Harvard now loves Israel?

The left is entrenched in many college and university departments, certainly those labeled “____ Studies,” and has been for decades. Though propaganda is harder to inject into the curriculum when the subject is the differential calculus or the structure of DNA -- except to badmouth James D. Watson for his views on race and intelligence -- there’s little doubt that science and mathematics professors, along with most administrators, vote Democrat.

So, how are we to explain the decision made last week by Harvard University President Catherine D.G. Faust and Provost Alan M. Garber to reverse a decision by Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) management to cut ties with the Israeli SodaStream company? Is this evidence of a change of heart on Israel at America’s most famous university?

Recall that HUDS decided to stop purchasing Israeli carbonation products after pressure was brought to bear by two Harvard pro-Palestinian student groups, the College Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Harvard Islamic Society. Rachel Sandalow-Ash, a Harvard student and a member of the school's Progressive Jewish Alliance, proclaimed solidarity with the Muslims (huh?), commenting: “These [SodaStream] machines can be seen as a microaggression to Palestinian students.” It’s not hard to guess what Sandalow-Ash would have meant by Israeli “macroaggression.” (I wish I could explain why the Jewish left routinely gets into bed with the sworn enemies of Israel and Judaism generally.)

Provost Garber issued this statement to the press announcing the reversal:

Harvard University’s procurement decisions should not and will not be driven by individuals’ views of highly contested matters of political controversy. If this policy is not currently known or understood in some parts of the University, that will be rectified now.

Evidently eager to keep their jobs, HUDS management backed down immediately and did a public mea culpa:

We value and regularly seek input on a wide range of issues from members of the community who use HUDS facilities. In this instance, we mistakenly factored political concerns raised by students on a particularly sensitive issue into a decision on soda machines. As the President and Provost have made clear, our procurement decisions should not be driven by community members’ views on matters of political controversy.

Oh, fudge. That’s not what happened here at all. What happened here is that HUDS committed a cardinal sin in a bureaucracy, large or small: they made a potentially controversial decision without first clearing it with the front office. Faust and Garber found out HUDS had cut off SodaStream only after reading about it in the Crimson! The big fish hate surprises and will remind the guppies who owns the pond.

Now, hypothetically, what if HUDS had done what all little bureaucrats are supposed to do, i.e., realize (as the joke goes) that they’re not Chevy Chase, and first submitted a proposal through channels? Odds are it would have been approved. No need for heavy lifting to provide the necessary “context.” An opening paragraph that began with a topic sentence such as the following would have pushed the right buttons:

We recommend that Harvard University join the Obama Administration in signaling strong disapproval of Israeli policy regarding the building of settlements in disputed territories and the appalling treatment of Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.