Harvard To Host Palestinian Professor Who Said Hamas’ Oct 7 Attack Was ‘Just A Normal Human Struggle For Freedom’ And Blamed Israel For ‘Making Us Take Their Children And Elderly As Hostages’

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Harvard To Host Palestinian Professor Who Said Hamas' Oct 7 Attack Was 'Just A Normal Human Struggle For Freedom' And Blamed Israel For 'Making Us Take Their Children And Elderly As Hostages'

Harvard University has invited a controversial Palestinian professor to speak who justified the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel as a “normal human struggle for freedom.” 

Dr. Dalal Saeb Iriqat, a columnist and associated professor at Arab American University Palestine, is scheduled to speak at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs on March 7 for a seminar series called “Middle East Dialogues.” 

The Belfer Center website describes the “Middle East Dialogues” seminars as “a series of frank, open, and probing encounters with vital and varied perspectives on the current conflict, its causes, and the prospects for peace and progress in the region.”

The series was established by Dr. Tarek Masoud, the Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Governance at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Masoud said in a statement that he chose the featured speakers, who would be interviewed with “tough questions in a civil manner.” 

Iriqat is a controversial figure who has made statements downplaying the Hamas attack on Israel and blaming the Israeli government for the bloodshed on October 7, when 1,200 people were killed after Hamas terrorists infiltrated the country.

“Today is just a normal struggle 4 #Freedom,” Iriqat posted on X on Oct. 7, as Israelis near the border with Gaza cowered in their homes while terrorists went door-to-door butchering people.

In the face of criticism for her post, Iriqat doubled down and blamed Israel for the attacks the next day.

“We will never forgive the Israeli right wing extreme government for making us take their children and elderly as hostages,” she posted on X. 

“The Israeli public needs to realize that their own government had caused all this bloodshed and they remain the ones responsible for this escalation and losses of civilian lives.” 

Harvard remains under scrutiny for antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment on its campus. 

The university organized a task force on antisemitism after it was harshly criticized for its response to pro-Palestinian protests on campus following the Hamas attack on Israel. 

Former university president Claudine Gay resigned last month after she offered vague answers at a Congressional hearing on antisemitism where she was repeatedly asked about whether calls for genocide against Jewish people on campus qualifies as a violation of Harvard’s rules against bullying and harassment. She was later hit with multiple accusations of plagiarism throughout her academic career. 

Jewish students have also sued Harvard alleging that the school enables antisemitism and has hired “professors who support anti-Jewish violence.” 

Israel has waged war in Gaza to eradicate Hamas in the months since the attack, causing thousands of civilian casualties with airstrikes. 

Iriqat has continued to condemn Israel on social media, accusing Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza. On October 30, she shared a political cartoon likening the Israeli military to Nazis. 

A pro-Palestinian protest on Harvard University’s campus on October 14, 2023

In a statement, the Harvard Kennedy School said Professor Masoud chose Iriqat to be interviewed and that his choice is consistent with the school’s “commitment to academic freedom for faculty members.” 

“The purpose of the series is to provide a venue for debate and discussion, recognizing that different views will be offered and challenged — including views that many at the Kennedy School and beyond may disagree with vehemently and even find repugnant. Dean Douglas Elmendorf personally finds abhorrent the comments by Dalal Saeb Iriqat quoted in the press that justify and normalize the horrific terrorist attack by Hamas,” the statement reads.

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