Harvard Students Who Accosted Israeli Classmate Have a Court Date, Though University Has Yet To Discipline Them

'Justice for this incident should have been served quickly,' Elise Stefanik writes in letter to Ivy League school

Elom Tettey-Tamaklo, others attack Israeli student (Screenshot)
April 11, 2024

The Harvard University graduate students who accosted an Israeli classmate are negotiating with prosecutors over a court date and may face criminal charges, though the school has yet to take disciplinary action against them.

The two students—identified in an October Washington Free Beacon report as Harvard Law Review editor Ibrahim Bharmal and divinity school student Elom Tettey-Tamaklo—are "currently in the process of negotiating court dates" with prosecutors over their actions during an Oct. 18 "die-in" protest, according to a Thursday letter from Rep. Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.). Bharmal and Tettey-Tamaklo were filmed shoving and accosting a first-year Israeli student at Harvard Business School.

Stefanik's letter, which was sent to interim Harvard president Alan Garber and Harvard Corporation head Penny Pritzker, says an initial hearing in the case is scheduled for May 7. At that hearing, a court official will determine whether there is enough evidence to criminally charge the students.

Both Bharmal and Tettey-Tamaklo remain in good standing with the school, according to Stefanik's letter, which notes that Harvard has produced "no evidence of punishment against those who have committed crimes and violated Harvard's code of conduct."

Tettey-Tamaklo is set to graduate from Harvard in May, according to his LinkedIn, meaning he could receive a degree from the Ivy League institution before his criminal case is settled. Harvard declined to comment on whether students facing criminal charges are eligible to receive degrees.

"Justice for this incident should have been served quickly," Stefanik wrote in her letter, "and the delay of justice that specifically allows an antisemitic student to graduate is an affront to accountability and demonstrates the cultural rot of Harvard University's leadership that has allowed antisemitism to continue."

University spokesman Jonathan Swain issued a statement on Thursday that said Tettey-Tamaklo "is not scheduled to graduate in May 2024," but he declined to provide more information.

During the October "die-in," Tettey-Tamaklo, Bharmal, and other protesters pushed, shoved, and surrounded the Israeli student, using keffiyehs to block their own faces and the Israeli student's view. The protesters repeatedly shouted "SHAME!" as the Jewish student said, "Don't grab me," and "Don't touch my neck."

Footage of the incident was first reported by the Free Beacon.

In the wake of the ordeal, Harvard scrubbed Tettey-Tamaklo's online bio, a move that came as the school launched a task force to assist student protesters whose names were publicized after they blamed Israel for Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attack. Harvard later removed Tettey-Tamaklo from his role as a freshman proctor, a supervisory role in which graduate students live among freshmen.

Harvard has otherwise "done nothing to sanction" Tettey-Tamaklo, according to a January lawsuit that accuses Harvard of failing to combat "outrageous antisemitic conduct."

In March 2023, while serving as a proctor, Tettey-Tamaklo wrote an article, published by the Institute for Palestine Studies, that glorified Palestinian terrorist Fatima Bernawi, who was imprisoned for her role in an attempted bombing of a Jerusalem movie theater in 1967.

"When I started learning about Palestine, I was always struck by the women who featured prominently in the movement's work," Tettey-Tamaklo wrote. "However, one woman's story struck me and has stayed with me ever since: Fatima Bernawi."

"A true appreciation and celebration of underrepresented histories of Palestinian women like Bernawi—among others—cannot be relegated to the dusty corridors of history," the Harvard student wrote.