WASHINGTON – A Harvard University conference considering a one-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict has spirits at the Ivy League school running high.
According to the Harvard Crimson, the "One State Conference," set for March 3-4, is sponsored by Justice for Palestine, the Palestine Caucus, the Arab Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and the Association for Justice in the Middle East.
Pro-Israel Harvard students and alumni are urging the university to cancel the conference, saying the event is promoting a "new kind of anti-Semitism," Their petition against the event has already garnered more than 2,000 signatures.
The conference invitation
The petition also demanded that Harvard withdraw all financial support and distance itself from the event, as well as bar organizers from using university facilities and logos.
Danny Orbach, a military history doctoral candidate at Harvard, told Ynet that, "This meeting isn't about expressing opinions, it's about propaganda and pushing the notion that the two-state solution is obsolete and must make room for a one-state solution.
"It's not only the pro-Israel supporters that see this for what it is. Even Norman Finkelstein, who is a known anti-Israeli, admitted recently that a 'one state solution' is a code of the destruction of Israel."
The petition stressed that the opposition to the conference has nothing to do with free speech: "People have a right to speak their minds. That’s not the issue… They don’t have the right to do it on the dime of others," Gabriel M. Scheinmann, one of the petition’s creators, said.
'Conference promoting racism'
Those supporting the meeting have called the allegations against it "completely and entirely baseless," further urging Harvard's administration to maintain its connection with the event.
Nimer Sultany, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School told the Crimson that the conference was called "to consider alternatives to the current impasse" in the peace process between Israel and the PA.
“There is a need to rethink alternatives… that would achieve peace that is based on justice and equality for all, rather than the domination of the stronger party,” Sultany said.
Still, Israel's supporters in Harvard maintain that the conference's premise – the one-state solution – effectively negates the Jewish people's right to realize their sovereignty in Israel.
By supporting the conference Harvard would be promoting racism, the petition said.
"While we support the university's protection of freedom of speech, it cannot be used to shield radicals and anti-Semites. We expect Harvard to neither support nor sponsor an event that will claim the Holocaust was insignificant," it said.
The outrage sparked by the event has prompted the university's rector to state that while the school cannot prevent a pro-Palestinian conference, the organizers were instructed to add a disclaimer to the invitation clarifying that the university has no connection to the event and that it does not represent Harvard's stance on the matter.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop