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Senator Fetterman Criticizes Harvard for Inviting Controversial Palestinian Speaker

Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania has publicly condemned Harvard University for extending an invitation to Dr. Dalal Saeb Iriqat, a Palestinian professor known for her controversial statements regarding Israel, to speak at an upcoming event.

The Center of the Storm

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Dr. Iriqat, an associate professor at Arab American University Palestine, is slated to participate in the “Middle East Dialogues” seminar series at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs on March 7, stirring significant backlash.

Fetterman’s Strong Rebuke

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Expressing his dismay, Senator Fetterman denounced the decision to host Dr. Iriqat, especially in light of her comments following the October 7 Hamas attacks, criticizing her for seemingly justifying violence against Israeli civilians.

The Controversial Doctor

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Dr. Iriqat attracted criticism for her social media posts on October 7, downplaying the severity of the Hamas attacks and attributing blame to the Israeli government for the ensuing violence.

Dr. Iriqat’s X Post

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“Today is just a normal struggle 4 #Freedom,” Iriqat had posted on Oct. 7 on X, even as Israelis near the border with Gaza were afraid for their lives and Hamas terrorists were butchering people while going on a door-to-door rampage.

Fetterman’s Statement

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“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,” Fetterman said.

This Hate Has No Place

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He added that, “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 Response

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In response to the controversy, Harvard clarified that the event’s organizer, Professor Tarek Masoud, independently selected and invited the speakers, emphasizing the series’ intent to foster debate and discussion on contentious issues.

Academic Freedom or Endorsement of Views?

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“The purpose of the series is to provide a venue for debate and discussion, recognizing that different views will be offered and challenged—including views that many at the Kennedy School and beyond may disagree with vehemently and even find repugnant,” Harvard said.

A Diverse Panel of Speakers

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The “Middle East Dialogues” series will feature a range of speakers, including Jared Kushner, Matt Duss, Salam Fayyad, and Einat Wilf, each expected to confront unfiltered questions from the audience and faculty..

A Divisive Debate Continues

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The invitation extended to Dr. Iriqat by Harvard has ignited a heated debate about the limits of academic freedom, the responsibility of educational institutions in curating their speakers, and the broader implications for dialogue on Middle Eastern politics.

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