October 13, 2023
By Josh Christenson
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) called on the president of her alma mater, Harvard University, to resign Friday after the academic again declined to condemn or punish students who blamed Israel for last week’s Hamas terrorist attacks.
“Harvard continues to disgrace itself on the global stage,” Stefanik, who graduated from the Ivy League university in 2006, posted on X.
“Antisemitism should be condemned and NEVER defended as ‘free expression.’ Claudine Gay should resign,” she added to the Harvard president’s third statement since Hamas launched rocket and ground attacks on southern Israel that slaughtered more than 1,300 people, including at least 27 Americans.
Gay in her statement made no mention of the 34 student organizations that co-signed a Saturday letter issued by the school’s Palestine Solidarity Committee that held Israel “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”
Stefanik and six other members of Congress who are also Harvard alumni wrote a letter to Gay on Friday expressing “outrage” that she had not yet repudiated the “dangerous antisemitism” expressed by the organizations that agreed to the letter.
“The Iran-backed terrorist organization slaughtered over 1,000 people on the first day of their attack, the greatest loss of life for the Jewish community in a single day since the Holocaust,” Stefanik wrote alongside Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.) and Brian Mast (R-Fla.), as well as Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).
“Any voice that excuses the slaughter of innocent women, children, and babies has chosen the side of evil and terrorism,” they told Gay. “Harvard University must publicly condemn this statement and make it clear that it opposes violence against Israeli citizens.”
“Any voice that can defend the raping, killing, and kidnapping of innocent women and children has chosen the side of terrorism,” Stefanik added in a statement.
“Harvard must decide whether it wants to be a true institution of higher learning or an incubator of bigotry and anti-semitism whose students try to rationalize and justify child rape and mass murder,” Cruz also said.
“When I was at Harvard, pro-Palestine protesters harassed my family and me just because they realized I was a veteran,” added Mast. “There’s no logic with these people — if there was, they’d realize there is no equivalency between Israelis defending themselves and terrorists beheading children. But Harvard leadership should know better.”
While condemning the “barbaric atrocities perpetrated by Hamas,” the Harvard president said in a video statement Thursday night that the “university embraces a commitment to free expression.”
“Our university rejects the harassment or intimidation of individuals based on their beliefs,” Gay said. “That commitment extends even to views that many of us find objectionable, even outrageous. We do not punish or sanction people for expressing such views.”
“We can fan the flames of division and hatred that are roiling the world,” she added. “Or we can try to be a force for something different and better.”
Former Harvard president and Obama National Economic Council director Larry Summers denounced his former university for its halting response to the student groups that issued the Oct. 7 letter that held “the apartheid regime” of Israel responsible for the terrorist incursion by Hamas.
“Today’s events did not occur in a vacuum,” the statement from the university’s Palestine Solidarity Committee read. “For the last two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open-air prison.”
Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and a dozen other executives also asked for the names of members of the student groups that signed a letter that committed to “hold[ing] the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence” — and said he wouldn’t hire any of them in the future.
Previous statements by Gay’s office condemned Hamas’ acts of terrorism without calling out the students for their support of jihadist violence.
Just five student groups have confirmed their co-authorship of the letter.
Read the full article in the NY Post here.