Nov. 24: An article by a Palestinian scholar, Rabea Eghbariah, on the Gaza war and the Nakba, which was commissioned by the Harvard Law Review, was censored and blocked under pressure after it was edited, fact-checked and was almost ready for publication.
A week after Hamas’s October 7 attack, by which time Israel’s all-out assault on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had killed thousands of civilians, the online editors of the prestigious Harvard Law Review reached out to Eghbariah. The two online chairs, as they are called, had decided to solicit an essay from a Palestinian scholar for the journal’s website. Eghbariah was an obvious choice: A Palestinian doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School and human rights lawyer, he has tried landmark Palestinian civil rights cases before the Israeli Supreme Court,” as per The Intercept which broke the story.
“Eghbariah submitted a draft of a 2,000-word essay by early November. He argued that Israel’s assault on Gaza should be evaluated within and beyond the “legal framework” of “genocide.” In line with the Law Review’s standard procedures, the piece was solicited, commissioned, contracted, submitted, edited, fact checked, copy edited, and approved by the relevant editors. Yet it will never be published with the Harvard Law Review. Following an intervention to delay the publication of Eghbariah’s article by the Harvard Law Review president, the piece went through several committee processes before it was finally killed by an emergency meeting of editors. The essay, “The Ongoing Nakba,” would have been the first from a Palestinian scholar published by the journal,” The Intercept claimed.
The Guardian, while developing the story after it was broken by The Intercept, claimed, “The decision was criticised in a statement issued by 25 editors, who said such a rejection was unprecedented and motivated by fear. At a time when the Law Review was facing a public intimidation and harassment campaign, the journal’s leadership intervened to stop publication,” they wrote, according to the Intercept. “The body of editors – none of whom are Palestinian – voted to sustain that decision. We are unaware of any other solicited piece that has been revoked by the Law Review in this way.”
Scottish historian and art historian, William Dalrymple posted on X, “Harvard journal accused of censoring article alleging genocide in Gaza Harvard Law Review declined an essay by Palestinian doctoral candidate Rabea Eghbariah after it had been initially approved.”
Ahmad Faruqui posted his reaction on X, “They withdrew it, supposedly, for the safety of the editors. The US has lost its freedom of speech. At times I feel like I am living in an occupied state.”