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The Antisemitic Cartoon

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
A few groups purporting to speak on behalf of Harvard affiliates recently circulated a flagrantly antisemitic cartoon in a post on social media channels. The cartoon, included in a longer post, depicted what appeared to be an Arab man and a Black man with nooses around their necks. The nooses are held by a hand imprinted with the Star of David, and a dollar sign appears in the middle of the star. Online condemnation of this trope-filled image was swift, and Harvard promptly issued a statement condemning the posted cartoon. 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.
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. As members of an academic community, we can and we will disagree, sometimes vehemently, on matters of public concern and controversy, including hotly contested issues relating to the war in Israel and Gaza, and the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it is grossly irresponsible and profoundly offensive when that disagreement devolves into forms of expression that demonize individuals because of their religion, race, nationality, or other aspects of their identity.
The members of the Corporation join me in unequivocally condemning the posting and sharing of the cartoon in question. The University will review the situation to better understand who was responsible for the posting and to determine what further steps are warranted.
Reckless provocation draws attention without advancing understanding. Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Palestinian, and Arab members of our community have reported feeling targeted, rejected, and ostracized. The war and its effects on the lives of people directly affected by the conflict demand our profound concern and sympathy. We must approach one another with compassion, open minds, and mutual respect, our discourse grounded in facts and supported by reasoned argument.
Alan M. Garber