Thirty-three Harvard student groups sign joint letter blaming the war and its carnage on Israel

October 10, 2023 • 10:00 am

A reader called my attention to an article in the Jewish News Service, verified by an article in the Harvard Crimson and by the BBC, describing a letter signed by 33 Harvard student groups supporting what Hamas did to Israel the other day and blaming Israel for what happened, using the usual moronic trope “apartheid regime” (again, the real apartheid regime is Palestine). As I laid out yesterday—and will do so in the next post—Palestine, and especially Gaza, are pretty much responsible for their own situation, something about which most people seem to be woefully ignorant. Regardless blaming, the killing, raping, and kidnapping of Israeli civilians—and those from several other countries—on Israel is about as morally low as you can sink.

Here’s the “joint statement” and the list of signers (the letter was organized by by the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee). Note that the groups are nearly all Muslim or Arab organizations. But their ethnicity does not excuse them from their moral obtuseness, though it does explain it. They are brainwashed and, I suspect, full of hatred against Jews.

Again, they blame the horrors inflicted on civilians on Israel, not even mentioning Hamas, the perpetrator of those horrors. Apparently Hamas’s “colonial retaliation” is just fine:

Joint Statement by Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups on the Situation in Palestine

We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence. 

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. Israeli officials promise to “open the gates of hell,” and the massacres in Gaza have already commenced. Palestinians in Gaza have no shelters for refuge and nowhere to escape. In the coming days, Palestinians will be forced to bear the full brunt of Israel’s violence. 

The apartheid regime is the only one to blame. Israeli violence has structured every aspect of Palestinian existence for 75 years. From systematized land seizures to routine airstrikes, arbitrary detentions to military checkpoints, and enforced family separations to targeted killings, Palestinians have been forced to live in a state of death, both slow and sudden. 

Today, the Palestinian ordeal enters into uncharted territory. The coming days will require a firm stand against colonial retaliation. We call on the Harvard community to take action to stop the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians.

African American Resistance Organization
Bengali Association of Students at Harvard College
Harvard Act on a Dream
Harvard Arab Medical and Dental Student Association
Harvard Chan Muslim Student Association
Harvard Chan Students for Health Equity and Justice in Palestine
Harvard College Pakistan Student Association
Harvard Divinity School Muslim Association
Harvard Middle Eastern and North African Law Student Association
Harvard Graduate School of Education Islamic Society
Harvard Graduate Students for Palestine
Harvard Islamic Society
Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine
Harvard Divinity School Students for Justice in Palestine
Harvard Jews for Liberation
Harvard Kennedy School Bangladesh Caucus
Harvard Kennedy School Muslim Caucus
Harvard Kennedy School Muslim Women’s Caucus
Harvard Kennedy School Palestine Caucus
Harvard Muslim Law School Association
Harvard Pakistan Forum
Harvard Prison Divest Coalition
Harvard South Asian Law Students Association
Harvard South Asians for Forward-Thinking Advocacy and Research
Harvard TPS Coalition
Harvard Undergraduate Arab Women’s Collective
Harvard Undergraduate Ghungroo
Harvard Undergraduate Muslim Women’s Medical Alliance
Harvard Undergraduate Nepali Students Association
Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee
Middle East and North African Graduate School of Design Student Society
Neighbor Program Cambridge
Sikhs and Companions of Harvard Undergraduates
Society of Arab Students

This is about as reprehensible as it gets, and it’s clear that being at Harvard doesn’t give you any moral clarity so long as you have an anti-Jew mentality—a mentality so strong that when a woman gets kidnapped, raped, and killed, it’s Israel’s fault. These groups are contemptible.

Fortunately, I’m not the only person who recognizes this (though you should see the hate mail I’m getting!). Here’s some reaction to the letter as reported by the BBC:

The student statement, posted on Saturday, was swiftly rebuked by some professors as well as former Harvard president Larry Summers, who wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was “sickened” by it.

“The silence from Harvard’s leadership, so far, coupled with a vocal and widely reported student groups’ statement blaming Israel solely, has allowed Harvard to appear at best neutral towards acts of terror against the Jewish state of Israel,” the former US treasury secretary said.

Harvard University issued its own letter on Monday that did not directly address the controversy but instead said university leaders were “heartbroken” by “the attack by Hamas that targeted citizens in Israel this weekend, and by the war in Israel and Gaza now under way”.

Mr Summers’ criticisms, meanwhile, were echoed by several Republican US lawmakers, including Harvard alumni Ted Cruz who wrote on X: “What the hell is wrong with Harvard?”

Harvard Computer Science professor Boaz Barak also took to social media to condemn the letter, asking the university to remove the student groups’ school affiliations.

“I have a lot of criticisms of Israeli policies, but everyone who signed this statement is condoning terrorism, rape, and murder,” he said.

The University’s Jewish centre, Harvard Hillel, claimed the statement was a sign of “further hatred and anti-Semitism”.

