A discussion sponsored by Harvard Law School’s Justice for Palestine student group has caused Milibank, Tweed, Hadely & McCloy Law firm to reportedly pull $250,000 of funding from the university.
The panel discussion, “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack”, which took place in October last year, featured Staff Attorney at Palestine Legal Radhika Sainath, Omar Shakir, a Bertha Fellow at the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Northeastern undergraduate Kendall Bousquet.
The event focused on how lecturers and students were repeatedly punished or falsely accused of anti-Semitism for advocating Palestinian rights. Reports were read out detailing how Israeli advocacy groups repeatedly attempted to silence events and speeches supporting Palestinian rights and first-hand accounts of such treatment were relayed by Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern University.
Law firm Milbank, which normally funds the activities of student-run groups at Harvard Law School, demanded the university immediately withdraw from receiving any Milbank funding for Justice for Palestine events.
Milbank was under pressure from Israeli advocacy groups including NGO-Monitor demanding information in advance on the event. When Harvard Law declined, the $250,000 annual grant was halted immediately and any recognition by the Justice for Palestine Student group thanking Milbank for its contribution was asked to be deleted.
Students thanked Dean Minow and the law school for “refusing to buckle under intense anti-Palestinian pressure”, and stated how unsurprising it was that the exception to free speech extended to discussions on Palestine.