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Harvard interim president pledges review after faculty and student groups post antisemitic cartoon

The cartoon featured a black man and an Arab man hanging from nooses held by a hand marked with a Star of David and a dollar sign.

Published: February 21, 2024 8:32am

Harvard's interim president, Alan Garber, condemned an antisemitic cartoon posted by student and faculty groups and he pledged a review of the situation to determine what steps should be taken next. 

Garber, who is also the provost of Harvard, called the image "a flagrantly antisemitic cartoon" in a statement Tuesday, two days after the image was originally published by the Palestine Solidarity Committee and the African and African American Resistance Organization, both Harvard student groups. The Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine shared the image as well.

All groups have since removed the image, which featured a black man and an Arab man hung by nooses held by a hand that is imprinted with a Star of David and a dollar sign. The cartoon, which appears to date from a 1967 Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee newsletter, was placed on an infographic that connected the black liberation and Palestinian liberation movements.

"While the groups associated with the posting or sharing of the cartoon have since sought to distance themselves from it in various ways, the damage remains, and our condemnation stands," Garber also said. "Perpetuating vile and hateful antisemitic tropes, or otherwise engaging in inflammatory rhetoric or sharing images that demean people on the basis of their identity, is precisely the opposite of what this moment demands of us."

Garber said that members of the Harvard Corporation, the school's governing board, join him in condemning the cartoon and that the "University will review the situation to better understand who was responsible for the posting and to determine what further steps are warranted."

Garber assumed the role of interim president of the university after Claudine Gay stepped down from the position of president last month following plagiarism allegations and concerns over her response to campus antisemitism, especially after the Oct. 7, 2023, attacks on Israel. 

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