Harvard hosts UN official banned from Israel for justifying Hamas' Oct. 7 massacre

iStock/Marcio Silva
iStock/Marcio Silva

Harvard University hosted an official with the United Nations on the same day Israel banned her for justifying Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks for saying the slaughter of 1,200 people, including 31 Americans, was in “response to Israel’s oppression.” This comes as the Ivy League institution continues to face scrutiny for how it addresses antisemitism on campus.

Francesca Albanese, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, spoke Monday during a virtual event organized by the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. According to a description of the event by The Harvard Gazette, the purpose was for Albanese to discuss the ongoing war in Gaza and her experiences working with Palestinian refugees. 

Israel declared itself in a state of war following Hamas' attacks on Oct. 7, which resulted in the deaths of thousands, primarily civilians, and the kidnapping of 240 hostages, including Americans. The Hamas terrorist-run Gaza Health Ministry claims that over 27,000 people have been killed since the war began, but those figures don’t differentiate between combatants and civilians.

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Following an overnight operation, Israel Defense Forces announced Monday that it had successfully rescued two captives held by the terror group in Rafah. The hostages, Fernando Marman, 61, and Louis Har, 70, were in good condition and reunited with their families at an Israeli hospital, according to the IDF.

According to The Times of Israel, Albanese is officially banned from Israel due to comments she made about the Hamas terror attacks. According to the outlet, it's unknown if or when the ban might be lifted. 

The U.N. special rapporteur made the remarks in a Saturday post on X in response to a post by the newspaper Le Monde. The paper shared a story last week about French President Emmanuel Macron honoring the victims and survivors of the Hamas terror attacks, including French nationals. 

“The victims of [the Oct. 7 terror attacks] were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression,” Albanese wrote. “France & the international community did nothing to prevent it. My respects to the victims.”

The Christian Post reached out to Harvard University to ask whether it was aware of Albanese’s remarks and that Israel had banned her. A response was not received by press time.

The news about the Ivy League school hosting a speaker banned from Israel for antisemitic views comes shortly after the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay. Before the former university president resigned following multiple accusations of plagiarism and failing to cite sources, Gay faced criticism for her responses during a December 2023 congressional hearing focused on anti-Semitism on college campuses. 

During the hearing held by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., asked the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology if calling for the genocide of Jews violated their schools’ individual codes of conduct on bullying or harassment. In response to the question, Gay said it would depend on the context. 

After the hearing, the nationally recognized law firm Edelson PC announced that it would not participate in Harvard’s Spring Interview Program that traditionally recruits law students on campus due in part to Gay’s testimony before Congress. The firm also stated that it would not participate in Harvard’s on-campus interviewing event in August. 

Harvard University also received media attention shortly after Hamas’ attacks when more than 30 student groups signed a letter holding Israel responsible for the massacre. The letter, released by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups, stated that the events of that day did not happen “in a vacuum,” arguing that the “apartheid regime is the only one to blame."

The letter, which didn’t explicitly condemn the slaughter of Israeli civilians and foreigners, received backlash from former students and faculty, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a Harvard law school alumnus, and former Harvard President Larry Summers.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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