More than 350 Harvard University faculty members have penned an open letter addressed to the institution’s leadership in response to a student statement they deemed as ‘nothing less than condoning the mass murder’ of more than 1,400 Israelis.
These faculty members expressed their dissatisfaction with the university administration’s response, asserting that it ‘fell short.’
In the correspondence was directed to Harvard President Claudine Gay, numerous faculty members conveyed their deep concern about the ongoing events in the Middle East and the safety of their students on campus.
‘We are deeply concerned about the events in the Middle East, as well as the safety of our students here on campus,’ the letter read.
More than 350 Harvard University faculty members have penned an open letter addressed to the institution’s leadership in response to a student statement they deemed as ‘nothing less than condoning the mass murder’ of more than 1,400 Israelis
Harvard has become a hot bed in the debate of the Hamas-Israel war, with student groups blaming Israel for the attacks. Pictured: A October 9 protest near the university’s campu
‘The leaders of the major democratic countries united in saying that “the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned’ and that Israel should be supported” in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities,’ the letter noted.
The letter came after a coalition of 35 Harvard student organizations issued a statement on the evening of October 8, just one day after the series of attacks in Southern Israel that resulted in the deadliest day for Jewish people since the Holocaust.
Last week, the Palestine Solidarity Committee student group released a statement holding Israel ‘entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,’ cosigned by a few dozen other student organizations. At least one student had a job offer rescinded as a result of the statement.
Then Accuracy in Media, a conservative group, arranged for a billboard truck to drive around campus showing the faces of students associated with the groups. ‘Harvard’s leading anti-Semites,’ it called them.
Vehicles with the faces of those studying at the elite establishment who are accused of being linked to the earlier letter were paraded around Harvard Square.
Posters of American and Israeli hostages snatched by Hamas were also plastered across campus, with ‘kidnapped’ emblazoned across the top.
Israel in Boston, the Consulate General of Israel to New England, appeared to support the move, saying: ‘If you are walking today through the hallways and peaceful paths of Harvard, look for the faces of babies, elderly Holocaust survivors, teenagers, and men and women who were brutally taken hostage by the inhumane Hamas terrorists.’
Vehicles with the faces of those studying at the elite establishment were paraded around Harvard Square last week along with the words ‘anti-Semites.’ The move was after a letter by more than 30 Harvard student groups that blamed Israel for the war
Pictures of several students accused of being linked to the letter have been paraded around campus with the words ‘Harvard’s Leading Anti-Semites’ by Accuracy In Media, based in Washington, DC
Posters of American and Israeli hostages snatched by Hamas were plastered across campus, with ‘kidnapped’ emblazoned across the top
‘Why are you killing kids and women?’ demanded a woman on the microphone. ‘Why don’t you fight against the military. Let’s see how brave you are’
Police struggled to keep the demonstrators apart as some tried to force their way through
The smaller pro-Israeli group managed to drown their opponents out by bringing a speaker
This weekend’s letter explained: ‘In contrast, while terrorists were still killing Israelis in their homes, 35 Harvard student organizations wrote that they hold ‘the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,’ with not a single word denouncing the horrific acts by Hamas.’
The student statement attributed blame for the tragic events solely on the Israeli regime, asserting that Hamas’ acts of killing, torture, and kidnapping of Israelis ‘did not occur in a vacuum.’
The faculty’s letter condemned such stance, characterizing it as effectively condoning the mass murder of civilians solely based on their nationality.
‘We’ve heard reports of even worse instances, with Harvard students celebrating the ‘victory’ or ‘resistance’ on social media,’ the letter added.
The Palestine Solidarity Committee holding banners outside of Harvard University
In a statement published on the Ivy League institution’s website, Gay said the 31 student groups who pledged to support the militants ‘don’t speak for the university or its leadership’
Harvard President Claudine Gay (pictured) condemned the ‘terrorist atrocities committed by Hamas in Israel’ – at odds with 35 student groups at the Ivy League institution who have pledged support to the militants
The faculty members believed the situation could have been a ‘teaching moment to remind our students that beyond our political debates, some acts such as war crimes are simply wrong.’
Gay released a statement three days after the attacks, distancing the university from the views of the student groups and condemning the ‘terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.’
However, the faculty believed that her statement fell short, as it failed to clearly distinguish between attacks on noncombatants and self-defense, and it did not sufficiently condemn justifications for violence emanating from their own campus.
‘While justly denouncing Hamas, it still contributed to the false equivalency between attacks on noncombatants and self-defense against those atrocities,’ the faculty wrote.
The faculty argued there is a clear moral imperative to condemn evil acts, such as terrorism, as has been done in response to school shootings and other terrorist attacks.
‘The statement failed to condemn the justifications for violence that come from our own campus, nor to make it clear to the world that the statement endorsed by these organizations does not represent the values of the Harvard community.
‘We recognize that Harvard has students and community members from all regions, including from the Gaza Strip. These are not easy times, and we pray for the safety of all our members and their families. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a long and complex history. We hold varying opinions, but none of us endorses all of Israel’s past actions.
‘However, the events of this week are not complicated. Sometimes there is such a thing as evil, and it is incumbent upon educators and leaders to call it out, as they have with school shootings and terrorist attacks.
Gay also posted a video addressing the backlash, emphasizing how university’s rejected all forms of terrorism, including the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas, as well as a rejection of hate and harassment based on faith, national origin, or identity.
‘Worse than ISIS’: Photo of bloodied child’s bed posted by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
A house left in ruins after an attack by Hamas militants on this kibbutz days earlier when dozens of civilians were killed near the border with Gaza
Larry Summers, who is Jewish, was critical of university leadership for appearing ‘at best neutral towards acts of terror against the Jewish state of Israel.’
‘In nearly 50 years of @Harvard affiliation, I have never been as disillusioned and alienated as I am today,’ Summers said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Summers joined the University’s Hillel student group later in the week in opposing efforts to ‘vilify,’ as he put it, signers of the anti-Israel statement.
‘Such intimidation is counterproductive to the education that needs to take place on our campus at this difficult time,’ Harvard Hillel said.
Soon after the attacks in Israel began, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the country was once again at war with its hostile neighbor and that the mission is to wipe every Hamas member off the face of the earth.
The IDF has since launched a number of counteroffensive attacks, including some 6,000 bombs that have been launched at Gaza.
The death toll in Israel is reportedly 1,400, while that in Gaza has risen to about 2,670 since fighting began. Many thousands on both sides of the conflict have been injured as well.