After Harvard professor reportedly discriminated against Israeli students, school celebrates prof for civil rights work

A Harvard professor who reportedly discriminated against Israeli students, subjecting them to “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias,” has not been publicly reprimanded while he was recently celebrated for his civil rights work.

The Brandeis Center on Monday called out Harvard University for failing to address antisemitism on campus, “demanding” that the school publicly denounce what took place in Professor Marshall Ganz’s class and take other steps.

This is the latest in a series of Israel-related controversies at Harvard following Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Oct. 7. An explosive student group letter blamed Israel entirely for the attacks, setting off a firestorm on campus.

This discrimination complaint involving Ganz goes back to the spring when the Harvard Kennedy School professor faced bias allegations against three Jewish Israeli graduate students. After a third-party investigator found that Ganz subjected the students to anti-Israel and antisemitic discrimination, the university has still not publicly reprimanded the prof, according to the Brandeis Center.

Also, the professor was recently applauded for his civil rights work in the Harvard Gazette, the university’s official news website. The discrimination complaint is not mentioned in the piece.

“The professor’s work on behalf of minorities in the sixties may be admirable, but publicly featuring him in this fashion, mere months after he was found to have created a hostile environment for his students, suggest the pledge made to the Students that the university would fully address the violations were mere empty words,” Brandeis Center officials wrote to Harvard’s general counsel.

“The professor is no civil rights champion when it comes to minorities he personally finds distasteful, namely, Jewish Israelis,” they added. “He is in fact a civil rights violator, who undisputedly trampled the rights of members of his class without hesitation or apology, denigrating the Students’ identity and preventing them from participating fully in his class.”

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The Israeli students in Ganz’s class had been working on a project about strengthening Israel’s liberal and Jewish democracy. Ganz reportedly told the students that they had to change their project, saying they couldn’t use the term “Jewish democracy” for Israel. He compared a project promoting Jewish democracy to a project touting white supremacy.

Meanwhile, two of Ganz’s teaching fellows during the final class taught a lesson on how to recruit support for Palestinians.

After the third-party investigation concluded that Ganz had subjected the students to anti-Israel and antisemitic bias and discrimination, Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf committed to addressing the harassment and discrimination.

“We need to ensure that the School fulfills these commitments and that the violations of policies that occurred this spring are addressed fully and do not recur,” the dean wrote in June.

The Brandeis Center is calling on Harvard to commit to university-wide changes, including requiring all faculty and staff to undergo training on antisemitism.

Harvard and Ganz did not immediately respond to comment on Monday.

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