reported verbal harassment, being called “terrorists” and even being spat upon.
It also documented instances of “doxxing,” a form of intimidation in which a person’s personal information and photos are published widely without their consent ( …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nn(RNS) — Two Harvard University task forces set up in the wake of the turmoil on campus amid the Israel-Hamas war have found a campus climate rife with discrimination and harassment  directed at Israeli, Jewish, Palestinian and Arab students.The two task forces — one on combating antisemitism and the other on countering anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias — issued preliminary recommendations this week that document pervasive intolerance, shunning, harassment and intimidation on campus.
The antisemitism task force, headed by Derek Penslar, a professor of Jewish history there, found the situation of Israeli students on campus particularly “dire,” with faculty members and teaching fellows discriminating against or harassing students because they are Israeli or have pro-Israel views.
More generally it found that extracurricular student life is characterized by “political litmus tests” that make it impossible for some Jewish students to participate.
The task forces’ preliminary recommendations focused on actionable items the university could take to improve the quality of life for Jewish and Muslim students, including more anti-harassment training, a high-profile series of talks that model respectful disagreement and the expansion of kosher dining options.
The task force on combatting anti-Muslim bias found that Palestinian students felt erased on campus, and Muslim women wearing hijab or keffiyehs reported verbal harassment, being called “terrorists” and even being spat upon.
It also documented instances of “doxxing,” a form of intimidation in which a person’s personal information and photos are published widely without their consent ( …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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