Progressive Labor Party Organizes Solidarity March With Harvard Yard Encampment


Encampment Protesters Briefly Raise 3 Palestinian Flags Over Harvard Yard


Mayor Wu Cancels Harvard Event After Affinity Groups Withdraw Over Emerson Encampment Police Response


Harvard Yard To Remain Indefinitely Closed Amid Encampment


HUPD Chief Says Harvard Yard Encampment is Peaceful, Defends Students’ Right to Protest

Op Eds

Al-Quds Day at Harvard

By Charles M. Covit, Crimson Opinion Writer
Charles M. Covit ’27, a Crimson Editorial editor, lives in Holworthy Hall.

In 1987, Walid Daqqa was convicted of commanding a terrorist cell that kidnapped and murdered a 19-year-old Israeli Jew, Moshe Tammam. According to Tammam’s niece, the terrorists castrated him and gouged out his eyes before shooting him dead.

When Daqqa died last week in prison, The Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee posted a tribute to him on Instagram: “Rest in power.” (Daqqa denied his involvement in the killing.)

The commemorations of Daqqa came just a few days after pro-Palestinian groups at Harvard marked Al-Quds Day. The African and African American Resistance Organization, whose members identify as “militant,” honored Al-Quds Day with an Instagram post declaring, “ZIONISTS ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!” The PSC held a rally outside Harvard Yard, proclaiming “Palestine Shall Prevail. Resist During Al Quds Day” in another post.

Al-Quds Day, an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan to express opposition to Israel, was first celebrated in 1979 by Islamic revolutionaries in Iran.  When Ayatollah Ruhollah M. Khomeini marked the inaugural Al-Quds Day 45 years ago, he prayed for “the victory of the Muslims over the infidels.”

But Quds Day celebrations are no longer limited to Islamic fundamentalists in Iran chanting “death to Israel, death to America.” On Al-Quds Day 2024, pro-Palestinian activists commemorated the Ayatollah’s holiday at Harvard too.

When Harvard students proudly praise alleged torturers, you know that there is something deeply wrong at this institution. Columbia just suspended four students for organizing an unauthorized “Resistance 101” event, but even as Harvard faces a federal investigation into antisemitism on campus, it refuses to take similar action.

Harvard has, however, taken steps to protect other groups on campus. When the PSC erected its annual “wall of resistance” in the Science Center Plaza, the University provided it with a dedicated security guard. The wall accused Israel of genocide and included a quote from a founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

The response could not have been more different from Harvard’s dealings with the Jewish community: Chabad claims the University refused to provide protection for the menorah they erected last Hanukkah — an inoffensive religious symbol that somehow ranked lower in the school’s priorities than the heinous speech they ardently protected.

Pockets of Harvard are rife with what can only be called an obsession with Israel. The Bell Collective for Critical Race Theory at Harvard Law School, for example, recently hosted a conference on “censorship & consciousness.” Of the seven events the conference advertised, three were about Palestine. At a “repression and resistance” panel, the featured speaker was Ryna Workman, a New York University law student caught on video defacing posters of kidnapped Israelis. Workman was nonetheless deemed deserving of an invite.

None of the conference’s events appeared to center on any non-domestic topic other than Palestine, begging the question: Why, exactly, would the Bell Collective devote almost half of its conference on race to attacking the only Jewish state?

The answer may lie with people like the Lowell House tutor who studies antisemitism and yet bragged about his score on a “Zionist or Nazi” quiz on X. Sickeningly, it seems that, in his eyes, the overwhelming majority of Jews who support the existence of a Jewish state appear to be comparable to the Nazis.

And while many will claim anti-Zionism is not the same as antisemitism, the two certainly have much in common. Gustavo A. Espada ’96, an employee of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, wrote on X, “How about instead of saying Zionists are abetting genocide we use their own preferred terminology and say roughly 95% of Jews are abetting genocide? Would that be better?”

When Harvard’s students are calling themselves “militant,” honoring a convicted terrorist, and celebrating the same hateful holiday created by the ayatollahs in Iran, something has gone seriously awry. This is not pro-peace activism.

Harvard must do better.

Charles M. Covit ’27, a Crimson Editorial editor, lives in Holworthy Hall.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Op Eds