Logo for the Mapping Project

The Mapping Project

Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School (HLS) is run by intellectual servants of US empire, who use their positions as "legal experts" to legitimize the Zionist state, uphold and normalize the anti-Black racist structures of the US legal system, and foster connections between HLS students and US military and US national security apparatus.

Support for Israeli Ethnic Cleansing

Harvard Law School includes the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law. The program's description regurgitates Israeli state propaganda, describing "Israeli law" as "the legal system of a state formally committed to democratic and Jewish values." The director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law is Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, the imperialist scholar who infamously helped write Iraq's "constitution" at the behest of the Bush administration following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Palestinian writer Edward Said commented on how Feldman was paraded by the media, in typical Orientalist fashion, as an "expert" on "Islamic law." Feldman, as Said wrote, was presented as "an extraordinarily brilliant expert in Islamic law, [who] had studied Arabic since he was 15, and grew up as an Orthodox Jew. But he has never practiced law in the Arab world, never been to Iraq, and seems to have no real practical background in the problems of post-war Iraq. What an open-faced snub not only to Iraq itself, but also to the legions of Arab and Muslim legal minds who could have done a perfectly acceptable job in the service of Iraq’s future. . . . [T]he contempt is thick enough to cut with a knife." In 2019, the Julis-Rabinowitz program hosted Consul General of Israel in New York Dani Dayan, who gave a talk on "the Legal Strategy of Israeli Settlements," arguing that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to Israel's expanding Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank. Dayan's event was met by a massive group of students and community members who stated a walkout

Ultra-wealthy Harvard Law School donors weaponize their positions as financial sustainers of HLS to set the bounds of what can and cannot be discussed at HLS, withholding or threatening to withhold their donations if and when authentically pro-Palestinian viewpoints are included at HLS. One example is Milbank Tweed, a law firm who in 2016 was sustaining HLS through a $500 million five-year gift. As reported in Mondoweiss, Milbank Tweed decided "to discontinue a pre-existing pledge of financial support for student events once it learned that funds from the 'Milbank Tweed Student Conference Fund' had been made available to cover expenses for a student-run event entitled 'The Palestinian Exception to Free Speech'." Upon learning about the event, Mibroook insisted that their firm "won’t sponsor statements accusing governments of violating international law and other persons and institutions of engaging in wrongful or harmful conduct.” Milbrook of course had no objections to sponsoring numerous crassly pro-Israel events at other law schools around the country, including a 2012 Colombia Law School event featuring former Israeli prime minister and war criminal Ehud Olmert which listed Milbank Tweed explicitly as a sponsor.

Meanwhile, Harvard Law School's Berkman Klein Center supports US empire and provides ideological support for Israel (see entry on the Berkman Klein Center). Harvard Law School students run the Harvard Law School Alliance for Israel, as well as the liberal Zionist Progressive Jewish Alliance at Harvard Law School. Harvard Law School is listed by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) as a "CAMERA Campus." CAMERA collaborates with Harvard Law School students to provide "direction" on guest speakers, events, and programming generally. Broadly, CAMERA states that they encourage and support students at "CAMERA Campuses" to engage in "regular monitoring of the campus media, classrooms/professors, and anti-Israel events; attend Israel-related events, take notes, and ask questions during the event."

Harvard Law School hosted Yigal Arnon & Company to present to Harvard Law School students at HLS's 2022 OPIA Virtual Networking Reception. Yigal Arnon & Company is an Israeli Law firm based on occupied Palestinian land in Jerusalem. At the same 2022 Virtual Networking Reception, Harvard Law School also hosted The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (aka the "Brandeis Center"). The Brandeis Center is a staunchly Zionist organization which has a long history of using legal warfare to punish supporters of Palestinian liberation, especially on college campuses (see for example: here, here, herehere, and here).

Normalizing Anti-Black Racism

Harvard Law School has faced repeated criticism from Black and Brown students for its role in upholding and normalizing the anti-Black racist structures of the American legal system. In 2019, The Harvard Black Law Students Association wrote that HLS had "woefully failed to act and protect the students" after four first year HLS received text messages filled with "racist taunts and insults about female students’ physical appearances." The HLS students who received the racist text messages have stated they believe that the messages were sent by one or more of their classmates. In 2020, Black and Brown students at HLS again called out the hypocrisy of HLS "refus[ing] to depart from the status quo while in the same breath claim[ing] they believe Black lives matter." The students further identified HLS's current refusal to include authentic discussions of the racist structures of the American legal system and paths toward changing it within the classroom, stating:

We can begin with intellectual honesty. Criminal law professors should teach that American police descend from slave patrols and Indian constables, and examine how this influences modern-day policing. Prison abolition and police abolition should be engaged as legitimate and practicable positions. Professors should interrogate how crime statistics have been manufactured to fuel the myth of Black criminality. They should refrain from declaring students’ personal experiences with the criminal legal system as inferior to legal doctrine—or as forbidden in the classroom. These narratives illustrate the limitations of academic theory. Anecdotes are data, too.

Support for US Military and National Security Apparatus

At their 2022 OPIA Virtual Networking Reception, Harvard Law School hosted the US Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps, the US Marine Corps, and the US Navy Judge Advocate General Corps to present to Harvard Law School students. These branches of the U.S. military exist to support and enforce U.S. government's objectives of maintaining hegemonic and unilateral control over global affairs, through physical occupations of territory, U.S. mass murder, support for right-wing forces who engage in mass murder, economic warefare through sanctions (which currently deny essential resources to a quarter of the world's population), and the intentional and planned destabilization of nations attempting independent development outside of the dictates of the the so-called "rules-based international order." The U.S. government maintains over 750 military bases along with other military installations and infrastructure worldwide, which, in addition to physically occupying sovereign territory, cause massive environmental destruction and health harm and precipitate widespread sexual violence against the indigenous populations.

At the same 2022 Virtual Networking Reception, Harvard Law School also hosted the US State Department, the World Bank, and USAID to present to Harvard Law School students. Whereas the Navy, Army, Air Force and other branches for the US military support and enforce the US government's global objectives through "hard power" tactics, the US State Department, the World Bank, and USAID enforce these same objectives through "soft power" tactics. The US State Department sets the talking points of US empire, which it pumps out through complicit US media and subservient foreign satellites of US empire (eg Colombia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc). The World Bank (along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO)) exist to force economically developing nations of the "Global South" to adopt the political policies desired for them by the US and NATO, withholding financial resources from nations should they dare to engage in policies such as land reform or the nationalization of sovereign natural resources (eg oil, lithium, copper, bauxite) within their borders that are desired by US corporations. The World Bank intentionally traps these nations in unpayable debts by providing loans to US-friendly right-wing governments (often installed through US-backed coups) who use these loans to enrich the already-wealthy few within their borders, while leaving their populations along with any less right-wing government who may replace them in the future on the hook to pay the bill at high interest rates. USAID is a CIA cut-out, which pumps US money into NGOs and other organizations who oppose governments which the US wishes to destabilize, delegitimize, and/or overthrow (see for example: here, here, here, and here).

1563 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138

Back to main page.