Harvard grad student calls on Hamas to ‘strike Tel Aviv’

He then went on to lead hundreds of protesters in a chant for ‘intifada.’

By Jessica Costescu, The Washington Free Beacon

A Harvard University graduate student led a chant to “strike” Tel Aviv during a Saturday Palestinian “Land Day” protest in New York City, a video of the protest shows.

Harvard’s Abdullah Akl addressed his call for violence to Hamas terrorist Abu Obaida, the spokesman for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The Palestinian activist group Within Our Lifetime posted a video of Akl leading the chant online before deleting it.

“Strike, strike, Tel Aviv. Abu Obeida, our beloved,” Akl said. He went on to lead hundreds of protesters in a chant for “intifada.”

Akl, a graduate student at Harvard’s Extension School, has drawn the attention and concern of pro-Israel students on Harvard’s campus after using his social media accounts to call for “intifada” against Jews, contend “that there is no state called Israel,” and encourage his followers to “teach your children that the Zionist entity is an enemy,” according to posts reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.

Harvard administrators subsequently launched an investigation into Akl, according to the anti-Semitic group Within Our Lifetime.

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While the details of that investigation are unclear, the group says it led a successful campaign to pressure Harvard to drop its case against Akl.

Harvard did not respond to a request for comment regarding whether it was, or ever had been, investigating Akl over the content of his social media posts.

“Thanks to the support of so many, we sent a loud message to Harvard Administration that #WeStandWithAbdullah and as a result they have dropped the case against him!” the group wrote in a February statement, which denounced the Free Beacon as part of a group of “zionist provocateurs.”

Neither Harvard nor Akl responded to a request for comment regarding whether Harvard has launched an investigation into his most recent comments.

Akl is a Harvard Extension School student seeking a master’s degree in government, according to the school’s online directory.

On his social media accounts—and in an academic article he published last year—Akl describes himself as a Harvard graduate student.

Harvard University government professor Jennifer Hochschild, who took issue last year with Harvard Extension School graduate and Manhattan Institute fellow Christopher Rufo’s description of himself as a Harvard graduate and argued that it was wrong for Rufo to claim a “master’s degree from Harvard,” said she was not familiar with Akl or his comments.

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“I do not and did not have any skepticism about Mr. Rufo’s claim to have a Master’s degree from Harvard; he does,” Hochschild told the Free Beacon. “What I objected to, in a tweet that I worded with unintentional ambiguity, was and is his verbal fuzziness that enabled him to associate himself with Harvard prestige (a graduate degree from Harvard!), at the same time that he was attacking the university.”

She added, “As you might know, Harvard Extension School requires students who receive a master’s degree from the Extension School to describe their degree as a ‘Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies’—not as a ‘Master’s degree from Harvard.'”

Hochschild asked that “this exchange be totally off the record,” a demand to which the Free Beacon did not agree.

Akl’s call for violence comes as the school risks losing more than half a billion dollars in federal funding as it obstructs a congressional investigation into anti-Semitism, according to the top lawmaker handling the probe.

Interim university president Alan Garber has acknowledged privately that donations to the school have plummeted since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, according to the Harvard Crimson, and applications to Harvard declined by 5 percent in 2024, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce issued a subpoena to Harvard in February after the school slow-rolled a document request related to its handling of widespread anti-Semitism on campus in the wake of Oct. 7.

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Akl was joined Saturday by Within Our Lifetime founder Nerdeen Kiswani, who has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”

Instagram removed the group’s account in February after Kiswani used it to endorse Hamas’s attack and advocate for “whatever means necessary it takes” to topple Israel.

Kiswani was also featured at an unauthorized Columbia University event last month, where she called on fellow activists to openly advocate for violence against Jews.

“This is why when Gaza encourages protest … they are counting on us to expose this truth worldwide. They are leading the fight for freedom. The least we can do is elevate this fight and bring their message to the world,” Kiswani said during the Saturday protest.

Another speaker led protesters in a chant of “From the river to the sea, Palestine is almost free,” a slogan that calls for the eradication of Jews from Israel.