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Leader of Harvard Antisemitism Task Force Signed on to Letter Branding Israel as ‘Regime of Apartheid’


By: Brandon Poulter, Daily Caller News Foundation

The newly minted leader of Harvard’s presidential antisemitism task force previously signed a letter that called Israel a “regime of apartheid,” the Washington Free Beacon first reported.

Interim Harvard President Alan Garber announced a presidential antisemitism task force Friday, and tapped Derek Penslar, a Jewish History professor, to serve as the leader, according to The Harvard Crimson. Penslar previously signed an open letter that said Israel has “grown more right-wing” and is a “regime of apartheid” in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reforms.

“Without equal rights for all, whether in one state, two states, or in some other political framework, there is always a danger of dictatorship. There cannot be democracy for Jews in Israel as long as Palestinians live under a regime of apartheid, as Israeli legal experts have described it,” the open letter reads.

“As Israel has grown more right-wing and come under the spell of the current government’s messianic, homophobic, and misogynistic agenda, young American Jews have grown more and more alienated from it. Meanwhile, American Jewish billionaire funders help support the Israeli far right,” the letter continues.

Penslar also defended former Harvard President Claudine Gay, who resigned Jan. 2 following a plagiarism scandal and accusations she had not handled antisemitism at the university properly. He spearheaded a faculty letter calling for the university to not remove Gay from the presidency, according to the Crimson.

Harvard previously created an antisemitism task force in November 2023 following a rise in anti-Israel activities at the school after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks. Rabbi David Wolpe, a member of the task force quit the group in December, alleging that it had been infected by Marxist ideology.

Harvard and Penslar did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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