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Harvard anti-Israel group threatens disruptions at this week’s commencement

Says interim president agreed to ‘clemency’ for disciplined students; school disputes claim

The “unrecognized” student group Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine marched to President Alan Garber’s residence on Sunday to “warn” school officials they plan to disrupt commencement activities this Thursday.

Before the rally began, participants put up placards with the “names and pictures” of Palestinians who have been “Martyred by the IOF.”

“IOF” stands for “Israeli Occupation Forces.”

The Harvard Crimson reports that in a weekend Instagram post, HOOP said the rally was meant to “send Harvard a message: commencement will not proceed as normal while Harvard penalizes the students that speak against genocide.”

Harvard Law student Lea Kayali told the approximately 200 assembled that if Harvard wanted a “peaceful” commencement, it should not have “threatened” anti-Israel activists “and [the] most vulnerable student organizers.”

Activists are particularly upset at the suspension of five anti-Israel students, the probation status of 20 others, and the decision to disallow 14 students — including some Rhodes Scholars — from participating in Thursday’s festivities. Over 1,100 undergrads have signed a petition urging Harvard to drop disciplinary actions against the students.

About a dozen seniors “with keffiyehs draped over their graduation robes” spoke at the rally.

One attendee read aloud an anonymous disciplined student’s op-ed which said in part “My family, who have made innumerable sacrifices to see me in the place that I am today, will not be able to hang a college diploma on our living room wall. I am leaving Harvard infuriated, exhausted, and disgusted.”

MORE: This year’s Harvard commencement speaker compared Israel to Nazi Germany

The op-ed, available on HOOP’s Instagram page, claims minority students “particularly” have noted Harvard’s alleged dismissal of precedent regarding campus protests, and alleges the Anti-Defamation League “perpetuat[es] racist and Islamophobic sentiment.”

Like many other pro-Hamas campus activist claims, the op-ed also falsely accuses Israel of committing “genocide.” The piece concludes by telling Harvard to “not dare” to claim the student as its own in the years to come.

The Crimson notes anti-Israel activists believed President Garber had agreed to “clemency” for Harvard’s pro-Gaza encampment participants; however, the school says no “explicit” promise was made.

At the rally, demonstrators chanted “intifada, intifada coming to America” and “Harvard fuck your funding, a new world is coming.” A Harvard Law student claimed “intifada” and “from the river to the sea” are merely “liberatory slogans” and chided the school for using them as “Palestine exception[s] to free speech.”

MORE: Harvard medical, dental students complain school censored anti-Israel ‘welcome’ video

IMAGE: HOOP/Instagram

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.