And from the Crimson article:

The statement was also denounced by federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including by U.S. Rep. Ritchie J. Torres (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik ’06 (R-N.Y.), the fourth-ranking House Republican.

All student organizations that co-signed the PSC’s statement declined to comment, did not respond to requests for comment, or could not be reached for comment.

. . .Harvard Hillel, the University’s Jewish center, released a response to the PSC and the groups that signed onto its letter, saying the statement represented “further hatred and anti-Semitism.”

“In the strongest terms, we oppose this outrageous statement that blames Israel for the violence carried out by Hamas terrorists – a group that has opposed peace and called for Israel’s destruction since it was founded,” Hillel’s response reads. “We expect the Harvard community to do better.”

Sanaa M. Kahloon ’25 wrote in a statement on behalf of the PSC [Palestine Solidary Committee] Monday afternoon that the organization’s members “reject the accusation that our previous statement could be read as supportive of civilian deaths.”

“To restate what should be obvious: the PSC staunchly opposes violence against civilians — Palestinian, Israeli, or other,” the response reads.

“The statement aims to contextualize the apartheid and colonial system while explicitly lamenting ‘the devastating and rising civilian toll’ in its caption,” the statement reads. “It is unacceptable that Palestinians and groups supporting them are always expected to preempt their statements with condemnation of violence.”

Kahloon’s statement is a lie, intended to control the damage done by the letter. In this instance, people really know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. The letter does not say it opposes violence against civilians, and in particular does not condemn Hamas’s violence against civilians.  What it says, again, is this:

We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence. 

. . . The apartheid regime is the only one to blame. Israeli violence has structured every aspect of Palestinian existence for 75 years. From systematized land seizures to routine airstrikes, arbitrary detentions to military checkpoints, and enforced family separations to targeted killings, Palestinians have been forced to live in a state of death, both slow and sudden. 

No organization has any credibility that blames the war on Israel, or that justifies the killing, raping, and kidnapping of civilians as an inevitable and acceptable result of Israel’s “apartheid regime.”  The statement is not only duplicitous, but duplicitous in a way that justifies horrible and evil deeds.  People are starting to recognize what terrorism like this really is, though some have been slow to do so.

Note that, according to the Crimson, two groups that had originally signed this letter pulled out:

Though the original statement by PSC was co-signed by 34 student groups, as of Monday evening, Amnesty International at Harvard was no longer listed as a signatory. The Harvard Graduate School of Education Islamic Society had been added as a signatory on Monday evening, though it did not appear in the list originally posted to Instagram.

Amnesty International and Amnesty International at Harvard did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Amnesty International! Good thing they had second thoughts, but even the idea that they entertained signing this letter shows you something about them.

Even the University of Chicago issued a statement about the war, a statement that doesn’t violate our Kalven principoles because it doesn’t take a position on the war except that it was bad (and that’s okay by me; we shouldn’t be endorsing one side or the other as an official position):

The attack, ongoing conflict, and loss of life in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank have brought deep concern and sorrow to the University of Chicago community. Our Office of International Affairs (OIA) has extended support to students affiliated with the region who may be directly affected. We recognize that the loss of life, casualties, and escalating conflict bring pain and distress for those in our community, especially those with family members or other loved ones in the region.

Below: President Summers’s tweets (or X’s).

34 thoughts on “Thirty-three Harvard student groups sign joint letter blaming the war and its carnage on Israel

  1. There will always be idiots like this who knee jerk blame Israel for Hamas invading Israel. It’s like the people who blamed Ukraine for Russia invading Ukraine.

      1. As Jerry said, they have been brainwashed. I was just re-reading “The Atheist Muslim” by Ali A. Rizvi. He grew up partly in Saudi Arabia and went to a (for S.A.) liberal school. After he moved to Canada he wrote about the first time he met an Israeli jew. He almost had a heart attack out of fear and then he got angry with himself for being foolish. And as he explains he was just brushed by the virulent anti semitism in the Arab world. People like Hamas and Al-Qaeda get the full treatment. The book is great and people like the author are very brave.

      2. Since when are the Islamic biased our ‘best and brightest’?
        We all suffer from thinking our own is best, but never as blatantly and blindly as when Islam is involved.

  2. Prelude to the end of the world as we know it.

    My tangential question I why are the so many fricking student “organizations”? My college had probably three – one for jocks, one for intellectuals, and one for the rest of us. Most of us spent our time studying and playing, with an occasional anti-war demonstration thrown in.

    1. Good question. My question is, How many distinct students do those groups represent? I can a lot of potential overlap. Bunch of people sitting there with a file cabinet full of stationary.

      1. Harvard has a little over 25,000 students and over 500 student organizations. As you note, there is bound to be a lot of overlap in group membership. And, only about 100 groups are considered to be academic or pre-professional.

