Harvard invites guest speaker who justified Hamas atrocities as ‘normal human struggle’

Ivy League university under fire again, this time over invitation to professor who justified Hamas massacres.

Susan Tawil, World Israel News

Harvard University has sparked yet another antisemitism controversy, after the school invited a controversial Palestinian Arab professor who justified Hamas massacres of Israelis on October 7th.

The Ivy League college was recently in the limelight over the resignation of University President Claudine Gay.

Gay left her post following a public uproar over her failure to label calls for the genocide of Jews as prohibited hate speech on campus. At the same time, Gay was charged with multiple cases of plagiarism in her academic papers.

Now the Ivy League school is in the headlines again, for yet another round of antisemitic issues.

The first concern is an upcoming March talk at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government by controversial Palestinian professor Dalal Saeb Iriqat, who took to social media arguing that the October 7th Hamas massacres of Israelis was “just a normal struggle for freedom.”

She was invited to speak by Harvard professor Tarek Masoud as part of a seminar series called “Middle East Dialogues.”

Iriqat is an Associate Professor at the Arab-American University in Ramallah, Israel, and a columnist for the Al Quds Newspaper.

She has used social media to accuse Israel of “committing genocide in Gaza,” compare Israel to Nazi Germany, and to blame Israel for terror attacks on Israelis.

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“We will never forgive the Israeli right-wing extreme government for making us take their children and elderly as hostages,” she wrote.

Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the Kennedy School, said he finds Iriqat’s comments “abhorrent,” and issued a statement that he does not endorse her views.

Masoud defended the invitation, saying he believes Iriqat’s perspective is shared by many Palestinians and is important to hear.

“If you are going to engage with Palestinians, you’re going to have to engage with these ideas,” he said. Masoud explained that the goal of his “Middle East Dialogues” series “is not to cause harm, but to expose students … to the full range of views on the current crisis in Gaza.”

Other speakers scheduled for the series include: Jared Kushner, former senior adviser to President Donald Trump; Matt Duss, former foreign policy adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders; Salam Fayyad, former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority; and Einat Wilf, a former member of the Israeli Knesset.

Another troublesome issue on campus is Harvard’s recent appointment of Professor Derek J. Penslar as co-chair of the school’s newly formed Anti-Semitism Task Force. Penslar, among other things, signed an open letter accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” of its Palestinian population, and saying that “Israel’s long-standing occupation…has yielded a regime of apartheid.”

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Lawrence H. Summers, President Emeritus of Harvard, said that after learning of Penslar’s appointment to the Anti-Semitism Task Force, he has lost confidence in the ability of the school to “maintain Harvard as a place where Jews can flourish.”

A group of Harvard’s Jewish students is suing the university for discrimination, alleging that Harvard has become “a bastion of rampant anti-Jewish hatred and harassment.”

Shabbos Kestenbaum, president of the school’s Jewish Student Association, is a plaintiff in the case.

He says that the Jewish students “are not asking for special treatment by Harvard,” but for “equal treatment.”

The school’s Jewish minority is “being treated demonstrably differently than any other minority,” he asserts.

In an interview with Fox News, Kestenbaum described the antisemitism at the university as “systemic.”

For example, Kestenbaum claimed that swastikas are drawn all over campus with no condemnation, and professors “support anti-Jewish violence” by cancelling classes to encourage student protests for “global intifada” (violent Muslim uprising). The lawsuit states that “it is inconceivable that Harvard would allow any group other than Jews to be targeted for similar abuse…”