Harvard University, which is mired in controversy over a congressional investigation into allegations of extreme anti-Semitism on campus, will be hosting a Palestinian professor on its campus that referred to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel as a “normal struggle for freedom.”
Dalal Saeb Iriqat is slated to talk at the Ivy league college’s prestigious Kennedy School on Mar. 7. The associated professor at the Arab American University in Palestine has made a myriad of bold statements in support of the Palestinian terrorists’ grisly attack that includes gang rapes of young Israeli women and alleged beheading of babies.
“The Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves, the right to live with dignity and freedom,” Ms. Iriqat wrote on Oct. 7, the day of the attacks. “I am shocked that the world is shocked!”
Behind the event hosting Ms. Iriqat is Harvard professor Tarek E. Masoud, director of the Middle East Initiative.
Mr. Masoud told Harvard’s newspaper The Crimson that he invited Ms. Iriqat for a conversation as part of his “Middle East Dialogues” series, to “help students engage in hard conversations about hard things with people we don’t agree with.”
“If you are going to engage with Palestinians, you’re going to have to engage with these ideas,” he said. “My view is that we have to subject these ideas—and all the ideas that we encounter—to polite but rigorous inquiry.”
The move to host Ms. Iriqat has so far been met with mild backlash by Harvard’s leadership.
In a written statement, Harvard Dean Douglas Elmendorf wrote that he found comments in support of Hamas made by Ms. Iriqat abhorrent, but fell short of condemning Mr. Masoud’s invitation of her to speak at Harvard.
“An invitation to speak at the Kennedy School never implies an endorsement of a speaker’s views by the Kennedy School or members of the Kennedy School community,” Mr. Elmendorf said.
News of Ms. Iriqat’s scheduled appearance at Harvard next month comes the same week the school is being warned to stop stymying a congressional investigation into allegations the Boston college not only condones, but preaches hatred against Jews.
The investigation, being led by The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, issued a final warning on Wednesday to Harvard to fully comply with its request for documents and communications or be subpoenaed for them.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the committee, accused Harvard of obstructing the committee’s investigation.
Following the launch of the congressional investigation, Harvard University President Claudine Gay resigned after facing strong backlash for her lackluster response to the Hamas attacks and anti-Jew protests staged on Harvard’s campus.
After her resignation and the pro-Hamas rallies on campus, a group of Jewish Harvard students filed a lawsuit against the college for what it called a “bastion of rampant anti-Jewish hatred and harassment” that they say escalated following the Hamas attacks.
Just days after the attacks, Jewish students told The Epoch Times they were afraid to wear their yarmulke or go to the Harvard Hillel, a Jewish center on campus.
Students also were caught ripping down missing posters put up around campus of hundreds of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas. Many of the posters were of young children, even infants.
Just days after the attacks, in a pledge of loyalty to the Palestinian terrorists, a coalition made up of 34 different Harvard students organizations signed a letter that said Israelis only had themselves to blame for occupying Palestinian-owned land along the Gaza strip.
Ms. Iriqat, who is also a weekly columnist for the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Quds, promoted similar sentiment, writing in a post on X the day after the attacks “We will never forgive the Israeli right wing extreme government for making us take their children and elderly as hostages.”
She also wrote in a since-deleted post, “The Israeli public needs to realize that their own government had caused all this bloodshed and they remain the ones responsible for this escalatin [sic] and losses of civilian lives.”
Contrasting the allegations of anti-Semitism against Havard was an investigation The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced on Tuesday it was launching into Harvard based on complaints from a group of students that the college was not protecting them from anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab harassment and intimidation.
The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) filed the complaint on behalf of more than a dozen anonymous students, which claimed the University violated students’ rights under Title VI, the federal law that governs against discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
The MLFA said that the students were targeted for participating in vigils in support of a Palestinian state, and experienced doxxing and racial profiling from students and professors.
An organization called Accuracy In Media (AIM) also shamed the students by renting box trucks donning pictures and the names of the students and driving them around campus.
Adam Guillette, president of AIM, told The Epoch Times that his organization supports free speech, “even from vile, racist anti-Semites, like Ms. Iriqat.”
“My only concern is given the wretched history of the university, that Iriqat might be interviewing for the presidential vacancy,” said Mr. Guillette.