By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner
Mohammed el-Kurd, a controversial Palestinian activist who has been accused of “blatant” antisemitism by campus Jewish groups, spoke Monday evening at Harvard University in an event hosted by the school’s Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC).
Currently a columnist for the left-wing magazine The Nation, the 24-year-old el-Kurd has trafficked in antisemitic tropes, demonized Zionism, and falsely accused Israelis of eating the organs of Palestinians. Over the past two years he has widely toured across American university campuses, heightening concerns about rising antisemitism and harassment against pro-Israel students.
During stops last year at Duke University and Arizona State University (ASU) el-Kurd insulted students and told the audience at ASU, “if you heckle me, you will get shot.”
El-Kurd was joined at Harvard Monday by Marcus McDonald, a public racial advocate, for a talk about “racial justice and solidarity,” according to an announcement by Harvard’s PSC. The two discussed “their experiences as students and activists part of the Palestinian liberation movement and Black Lives Matter, as well as how students can get involved in this initiatives.”
El-Kurd’s invitation is only the most worrying instance of normalized antisemitism on Harvard’s campus, sophomore Alexander Bernat told The Algemeiner on Monday.
“I think it’s high time that the Harvard administration take a more vocal stance against antisemitic acts on campus,” Bernat said. “El-Kurd’s invitation speaks to a broader trend of rising antisemitism at Harvard. It started with the Israel apartheid week last year, which involved Holocaust imagery, a number of antisemitic tropes, and was just disgusting.”
Bernat added that extreme anti-Israel activists are appropriating the language of social justice to incite discrimination against Jews.
“You can’t even extract a recognition that this is a problem that is getting worse,” he continued. “What’s really appalling is that this is really the job of the diversity, equity, and inclusion office. I think they have a tough time getting past the fact that even though Jews sometimes don’t look different than whites, they still experience discrimination.”
In April, the Harvard Crimson, the campuses’ flagship newspaper, endorsed the boycott, divestment sanctions (BDS) movement in an editorial described as “beyond disturbing” and rejecting “Jewish-self determination altogether” by Jewish leaders and students. El Kurd praised the decision, calling it “only the beginning.”
Meanwhile, in April, the PSC organized “Israeli Apartheid Week” and created an “apartheid wall” of six panels illustrated with graphic graffiti art equating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with racial tensions over American law enforcement and accusing Zionism of being “racism, settler colonialism, white supremacy, and apartheid.”
Bernat’s comments followed an op-ed he and classmate Jacob Miller wrote for The Harvard Crimson to criticize the decision to invite el-Kurd to speak on campus.