Pennsylvania’s junior U.S. senator, John Fetterman, a Democrat, blasted Harvard University for giving a “platform” to a Hamas supporter who has justified the brutal terror attacks on Israel launched Oct. 7.
Dr. Dalal Saeb Iriqat, a professor at the Arab American University in Ramallah in the West Bank, has been invited by Harvard to speak at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center on March 7, reported the New York Post.
“I am truly appalled that the Kennedy School would platform an individual who celebrates and justifies Hamas’ October 7th killing of Israeli citizens – babies, children, the elderly, and the systemic, rape, mutilation, and torture of young girls and women,” Fetterman wrote on X about the invitation.
In a now-deleted X post, Iriqat called the Hamas attacks “just a normal human struggle 4 #Freedom.”
“A big prison called #Gaza tolerated for 17 yrs under Israeli siege,” claimed Iriqat on X in the wake of the Hamas assaults. “Today is just a normal human struggle 4 #Freedom. The Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves, the right to live with dignity and freedom. I am shocked that the world is shocked!”
Using militia, gliders and drones, Hamas launched attacks on Israel civilians at a music festival and near the Gaza Strip in October, killing over 1,200 – including women and children. During the attack, Hamas also took more than 230 hostages.
At the end of January, 105 hostages had been released, but the rest remain captive, including at least two children.
The American Jewish Committee reports that at least 18 hostages have died in captivity.
“The horrific, brutal terrorist attacks committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 were, as President Biden said, ‘abhorrent’ and represent ‘unadulterated evil,’” said White House spokesman, Andrew Bates, about the Hamas attacks, according to the New York Times.
Bates added that the atrocities of that day “shock the conscience” and said that “every leader has a responsibility to call out antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head,” said the New York Times.
The Associated Press reported that Hamas tactics included the widespread use of sexual assault and sexual mutilation prior to killing some of its victims.
Iriqat said the fault of the violence by Hamas rested solely with Israel.
“The Israeli public need to realize that their own government had caused all this bloodshed and they remain the ones responsible for this escalatin [sic] and losses of civilians lives,” she said, according to the New York Post.
Harvard is billing the Iriqat event as a conversation to “understand what is happening and to expose them to the best thinking on how peace may be achieved,” reported the Daily Mail.
Harvard is responding to the dustup over the Iriqat talk by claiming it is a purposeful move to demonstrate the university is a place of “open inquiry.”
“At a time when much attention has been focused on our University and its perceived failures in fostering dialogue on difficult, divisive issues, we have been working quietly to demonstrate that this is in fact a place where open inquiry, searching debate, and honest conversation can and do happen,” said Harvard in response to critics who think the Iriqat invitation should be withdrawn.