Lawmakers Slam Alma Mater Harvard Over 'Dangerous Antisemitism'

Elise Stefanik, other Republicans in May 2021 (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
October 13, 2023

Members of Congress who attended Harvard University are demanding in a letter sent Friday to Harvard president Claudine Gay that the school launch an investigation into "dangerous antisemitism" on campus.

The group of lawmakers, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.), also called on Gay to publicly denounce a statement from Harvard student groups that blamed Israel for Hamas's mass terrorist attacks last weekend.

"This heinous statement and the support it received from over thirty student organizations across Harvard University should raise immediate concerns into Harvard's curriculum regarding the State of Israel," said the lawmakers in the letter, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. "This type of unified hate and ignorance cannot be allowed at Harvard University, and you must investigate its origins."

The congressional letter comes as Harvard is facing backlash from prominent alumni, including former Harvard president Larry Summers, over its response to the atrocities in Israel. Hours after the attacks, a coalition of 34 Harvard student groups issued a statement denouncing Israel as an "apartheid regime" and calling the Jewish state "entirely responsible for all unfolding violence."

University leadership waited two days to release a statement, in which they declined to directly denounce the terrorist attacks by Hamas. Gay later clarified that she condemned Hamas, but she declined to criticize the coalition of student groups, saying that the school "embraces a commitment to free expression." Her tepid response prompted Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer and his wife to resign in protest from the board of Harvard's Kennedy School.

The letter was also signed by Sens. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) and Dan Sullivan (R., Alaska) and Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas), Kevin Kiley (R., Calif.), and Brian Mast (R., Fla.).

Mast told the Free Beacon that when he was at Harvard, "pro-Palestine protesters harassed my family and me just because they realized I was a veteran."

"There's no logic with these people—if there was, they'd realize there is no equivalency between Israelis defending themselves and terrorists beheading children," he added. "But Harvard leadership should know better."

Crenshaw said the pro-Hamas statement from Harvard students was "disgusting, but it speaks to a deeper long standing post-modernist rot in academia."

"At Harvard, students should be learning the university motto, truth," Crenshaw said—"but in reality they are propagandizing for terrorism, and they should be denounced for their actions."

In the letter, the group of lawmakers called on Gay to publicly condemn the student groups, writing that it is "sickening that students at Harvard University have such a deep hatred for Israel that they have chosen to ignore reality, celebrate ruthless terrorists, and blame innocent civilians."

The student groups' "statement is abhorrent, and we demand that you immediately condemn it publicly and clarify that Harvard University strongly opposes this dangerous antisemitism," the lawmakers wrote. "Your failure to immediately repudiate the letter from the student organizations makes you and the entire Harvard University leadership complicit in creating an environment that enables antisemitism."