Harvard Responds to Terror Attack in Israel After Students Publicly Support Terrorists

Harvard University President-elect Claudine Gay arrives on stage during the 372nd Commence
Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Harvard leadership has finally issued a statement in response to the Palestinian terrorist attack against Israel over weekend, after being called out by former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers — and others — for their “silence.” University leadership, however, made no mention of their students expressing support for the Hamas terrorists.

“Dear Members of the Harvard Community,” the statement began. “We write to you today heartbroken by the death and destruction unleashed by the attack by Hamas that targeted citizens in Israel this weekend, and by the war in Israel and Gaza now under way.”

The statement continued:

The violence hits all too close to home for many at Harvard. Some members of our community have lost family members and friends; some have been unable to reach loved ones. And, even for people at Harvard who have not been affected directly by the fighting, there are feelings of fear, sadness, anger, and more that create a heavy burden. We have heard from many students, faculty, and staff about the emotional toll that these events are taking.

The statement — signed by Harvard President Claudine Gay, Provost Alan M. Garber, Executive Vice President Meredith Weenick, and 15 deans — did not push back in any way against the scores of student groups that issued a statement expressing their support for terrorists and blaming Israel for Hamas killing hundreds of Israelis.

“Across Harvard, we will continue providing as much support to our students and colleagues as possible,” the statement read. “We have also heard an interest from many in understanding more clearly what has been happening in Israel and Gaza.”

“Even as we attend immediately to the needs of our community members, we can take steps as an academic community to deepen our knowledge of the unfolding events and their broader implications for the region and the world,” Harvard leadership stated. “We expect there will be many such opportunities in the coming days and weeks.”

The statement continued:

We have no illusion that Harvard alone can readily bridge the widely different views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we are hopeful that, as a community devoted to learning, we can take steps that will draw on our common humanity and shared values in order to modulate rather than amplify the deep-seated divisions and animosities so distressingly evident in the wider world. Especially at such a time, we want to emphasize our commitment to fostering an environment of dialogue and empathy, appealing to one another’s thoughtfulness and goodwill in a time of unimaginable loss and sorrow.

As many colleagues, classmates, and friends deal with pain and deep concern about the events in Israel and Gaza, we must all remember that we are one Harvard community, drawn together by a shared passion for learning, discovery, and the pursuit of truth in all its complexity, and held together by a commitment to mutual respect and support. At this moment of challenge, let us embody the care and compassion the world needs now.

Harvard’s statement was in response to the deadly terrorist attacks in Israel over the weekend — during the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, the final day of the annual High Holy Day cycle — which have so far left nearly 900 dead and thousands wounded. Others have been kidnapped.

The statement also came after former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers slammed Harvard leadership for their “silence,” especially in the wake of more than 30 of the school’s student groups expressing their support for the Hamas terrorists.

Harvard’s statement on the matter, however, made no mention of the student groups’ bizarre and troubling statement.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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