The Palestine Exception: “Free Speech” on Campus and The Suppression of Pro-Palestinian Voices

Featured NLG representatives from Massachusetts and New York City, CAIR, and ACLU.
Held on Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Harvard Law School National Lawyers Guild Chapter held an event on campus, titled the “Palestine Exception: Free Speech and the Suppression of Pro-Palestinian Voices,” featuring attorneys from the ACLU, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the National Lawyers Guild-Massachusetts Chapter (NLG), as well as a representative from the National Lawyers Guild-New York City Chapter. 

The attorneys shared an overview of the cases and incidents they were working on, including several employment cases where individuals were fired, reprimanded or placed on performance improvement plans for speech related to Palestine, included on private social media.  Additionally, the attorneys from NLG are both representing several students in university disciplinary proceedings for pro-Palestinian speech, events, and protests. 

Approximately 90 students and faculty were present in person for the Zoom panel, moderated by two students – one current and one former member of the Harvard Law Review.  These students were personally familiar with the ways how Palestinian speech is treated differently; one of them solicited the article by Palestinian scholar Rabea Eghbariah, which was ultimately killed immediately prior to publication in an unprecedented move by the Harvard Law Review’s president.  The treatment of author and the silencing of Palestinian speech led the other moderator to resign from the Journal, and to write a piece about the silencing of pro-Palestinian voices for the Harvard Crimson.