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Harvard president distances university from groups blaming Israel for attacks

Dozens of official Harvard groups had signed a letter over the weekend blaming Israel for the attacks

Following national criticism, Harvard’s president condemned the Hamas attack and wrote that the student groups who had signed a letter blaming Israel do not speak for the university.

“While our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership,” President Claudine Gay wrote in a statement sent to The Harvard Crimson, the paper reported Tuesday.

“We will all be well served in such a difficult moment by rhetoric that aims illuminate and not inflame,” Gay wrote.

Harvard had faced outrage over the weekend for its slow response to the Hamas attacks and on Monday for failing to strongly condemn the violence in its official statement, The Crimson reported yesterday.

Nearly 60 student groups at Harvard University had signed a letter over the weekend blaming Israel for the recent and ongoing terrorist attacks against Israel by Hamas that have killed hundreds of people, The College Fix reported yesterday.

“We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” began the four-paragraph statement signed by dozens of student groups.

In today’s statement from the president, which arrived less than 16 hours after the university first commented on the war in an email to the Harvard community Monday evening, Gay spoke of “terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.”

“Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one’s individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region,” Gay wrote.

Among the strongest critics of the university’s initial response was former Harvard President Lawrence Summers.

“In nearly 50 years of @Harvard affiliation, I have never been as disillusioned and alienated as I am today,” Summers posted to X yesterday.

Summers continued Tuesday, writing that “the delayed @Harvard leadership statement fails to meet the needs of the moment.”

“Why can’t we find anything approaching the moral clarity of Harvard statements after George Floyd’s death or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when terrorists kill, rape and take hostage hundreds of Israelis attending a music festival?” Summers wrote.

MORE: Harvard dean changes mind, offers appointment to Israel critic

IMAGE: X/@LHSummers

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