Now a congressional committee is looking into whether Harvard has done enough to protect Jewish students on campus. And several Jewish students have sued Harvard, claiming that it has not provided a “safe environment” for them and other Jewish students.
As if that were not enough, now a professor of Middle Eastern studies has invited an extreme anti-Zionist and open supporter of Hamas and its October 7 attack to speak at the Kennedy School. Robert Spencer wrote about this briefly here, and more on this unwise and offensive decision can be found here: “Harvard University Faces New Antisemitism Controversy with Invitation of Pro-Hamas Speaker,” by Dion J. Pierre, Algemeiner, February 7, 2024:
Harvard University is enmeshed in another antisemitism controversy following reports that a Middle Eastern studies professor has invited Dalal Saeb Iriqat, an extreme anti-Zionist and alleged advocate of terrorism, to the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).
Ms. Iriqat is not an “alleged advocate of terrorism.” She has openly declared her support for Hamas, which many countries, including the United States, have designated as a terror group. There is no “alleged” about it.
According to The Harvard Crimson, Tarek E. Masoud, director of Harvard’s Middle East Initiative (MEI), invited Dalal Saeb Iriqat as a speaker for MEI’s “Middle East Dialogue Series,” a slate of interviews that will also include former government officials such as presidential adviser Jared Kushner and former Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Salam Fayyad.
There will be invited speakers from both sides — such as Jared Kushner, advocating for Israel, and Salam Fayyad, the former PA prime minister, speaking for the Palestinians. That was never the problem. The gravament of the charge against inviting Iriqat is this: some speakers are beyond the pale, and should not be given a forum to spread their extreme views. In the case of Dalal Saab Iriqat, she is not merely an “advocate for the Palestinians,” but someone who praises Hamas’ atrocities on October 7 — that is, she does not find fault with, does not deplore but proudly lauds, those who beheaded babies, burned children alive, sliced off the breasts of women, gouged out the eyes and cut off the genitalia of men, murdered children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children.
Iriqat, a Palestinian instructor employed by the Arab American University, located in the West Bank city of Jenin, is best known for defending Hamas’ murdering and raping of civilians during its massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7, an act she described on social media as “just a normal human struggle.”
In other posts, she said, “We will never forgive the Israeli right wing extreme government for making us take their children and elderly as hostages” and “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.”
No, the Israelis did not “make” the Palestinians seize 240 hostages — at least 50 of whom have so far died in Hamas captivity, almost certainly murdered by their captors. Nor did the Israelis cause “all this bloodshed” on October 7; it was the Hamas operatives who swooped down like wolves on the fold, to rape, torture, mutilate, and murder the helpless men, women, and children at the Re’im dance party and in the kibbutzim.
Masoud told The Harvard Crimson that he disagrees with Iriqat’s opinions but that nothing about him bringing her to campus was inappropriate.
“If you are going to engage with Palestinians, you’re going to have to engage with these ideas,” he told the paper. “My view is that we have to subject these ideas — and all the ideas that we encounter — to polite but rigorous inquiry.”
What exactly is the “idea” for which this invited speaker stands? Is the approval of genocide worthy of being called an “idea”? What kind of “polite inquiry” can there be with someone who approves of the atrocities on October 7, and claims that they are an understandable reaction to Israel’s longstanding “aggression”? What is Iriqat’s “idea” other than the desire for the complete destruction of the Jewish state, and the expulsion, or killing, of all of its Jewish inhabitants? Would Masoud be willing to invite an Israeli speaker who called for all of the Palestinians in Gaza to be pushed permanently into Egypt, and those in Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the West Bank) similarly to be moved to Jordan? Would that be a speaker he would consider inviting? No, I didn’t think so.