By: Lieba Nesis
Harvard’s Palestine Solidarity Groups, comprised of over 31 organizations, co-signed a letter hours after the October 7th attack that stated, “We the undersigned student organizations hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all the unfolding violence. The apartheid regime of Israel is the only one to blame. The coming days will require a firm stand against colonial retaliation.” In the controversial letter Representatives from Harvard’s Black, Bengali, Pakistani, South Asian, Sikh and Arab student groups condemned“ the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians” after the worst terrorist attack against Jews since the Holocaust.
Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman
Moreover, in a less publicized missive, 6 Administrators from the Harvard Divinity School’s Religion and Public Life Program urged people to challenge Israel’s single story narrative “to justify its retaliation, and instead begin with the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by Israel and the blockade of Gaza since 2007,” and not with the Hamas slaughter of October 7th. Interim Divinity School Dean David Holland distanced himself from the statement with a wholly inadequate response saying the individuals spoke for themselves while also agreeing with their sentiment by remarking, “critiquing the context is not condoning the terror” when in fact the statement had both excused and justified the carnage.
Similarly, Harvard president Claudine Gay, the 30th President of Harvard and its First Black President whose term began in December 2022, has been woefully weak in her response to the controversy and as a former Harvard law student I am predicting she will be fired. The first response of Gay to the student groups blaming Israel was delayed three days to Monday and read Harvard was “heartbroken by the Hamas attacks targeting Israelis”-failing to adequately rebuke Hamas and ignoring the elephant in the room-the student organizations that 100 percent blamed Israel.
After a firestorm of controversy on Tuesday October 10th Gay condemned “the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas” and further remarked “no student group speaks for Harvard University”-still failing to condemn the letter. On Thursday October 12th Gay declared in a video “Harvard embraces a commitment to free expression. We do not punish or sanction people for expressing such views. But that is a far cry from endorsing them.” And so Gay has cowardly decided not to censure, sanction, expel, suspend, oppose or take any University supported action against a group essentially blaming the Jews for their own slaughter, rape and dismemberment. The Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee was even planning a University approved vigil on Tuesday 3 days after the attack to show solidarity with Palestine until it was canceled due to security concerns; a week after the attack 1,000 students joined in Harvard Yard to support Gaza and the Free Palestine movement-shameful.
Tensions have only increased as right-wing groups from Washington DC are driving around Harvard’s campus with photos of pro-Palestine letter signers with hedge funder Bill Ackman and 12 other CEO’s asking for the names of these students in order to blacklist them from hiring. Claudine Gay claims that Harvard’s advocacy for Freedom of Expression is incontrovertible when in reality in September 2023 Harvard was named the “worst school for free speech” by The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression scoring below a Zero out of 248 schools. The Foundation remarked it was being generous as Harvard’s actual score was -10.69.
Why did Harvard earn this dismal score? Let’s start with conservative activist Kyle Kashuv whose Harvard acceptance was rescinded in 2019 for racist comments he made and apologized for in private chats two years earlier at the age of 16. Since 2019 Harvard has sanctioned four scholars three of whom were fired including government professor David Kane who was removed for his op-ed which claimed that 90 Percent of the black students at his alma mater Williams attained entry because of their color. In 2011 conservative Indian politician Subramanian Swamy was fired from Harvard after penning an article suggesting the removal of mosques after a terrorist attack in Dubai-I guess applauding the slaughtering of civilians is okay but cracking down on mosques without violence is grounds for removal. The dire situation of limiting free speech caused over 100 Harvard professors to form an emergency council in April 2023. Obviously Harvard’s commitment to free speech is only when the speech is liberal and left wing revolutionary jargon.
Harvard Business School
And so Harvard will undoubtedly suffer where it hates to suffer the most-its pocketbook. Despite Harvard’s massive $53.2 billion endowment the recent decision by billionaire Idan Ofer to resign from the executive board of the Kennedy School of Government after donating $20 million in prior years is a bad harbinger for the future as the Wexner Foundation which previously gave $56 million has similarly pulled out. Mega-donor Ken Griffin has voiced his distress over Claudine Gay’s failed response despite pledging $300 million this year prior to October 7th. This is only the beginning as more Harvard alumni and board members will revoke donations and funding unless Gay is fired and some much needed revamping is done including sanctioning, expelling, and blacklisting those students who blame the beheading, rape and executions of innocent Jews on the victims themselves.