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Harvard President Garber Meets With ADL Head To Discuss Antisemitism Amid Encampment

The pro-Palestine encampment has expanded to the grass next to Massachsuetts Hall, where Harvard President Alan Garber and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt met on Friday.
The pro-Palestine encampment has expanded to the grass next to Massachsuetts Hall, where Harvard President Alan Garber and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt met on Friday. By Julian J. Giordano
By Emma H. Haidar and Cam E. Kettles, Crimson Staff Writers

Interim University President Alan M. Garber ’76 met with the head of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt Friday morning to discuss campus antisemitism as Harvard faces a congressional investigation over its efforts to combat antisemitism.

The meeting took place as the pro-Palestine Harvard Yard encampment neared the end of its third week and 20 demonstrators received notice that they were placed on involuntary leave. Protesters in the encampment caught sight of Greenblatt as he was leaving Massachusetts Hall, where Garber’s office is located.

Greenblatt wrote in a statement that the meeting was “very productive” and praised Garber’s unwillingness to entertain protesters’ demands, which include Harvard disclosing and divesting from its holdings in companies and institutions with Israeli ties.

“We support the stance he has taken in indicating he will not negotiate with people in the encampment who are violating university code of conduct,” Greenblatt wrote. “We continue to look forward to working with Harvard as they will make sure that all students including Jewish and Israeli students feel valued and welcomed on campus.”

The meeting came after protesters rejected an offer from Garber to end the encampment in exchange for avoiding being placed on leave — though a University spokesperson said the discussion between Garber and organizers was not a negotiation.

The University has faced extensive criticism for its response to allegations of antisemitism on campus, both from donors and from members of Congress. Six Jewish students also filed a federal lawsuit against the University in January, alleging that Harvard failed to address “severe and pervasive” campus antisemitism.

Harvard spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain wrote in a statement that the meeting with Greenblatt was held “to discuss efforts to combat antisemitism both on campus and beyond.”

“President Garber looks forward to continuing conversations with Greenblatt and others to advance this important work,” Swain wrote.

Greenblatt is a polarizing figure among Jewish and Israeli pro-Palestine activists, in part for his criticism of pro-Palestinian advocacy groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as his belief that anti-Zionism constitutes antisemitism.

Members of the encampment observed Greenblatt leaving Garber’s office and noted the close timing between the meeting and when student protesters received notice that they had been placed on leaves of absence, suggesting without evidence that Greenblatt’s presence on campus had some connection to the actions taken against some of the encampment’s members.

Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine — the unrecognized coalition of student groups organizing the demonstration — wrote in an Instagram post that the meeting was evidence that “Harvard capitulates to outside agitators.”

“Hours after been spotted meeting with top administration, notable anti-Palestinian racist & president of the widely-discredited ADL Jonathan Greenblatt congratulates Garber for suspending students before EVER coming to the negotiating table,” HOOP wrote.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee, a student group which was suspended by the College last month, noted in a separate post on X that “the very hour that suspensions for Harvard students are released, ADL President Jonathan Greenblatt walks out of a meeting in Harvard's Massachusetts Hall.”

There is no evidence to suggest that Greenblatt’s meeting with Garber had any connection to the disciplinary and administrative actions taken against protesters in the encampment, and Swain wrote that Garber’s meeting with Greenblatt was “long-scheduled.”

—Staff writer Emma H. Haidar can be reached at emma.haidar@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @HaidarEmma.

—Staff writer Cam E. Kettles can be reached at cam.kettles@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @cam_kettles or on Threads @camkettles.

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