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‘Complicated’: Over 100 Harvard Faculty Defend ‘From the River to the Sea’

A pro-Palestinian rally held at Harvard University, October 15, 2023. twitter.com
A pro-Palestinian rally held at Harvard University, October 15, 2023. twitter.com

By: Brandon Poulter, Daily Caller News Foundation

Over 100 Harvard faculty members signed a letter saying the phrase “from the river to the sea” is “complicated” in response to the president’s recent statement on antisemitism.

Harvard President Claudine Gay wrote multiple statements about the antisemitism on campus following backlash from donors and fire from former grads about her response to antisemitism on campus after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks, including a new statement on Thursday denouncing the phrase “from the river to the sea,” which has genocidal implications. A letter signed by many Harvard faculty members claimed that “pressure from donors” is racist and that condemning the phrase “from the river to the sea” is the wrong decision.

“As Harvard faculty, we have been astonished by the pressure from donors, alumni, and even some on this campus to silence faculty, students, and staff critical of the actions of the State of Israel. It is important to acknowledge the patronizing tone and format of much of the criticism you have received as well as the outright racism contained in some of it,” the letter reads.

‘The signatories are the usual suspects from the anti Israel woke hard left. Their one sided screed is part of the problem, not part of any reasonable resolution. I doubt that many of them would sign a letter in support of the free speech of such ‘complex ‘ issues as racism, sexism, homophobia or Islamophobia. Their double standard against Israel is obvious,” former Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Student protests across the U.S. have used the phrase “from the river to the sea” as well as other anti-Israel slogans. Harvard University, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania implemented antisemitism task forces to address antisemitism on campus following the Hamas terrorist attacks.

Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib previously reposted a tweet with the phrase “From the river to the sea” and has made other anti-Israel comments. The House voted to censure Tlaib on Nov. 7 over anti-Israel comments made following the terrorist attacks.

“The phrase ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine must be free’ has a long and complicated history. Its interpretation deserves, and is receiving, sustained and ongoing inquiry and debate,” the letter reads.

The letter goes on to call the choice to denounce the phrase “imprudent” and a misjudged “act of moral leadership.” “It might be framed in the language of liberation, but it calls for the destruction of Israel,” professor Norman Goda, Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Florida, told the DCNF.

Harvard did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Related Story: Harvard Divinity Faculty Condemn Israel’s ‘Oppression’ of Palestinians After Hamas Attacks Leave Over 1,000 Dead

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