Open letter against intimidation at Harvard: Defend the freedom to speak in support of Palestine!

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We stand together against the racist harassment and demonization of Pro-Palestine student activists at Harvard and elsewhere across the country. These attacks are designed to intimidate, weaken, and silence people's right to speak out in support of the Palestinian people's struggle against occupation and apartheid. Their educational and professional futures are being threatened and right wing political operatives have even rented a TV truck to drive around campus displaying the students' faces. Some are even receiving death threats.

Despite these attacks, student leaders at Harvard are standing tall. 

The case of Harvard University is only one of many examples of the attacks that those who express solidarity with the Palestinian struggle face; attacks that are rapidly escalating at this time. Likewise, violent hate crimes against Palestinians are taking place around the country.

We are coming together to support Free Speech rights. We oppose the efforts to demonize and criminalize dissent. We reject the campaign that tries to silence those who support the Palestinian people in their just struggle against occupation and apartheid. 

We the undersigned stand with the courageous students at Harvard and elsewhere who are being attacked because they stand with the people of Palestine.

Initial list of signers:

  • Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University
  • Vijay Prashad, Director, Tri-Continental: Institute for Social Research
  • Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Historian
  • Tanvir Murad, General Secretary, Bangladesh Association of New England
  • Erika Uyterhoeven, Massachusetts State Representative
  • John Womack Jr., Emeritus Professor of History, Harvard University
  • Jodie Evans, Co-Founder, CODEPINK
  • Charlotte Kates, International Coordinator, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and National Lawyers Guild
  • Mahdi Bray, American Muslim Alliance, National Executive Director
  • Nasser Rabbat, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Gerald Horne, Moores Professor of History, University of Houston
  • Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition
  • Manolo De Los Santos, Co Executive Director, The People's Forum
  • Lamis Deek, Al-Awda
  • VP Sanu, President, Students' Federation of India
  • Peter Mertens, General Secretary, Workers Party of Belgium
  • Jalil Muntaqim, Co-Founder, Spirit of Mandela, National Jericho Movement
  • Willie Burnley Jr, Somerville City Councilor
  • Jodi Dean, Author & Professor, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Tanalís Padilla, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Camilo Pérez-Bustillo, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild, Bay Area/SF chapter
  • Pankaj Mehta, Professor, Boston University
  • Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder, CODEPINK
  • Christopher Hasty, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
  • J.T. Roane, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University
  • Vijay Iyer, Professor of Music & African and African American Studies, Harvard University
  • Marjorie Cohn, Founding Dean, People’s Academy of International Law
  • Robyn C. Spencer-Antoine, Associate Professor of History, Harvard University
  • Alex Hanna, Director of Research, Distributed AI Research Institute
  • Charisse Burden-Stelly, Associate Professor, Wayne State University
  • Immanuel Ness, Chair, New York Peace Council
  • Rabab Abdulhadi, Director & Senior Scholar, Arab & Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program at San Francisco State University
  • Humayun K Morshed, President, Boston BanglaAid Inc
  • Brian Cleary, Assistant Professor, Boston University
  • Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Title constitutional rights lawyer
  • Bikrum Gill, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech
  • Manu Karuka, Professor, Barnard College
  • Radhika Desai, Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group
  • Jacqueline Luqman, Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic Region and Member of the Coordinating Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace 
  • Jeffrey Frank, Lawyer, National Lawyers Guild
  • Dr. Ken Hammond, Professor, New Mexico State University
  • Roger McKenzie, International Editor, Morning Star newspaper
  • Corinna Mullin, Faculty, CUNY
  • Jorge Rocha, Co-Chair, DSA International Committee
  • Suzanne Adely, President, National Lawyers Guild
  • Nina Farnia, Faculty, Albany Law School
  • Sonia Vaz Borges, Asisstant Professor, Drexel University
  • Michael Letwin, Former President, Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325
  • Calla Walsh, Co-Chair, National Network on Cuba
  • Steve Ellner, University Professor
  • John King, Associate Adjunct Professor, NYU
  • Brahim Rouabah, Organizer, Algeria Revolt
  • Momodou Taal, The Malcolm Effect Podcast
  • Audrey Bomse, former co-Chair, Palestine Subcommittee of National Lawyers Guild
  • Jeannette Graulau, Associate Professor, Lehman College
  • Rhea Rahman, Assistant Professor, Brooklyn College

*Organizations/institutions listed for identification purposes only


Last week, at Harvard University, dozens of student organizations signed on to a letter denouncing the Israeli occupation and recognizing it as the source of the Palestinian resistance. In retaliation, right-wing forces, enabled by the university administration, mobilized their forces to employ intimidation and scare tactics to instill fear in student leaders at the helm of the Palestine solidarity movement. Billionaire and hedge fund CEO Bill Ackman called for Harvard to release the identities of the individual student activists involved with the intent of blacklisting them from future employment. Adam Guillette, president of right-wing extremist corporation Accuracy in Media, proudly paraded a truck with the names and faces of these student leaders around Harvard’s campus to escalate the suppression of their voices. Notably, it is primarily Black and Arab students and their organizations that face the brunt of these attacks that come in the form of harassment, defamation, and even death threats– a reality that no student should ever have to experience. 

“We are demanding an end to the siege of Gaza and insisting that the US government stop funding the murderous attacks against the people of Gaza and against all Palestinian people. Despite the attacks on ourselves, our fellow students, our futures – we refuse to renounce our conscience,” stated Amari Butler, a Harvard student organizer with African and African American Resistance Organization (AFRO) and a target of these vicious attacks.  

Kojo Acheampong, another organizer with AFRO and target of racist attacks stated, “When people in the U.S. supported the BDS movement they were targeted for censure. When the Palestinian people in 2018-19 launched the nonviolent movement called the Great March of Return they were shot down by Israeli snipers. Hundreds were shot dead and thousands were wounded. The US supporters of the nonviolent movement were ignored by the mainstream media or demonized by Israeli supporters. Every form of opposition to Israeli apartheid, whether it is nonviolent or involves armed resistance, is condemned. Now those who support the Palestinian people are accused of being supporters of terrorism.”

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