Senator John Fetterman has, despite his party’s mixed feelings on the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, remained firmly on the side of Israel since Hamas launched the horrific October 7th attacks on Israel that kicked off this round of warfare. Most recently, Fetterman showed his support for the embattled Israeli state by ripping into Harvard’s Kennedy School for hosting a Palestinian professor known for blaming Israel for the October 7th attacks.
That Palestinian professor is Dr. Dalal Saev Iriqat, who is an associate professor at Arab American University Palestine. Dr. Iriqat is scheduled to speak on March 7 at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Dr. Iriqat will, if the invitation holds, speak for the school’s “Middle East Dialogues” seminar series.
Dr. Iriqat is more famous, or perhaps infamous, for her post on X about the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. As the Hamas terrorists butchered civilians, she wrote, “Today is just a normal struggle 4 #Freedom.” Then, in the face of criticism over her post, she said, “We will never forgive the Israeli right wing extreme government for making us take their children and elderly as hostages.” She added, “The Israeli public need to realize that their own government had caused all this bloodshed and they remain the ones responsible for this escalation and losses of civilian lives.”
Sen. Fetterman reacted viscerally to Dr. Iriqat’s invitation to Harvard. Posting about the matter on X, he wrote, “I am truly appalled that the Kennedy School would platform an individual who celebrates and justifies Hamas’ October 7th killing of Israeli citizens—babies, children, the elderly, and the systemic, rape, mutilation, and torture of young girls and women.“
Continuing, he added that there is no place for her perspective in a “sanctioned dialogue,” writing, “This hate has absolutely no place in any sanctioned dialogue. Decency would demand it relegated to the sewer of social media fringe. As an alumni and a member of the United States Senate, 25 years later it’s hard to recognize my former university.”
Harvard’s Kennedy School distanced itself from the event amidst outrage over the invitation. In a statement, it noted that the event’s organizer was responsible for Dr. Iriqat’s invitation and added that it does not endorse Dr. Iriqat’s perspectives on the Hamas attacks.
In that statement, the school said, “Dean Douglas Elmendorf personally finds abhorrent the comments by Dalal Saeb Iriqat quoted in the press that justify and normalize the horrific terrorist attack by Hamas. An invitation to speak at the Kennedy School never implies an endorsement of a speaker’s views by the Kennedy School or members of the Kennedy School community.”
The organizer, Dr. Masoud, said, “If you are going to engage with Palestinians, you’re going to have to engage with these ideas. My view is that we have to subject these ideas — and all the ideas that we encounter — to polite but rigorous inquiry.” He added, “For too long we haven’t done this work because we were more concerned with psychological safety rather than education. What I want is for our community to transcend emotions when confronted with ideas or speakers that we dislike, bring our best selves and strongest arguments to the table, and have it out.”
Watch Fetterman taunt protesters with an Israeli flag here:
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