update deskSchools & Higher Education

Anti-Israel protesters hold student ‘die-in’ at Harvard’s main library

“The vitriol coming out of America’s most famous university is intolerable,” Harvard freshman Charlie Covit told JNS.

Widener Library at Harvard University 
 in Cambridge, Mass. Credit: Roman Babakin/Shutterstock.
Widener Library at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Credit: Roman Babakin/Shutterstock.

Nearly 200 student activists rallied on Monday on the steps of Harvard University’s Widener Library, advocating for the destruction of the Jewish state.

“The vitriol coming out of America’s most famous university is intolerable,” freshman Charlie Covit, who is Jewish, told JNS about the Feb. 12 rally. “On the same day that Harvard hosted Francesca Albanese, a U.N. special rapporteur banned from Israel for her justification of Hamas’s attack on Oct. 7, hundreds of students, mostly masked, gathered on the iconic Widener Library steps to chant in Arabic, ‘from water to water, Palestine will be Arab.’”

Video from the event captured the Arabic chant, which was a more extreme version of the now well-known call for the destruction of Israel, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The protest, organized by Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine (HOOP) in response to Sunday airstrikes on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, also featured a “die-in.” Participants called for a divestment of Harvard funds from companies they called “complicit in genocide.”

Sophomore Violet T.M. Barron, a member of Harvard Jews for Palestine, called the demonstration “a testament to the power of student organizing and protests on campus.”

Covit said that “his explicit call for ethnic cleansing in Israel is intolerable,” stressing that “Harvard must take action.”

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