Harvard Law Student Says Pal at Anti-Israel Protest Was Protecting Her From 'Aggressive' Jew

Israeli student put 'peaceful protestors at risk' by filming them, Harvard's Aashna Avachat says

Elom Tettey-Tamaklo, others attack Israeli student (Screenshot)
November 6, 2023

The Harvard University law student who accosted an Israeli student at a campus "die-in" was merely protecting "peaceful protestors" who were put at risk by the "aggressive" Jew, a fellow law student at the Ivy League school said.

Aashna Avachat, a second-year Harvard Law student who attended the protest, made the claims on Wednesday in a series of social media posts.

Avachat was defending her classmate, Harvard Law student Ibrahim Bharmal, who was captured on video grabbing and accosting the Israeli during the Oct. 18 protest. Bharmal is an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Bharmal, Avachat wrote, was keeping anti-Israel demonstrators "safe from a student who was putting peaceful protestors at risk" by filming their activity.

Avachat also said the Israeli student was "masked/covered to hide his identity," though she later reposted photos and videos that showed the student was not wearing a mask. Avachat acknowledged that the Israeli student did not make physical contact with the protesters, who were lying on the ground outside of a Harvard Business School hall, but "nearly" did.

"Ibrahim was present as a safety marshal and stood in front of the masked student to protect OUR safety. The student was taking invasive photos and getting in our faces," Avachat wrote in one post. "Beyond the aggressive behavior from counterprotestors, this die-in was entirely peaceful."

"Ibrahim was standing in between a masked student who was trying to harass peaceful demonstrators," she said in another post. "This student was taking photos of us two inches from our faces, stepping over and nearly stepping on us, for the explicit purpose of doxxing students. That, by its very nature, is harassment and threatened our safety."

Avachat's posts mark the latest attempt from the Harvard community to defend Bharmal and fellow graduate student Elom Tettey-Tamaklo, a freshman proctor who was also filmed accosting the Israeli student. In videos obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Bharmal, Tettey-Tamaklo, and other keffiyeh-clad attendees surrounded the Israeli student, shouting, "SHAME!"

Harvard has not addressed the incident beyond a statement from Harvard Business School dean Srikant Datar, who on Oct. 24 referred vaguely to a "troubling confrontation between one of our MBA students and a subset of the protestors." Harvard did, however, scrub Tettey-Tamaklo's online bio, the Free Beacon reported, a move that came as the school announced the formation of a task force to assist student protesters whose names were publicized after they blamed Israel for Hamas's Oct. 7 terrorist rampage.

Avachat, who did not return a request for comment, works as an editorial assistant at MacMillan Publishers, where she says she is "passionate about amplifying marginalized voices in publishing." An archived version of Avachat's personal website, meanwhile, identifies the law student as the editor of Study Break, a young adult "college anthology coming Winter 2023 from Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan."

Avachat is also listed as a Harvard Youth Advocacy and Policy Lab fellow, a role in which second- and third-year law students gain "deep expertise" in "racial justice" in order to change "inequitable youth-facing legal and social systems."

In addition to her posts in defense of Bharmal, Avachat last week shared a post from left-wing congresswoman Cori Bush (D., Mo.) that called criticism of anti-Semitic Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) "unwarranted" and "Islamophobic." Avachat also shared a post that called to "deprogram" those who have fallen victim to "zionist indoctrination," which the post said "is used to radicalize Jews against Palestine."

Included in the examples of such "indoctrination" is the claim that Hamas wants to "kill all Jews," which the author of the post attempted to rebut by quoting Hamas's 2017 charter. Hamas terrorists during their Oct. 7 assault on the Jewish state expressed joy as they killed innocent women and children, with one gleefully boasting to his parents that their "son killed Jews."

"I killed her and I killed her husband," the terrorist said. "I killed 10 with my own hands! Dad, 10 with my own hands!"