The Harvard Kennedy School is set to host a Palestinian professor who called Hamas’ massacre of Israeli civilians a “normal struggle for freedom,” and said she would never forgive Israel’s government for “making us take their children and elderly as hostages.”
Dalal Saeb Iriqat, a professor of diplomacy and conflict resolution at the Arab American University in Ramallah is set to speak at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center as part of its Middle East Dialogues series on March 7, 2024.
On Oct. 7, while terrorists were still slaughtering Israeli civilians in the Gaza envelope, Iriqat justified the attack.
“The world tolerated watching >35000 Palestinian youth seek refuge via territorial waters, putting their lives at risk, choosing to drawn in the sea over their miserable lives in a big prison called #Gaza after 17 yrs Israeli siege [sic],” she posted to X, formerly Twitter. “Today is just a normal human struggle 4 #Freedom.”
Shortly after, she said Palestinians “have the right to defend themselves,” adding the she was “shocked that the world is shocked!”
A few hours later, she condemned those issuing statements in support of Israel as its people were under attack.
“Statements of support to @netanyahu far right Israeli Gov can only fuel more state organized terror and more impunity to Israel’s continued #crimes & collective punishment against the Palestinian civilians,” she posted to X.
The next day, she seemingly aligned herself with Hamas and blamed Israel for the attack.
“We will never forgive the Israeli right wing extreme government for making us take their children and elderly as hostages,” she posted. “The Israeli public need to realize that their own government had caused all this bloodshed and they remain the ones responsible for this escalatin and losses of civilians lives [sic].”
Harvard University has been under mounting criticism for its response to Hamas’ massacre, including a lawsuit being filed by Jewish students that accuse the school of enabling antisemitism and selectively enforcing its policies to avoid protecting Jewish students from harassment. The university parted ways with its former president, Claudine Gay, as she dealt with backlash over her public statements about combatting antisemitism on campus.
The professor’s radical pro-Hamas rhetoric has continued in the months since the attack, even promoting conspiracy theories that Israel was lying about what took place that day. On November 18, amid carrying out its weeks-long effort to identify bodies burned by Hamas terrorists, Iriqat denied that they were Israelis.
“The burnt bodies were Hamas militants,” she posted to Instagram.
She added that “Israeli helicopter fire may have killed ravers,” citing a Haaretz article that has widely been taken out of context and used to blame Israel for Hamas’ massacre of the partygoers at the NOVA festival. The Israel Police slammed Haaretz’s article, which claims an unnamed police source said an IDF helicopter “apparently harmed a few partygoers who were in the area,” reported the Times of Israel.
On December 31, she said the conflict isn’t Israel versus Hamas.
“This is not an Israel Hamas conflict,” she posted. “Israel is waging a series of #war_crimes against the Palestinians, this is not against Hamas, this is against the Palestinian right of self determination,” she wrote. “I urge everyone to refrain from the framing of Israel/Hamas or Israel/Gaza, this is Israel Vs Palestine!!”
Iriqat also posted a cartoon of soldiers shooting on top of a wall displaying a Jewish star combined with a swastika.
On November 21, Iriqat chimed in on former Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s condemnation of Hamas’ rape of Israeli women.
“Yes 100 against rape, against violence as acts against humanity,” she posted. “You spoke of rape in 2023, your voice went out for Israeli women, are you aware that for decades Palestinian women documented harassment and abuse cases by Israeli soldiers?”
“Don’t fall into #Hasbara, propaganda in 2023, truth and Justice shall prevail [sic],” she wrote.
Harvard Kennedy School’s intention behind the speaker series is to help their community members “understand what is happening and to expose them to the best thinking on how peace may be achieved,” according to the announcement.
“At a time when much attention has been focused on our University and its perceived failures in fostering dialogue on difficult, divisive issues, we have been working quietly to demonstrate that this is in fact a place where open inquiry, searching debate, and honest conversation can and do happen,” it added.
It said the speakers were chosen because “they represent points of view that I believe anyone who cares about the region can ill afford [to] ignore.”
Other speakers slated for the series include Jared Kushner, former senior advisor to President Donald Trump, Salam Fayyad, the former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Einat Wilf, a former member of the Israeli Knesset, and Matt Duss, a foreign policy advisor to Sen. Bernie Sanders who has been criticized for his antisemitic writing.
“We hope you will join us for these critical conversations, which I hope will not just make us smarter, but also help us to better become instruments of peace and prosperity in a part of the world that surely deserves them,” the announcement reads.
Harvard University and Dalal Saeb Iriqat did not respond to a request for comment.