By: Kate Anderson, Daily Caller News Foundation
Several Harvard Divinity School faculty sent out a statement condemning Israel’s oppression of Palestinians following the terrorist attacks over the weekend, according to a Tuesday email obtained by Townhall reporter John Hasson.
Harvard’s President Claudine Gay came out Tuesday against a joint statement from over 30 student groups, saying it did not represent the views of the university after the college faced heavy backlash for failing to condemn Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist organization, for murdering over 1,300 Israelis and taking over 100 as hostages. Six Harvard Divinity School faculty members, however, sent out an email Tuesday, arguing that Israel’s “decades” of unjust “oppression” of Palestinians could not be ignored when discussing the “horrendous” attacks, screenshots of the email show.
“Start with the rockets fired into Israel by Hamas on October 7, 2023, and not with the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by Israel and the blockade of Gaza since 2007, and you’ll have an entirely different story,” the email reads. “To acknowledge the context out of which this latest spate of violence arises is not to diminish the pain and suffering of Israeli and Palestinian victims.”
The signees included Diane Moore, associate dean for Religion and Public Life, Hilary Rantisi, associate director of the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative, Atalia Omer, T. J. Dermot Dunphy Visiting professor of Religion, Violence, and Peacebuilding, Hussein Rashid, assistant dean for Religion and Public Life, Susan Hayward, associate director of the Religious Literacy and the Professions Initiative, and Judy Beals, program Director of Religion and Public Life, according to the email.
While the professors claimed to be “horrified” by the violence, they warned against resorting to “ethical relativism,” urging the international community to follow the advice of United Nations Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese “to be ‘wise and even-handed’ when confronting the result of ‘decades of oppression’ imposed on the Palestinians,” according to the email. Albanese has been heavily criticized for her previous comments about Israel, specifically when she accused the U.S. of being controlled by the “Jewish lobby” in 2014.
The professors further expressed concerns about the “narrative about an ‘innocent” state of Israel’s right to ‘defend’ itself” when discussing Hamas’ “horrendous attack on Israeli civilians,” according to the email. They argued the “reality was much more complex” and encouraged challenging “single story narratives” justifying retaliation for the violence.
Over 150 Harvard faculty signed a letter Wednesday denouncing the statement released by the student groups that failed to condemn Hamas for the attacks. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz also came out against the students’ statement, calling Gay’s rebuttal “too little too late.”
At least five of the original signees rescinded their endorsement after several student group leaders’ names were released, according to the Harvard Crimson.
Moore, Rantisi, Omer, Rashid, Hayward and Beals did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.