  3. I saw Summers’s tweet last night, and noticed that a number of people call him out for having laid the foundation for this during his time at Harvard.

  4. I’m glad to see that there has been at least some response to this travesty. However, I fear that the current state of intimidation on university campuses—including Harvard’s—by the radical left will make it difficult for any statement in opposition to this letter or in favor of Israel to get any attention. Some student groups may be so fearful of the consequences that they won’t respond publicly. Put another way, some student groups may be afraid to state their opposition to terrorists massacring people in their homes. We may never know for sure, but I’m not reading very many full-throated letters of support for Israel emanating from college campuses.

    Thank you for publishing this letter in full, Jerry.

  5. The second sentence in the Harvard student groups’ statement is a pretty good demonstration of how misguided is their understanding of the issues involved:

    ” For the last two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open-air prison.”

    “Forced to live” there? Since Hamas takeover of Gaza, 236,000 people have emigrated from Gaza. That’s 17,000 per year. Many thousands of Gazans commute daily to Israel for employment.:

    An “open-air prison”? Most prisons don’t have food courts, shopping centers, riding academies, luxury hotels, or Porsche dealerships. Here are some photos taken in the so-called open-air prison:

    1. What % of the Palestinians living in Israel, want nothing to do with Hamas. Same question for those living in Palestinian territory,

      1. I don’t know that figure, but I think it’s pretty large. Both areas are dissatisfied with their leadership. On the other hand, most Palestinians, as I’ve recently shown with a link, also want Israel to disappear.

        1. I can see by the footage that the anti semitism/ Israeli State is at an hysterical level, it is nauseating to watch the glee of terrorism.
          But apart from what has already been pointed out, they are brainwashed. I wonder how many, especially the older wiser and passive individual Palestinians, just follow because of fear. And these Hamas have no concept of free speech and back everything with a gun.
          We only need to look at the condemnation, careers lost of academics in the west if found bucking the woke doctrines to know what that fear looks like. Silence.
          By all accounts we have that particular problem in NZ and it’s not their actual lives being threatened.
          Tribalism fear, very much human nature is not something that can be dismissed. It just makes this horror even more of a tragedy.

    2. Thank you for showing the difference between an ‘open air prison’ and a real prison.
      The Hamas leaders appear to live a comfortable life, and it also appears from these pictures that at least some of it trickled down.
      How much better would Gaza have done if it had not been robbed by it’s Hamas oligarchs? Could it have been a Hong Kong or a Singapore? I guess not, and we all know the reasons why.

      1. It started with Arafat snd the silly Norwegians buying him off. It has just grown and perfected, greed rules supreme.

  6. All too predictable from the Harvard student groups. I am glad to say that our University president issued a similar statement that mourned the deaths, and did not take a side.

  7. Some of the peeps who describe Gaza as an “open air prison”, will defend North Korea… The same peeps are also never concerned that Gaza is blockaded by Egypt…

  8. I cannot get myself worked up into the same level of dudgeon about this Harvard list. By their names, every one of the entities listed brings a likely and not terribly new perspective to the Israel / Palestine problem, and it is not one that supports Israel’s right to exist.

    1. Well, I’m glad you’re not in an open-air dudgeon! On the other hand, I put this up not to show that there are many perspectives on the Israel/Palestine problem, but that these groups share one perspective: the carnage that happened in the last week is Israel’s fault. If you can blow off that pervasive attitude, good for you.

  9. I am glad to see that on the subjects of Israel, the violence inflicted on her, and the obvious antisemitism of some of our “best and brightest” that no readers have publicly cautioned you on your association with positions also taken by Ted Cruz.

    Might there actually be some horrors in this life greater than a Democrat agreeing with a Republican? Even a particularly insufferable Republican?

    1. Here I try not to judge the worth of ideas by the politics of their source. Now if I thought Cruz was lying, that would be another thing. But I don’t think he is. Even Republicans can be honestly horrified by slaughter, rape,and kidnapping.

  10. As a cynical third party I just see it as a gang on one side whom the legal authority has no power over and on the other side that slyly plays its game out until these times happen.

    One uses violence to prevent progress, the others plays its cards out to do so and in the end this happens.

  11. Pro-Palestinian students were out on the campus of UW-Milwaukee when I went to pick up our grandson from the child care center today. Appalling.

  12. It seems that Steven Pinker et al are drafting a letter by Harvard faculty to counter the above letter. Though, somewhat disappointingly it ignores Kalven principles and demands that Harvard officially makes a similar statement.

  13. I just read a demand that all members of our community at the University of Virginia be supported, but this is explicitly not meant to suggest that Jews might possibly be given support.

  14. I count a minimum of 17 of those 33 groups that are either Muslim or Arab or from Muslim-majority countries. Religion of peace, my ass.

    Remember, the Koran has three mentions (suras 2,4,5 if I recall correctly) of the Jews turning into apes. Poison the source, and the whole river is polluted.

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