Harvard Dean, 34 Student Groups Blame Israel for War

Palestinian Militants Launch Rocket And Ground Attack On Israel
(Getty Images)
October 9, 2023

The Dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Education is blaming both "Hamas and the Israeli government" for the outbreak of war in Israel.

In an email to students on Sunday, the dean, Bridget Terry Long, told students she was writing to "express my concerns in the aftermath of the deadly attacks in Israel and the Gaza strip where it has been reported that more than 1,100 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded by the actions taken by Hamas and the Israeli government."

Her email appeared to draw equivalency between Hamas, which indiscriminately slaughtered hundreds of Israelis in the deadliest terrorist attack in the region’s history, and the Israeli government, which has started to launch defensive operations in Gaza.

The message came on the heels of a statement on Saturday from a coalition of 34 Harvard student groups that blamed Israel for provoking Hamas’s mass terrorist attack, saying the Jewish state is "entirely responsible for all unfolding violence" and the "apartheid regime is the only one to blame."

"We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence," said the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee letter.

The dean's statement and group letter could add to concerns about an increase in antisemitism on Harvard’s campus, after the student newspaper endorsed the anti-Israel boycott movement last year and a student group held a demonstration comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.

The statement included signatures from three dozen student groups including Harvard Jews for Liberation, founded by a community organizer divinity student, Shir Lovett-Graff, and the Harvard Muslim Law Students Association, led by Husain Awan, who is specializing in national security law, and Reema Doleh.

Harvard Jews for Liberation describes itself as a "warm, creative, spiritual and political space for anti-Zionist and non-Zionist Jews, as well as Jews questioning their relationship with Zionism," and Lovett-Graff has written about suffering a "spiritual crisis" over celebrating Shabbat because it has, in her telling, been used as a tool to subjugate Palestinians.

Other groups listed as signatories on the letter include the Harvard Kennedy School South Asia Caucus Leadership, Amnesty International at Harvard and Act on a Dream, which describes itself as the "home for undocumented, DACA, mixed status family, and other immigrant students & allies."