BOSTON — Three dozen student organizations at Harvard signed a joint statement holding “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”
Over 1,550 people are dead and thousands more are wounded after Hamas launched surprise attacks in Israel on Saturday. Israel responded with massive airstrikes on Palestinian Gaza, which have killed hundreds more. President Biden said so far eleven American citizens have been killed in Israel.
The joint statement from the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups was signed by 35 organizations early Sunday, including Amnesty International at Harvard, Harvard Jews for Liberation, Harvard Divinity School Muslim Association, Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine, and Harvard Graduate Students for Palestine.
“Today’s events did not occur in a vacuum. For the last two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open-air prison,” the statement continued, noting that “Israeli violence has structured every aspect of Palestinian existence for 75 years. Through the systematic seizure of land, airstrikes and more, and referred to the current political situation as “apartheid.”
The statement also called on Harvard’s community to stop the “annihilation of Palestinians.”
The university’s statement provoked an outpouring of criticism from state leaders including Congressman Seth Moulton.
“Terrorism is never justified nor someone else’s fault. As hundreds of Israelis and others, including several Americans, remain kidnapped, injured, or dead, the 31 Harvard organizations that signed a letter holding Israel ‘entirely responsible’ for Hamas’ barbarous terrorism should be condemned, as should Harvard leadership for whom silence is complicity,” Moulton said in a statement Monday afternoon. “I cannot recall a moment when I’ve been more embarrassed by my alma mater,” said Moulton.”
He continued on to say, “You can stand up for Palestinian rights while condemning Hamas terrorists, just as you can fiercely criticize the extremist, anti-democratic actions of the Netanyahu government while supporting the nation of Israel’s right to defend itself from people, terrorist groups and states that want it wiped out of existence.”
Congressman and Harvard Alumni, Jake Auchincloss says the university’s leadership has failed.
“The president and deans refuse to denounce the antisemitism of Harvard student groups. Instead of moral clarity and courage, they offer word salad approved by the committee,” said Auchincloss.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also responded saying “the joint statement by Harvard student groups blaming Israel for these acts of a foreign terrorist organization is despicable.”
“Harvard must disavow or be seen as complicit in this antisemitism that should have no place on campus,” their statement added.
Boston 25 News has reached out to Harvard for a statement on this matter.
While waiting to hear back on our request to comment the University did release a statement Monday night saying they were “heartbroken by the death and destruction unleashed by the attack by Hamas that targeted citizens in Israel this weekend, and by the war in Israel and Gaza now underway.”
The statement added that Harvard leaders have “heard an interest from many in understanding more clearly what has been happening in Israel and Gaza. Even as we attend immediately to the needs of our community members, we can take steps as an academic community to deepen our knowledge of the unfolding events and their broader implications for the region and the world.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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