In response to recent violence in Israel, a group of about 50 students and campus leaders assembled, arguing that there is “No Excuse for Terror,” in the Science Center Plaza on Wednesday afternoon.
Participants said they gathered to “stand in solidarity” with victims of attacks in Israel, where violence between Palestinians and Israelis has escalated over the past few weeks.
Students involved in the event said it was not facilitated by any particular organization. During the roughly 90 minutes they stood outside, students handed out flyers, held a banner reading “No excuse for terror,” and read aloud a list of names of people killed during the unrest, according to Anna S. Peterman ’18, one of the students who organized the assembly. She said students started organizing the event about a week ago.
“We saw what was going on, and it was a natural reaction that we had to do something,” said David Schwerdt ’18, an attendee. “We felt that the best thing we could contribute is to stand in solidarity with Israel, promote the message that there is no excuse for terror, and make people aware of what’s going on.”
Leaders from several Jewish organizations on campus also attended, including Hirschy Zarchi, a rabbi and the executive director of Chabad at Harvard, and Jonah C. Steinberg, a rabbi and the executive director of Harvard Hillel.
Zarchi said he was “appalled and horrified” by the deaths in Israel.
Both he and Steinberg said they thought the message of Wednesday’s event was unifying and positive.
“The message that there is no excuse for terror is a message that I think everyone should be able to agree with,” Steinberg said.
Students and organizers said they were emboldened by the positive responses they received from students and tourists passing by.—Staff writer Andrew M. Duehren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @aduehren.