Harvard students blame ‘apartheid regime’ for Israel-Gaza war, alumni react

Prominent Harvard alumni express outrage after a coalition of student organisations issues a pro-Palestinian letter.

A sign hangs on a gate of a building at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts
A sign hangs on a gate of a building at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts [File: Brian Snyder/Reuters]

Published On 10 Oct 202310 Oct 2023 / https://www.aljazeera.com/

A coalition of 34 Harvard University student organisations has issued a pro-Palestinian statement in reaction to the continuing Israel-Gaza war, prompting outrage from the university’s prominent alumni.

The students of the most influential university in United States politics said in the statement published on Monday that they “hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence” between the Palestinians and Israelis following decades of occupation, adding that “the apartheid regime is the only one to blame”.

Harvard has produced eight former presidents and four of the nine current Supreme Court justices.

The organisations signing the letter included Muslim and Palestinian support groups as well as others named for a variety of backgrounds including the Harvard Jews for Liberation and the African American Resistance Organization.

Prominent Harvard University alumni on Monday denounced the pro-Palestinian statement and urged the university to take action against the signatories.

“The silence from Harvard’s leadership … has allowed Harvard to appear at best neutral towards acts of terror against the Jewish state of Israel,” Summers wrote on the social media platform X. “I am sickened.”

Elise Stefanik, a Republican US Representative from New York and a Harvard graduate, called the statement “abhorrent and heinous” for excusing the “slaughter of innocent women and children”.

Republican US Senator Ted Cruz, a Harvard Law School graduate, wrote on X: “What the hell is wrong with Harvard?”

Harvard President Claudine Gay and senior leadership including 15 deans issued a statement on Monday that said they were “heartbroken by the death and destruction unleashed by the attack by Hamas that targeted citizens in Israel this weekend”.

But the statement avoided direct references to the student letter or the reaction to it.