Cornell Professor on Leave After Calling Hamas Atrocities ‘Exhilarating’

October 25, 2023

The Cornell University professor who called the Hamas terror attacks on Israel "exhilarating" is now on a leave of absence, the school confirmed.

Russell Rickford, a history professor at Cornell, told a crowd during a pro-Palestinian protest on Oct. 15 that the attacks that left more than 1,400 Israelis murdered were "energizing" and "exhilarating."

"It was energizing. And if they weren't exhilarated by this challenge to the monopoly of violence, by this shifting of the balance of power, then they would not be human. I was exhilarated," Rickford told the crowd.

The Cornell Review reported that the university said Rickford has taken a leave of absence and that his classes will be taught by a substitute professor.

According to his X profile, Rickford is a "historian of the Black radical tradition" and has supported defunding the police.

The crowd at the protest began shouting the anti-Semitic chant, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," according to the Daily Mail.

Rickford wrote a letter in the Cornell Daily Sun on October 18 following backlash over his comments.

"I apologize for the horrible choice of words that I used in a portion of a speech that was intended to stress grassroots African American, Jewish and Palestinian traditions of resistance to oppression," Rickford said. "I recognize that some of the language I used was reprehensible and did not reflect my values."