Harvard University is building ties with a Palestinian Arab university that supports terrorism, even though some of Harvard’s own students have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists.
Last month, Harvard president Lawrence Bacow paid a friendly visit to Al-Quds University near Jerusalem. According to an Al-Quds press release, “he met some of the students and faculty, who expressed their enthusiasm about collaborating with Harvard on future research and educational projects.”
I wonder if Bacow had a chance to discuss with the students another topic about which they are very enthusiastic—glorifying Palestinian Arab terrorists, including murderers of Americans.
In 2016, the Al-Quds University administration organized a “chain of readers” to publicly honor the multiple-murderer Baha Alyan. A few months earlier, Alyan and an accomplice boarded a Jerusalem bus and began attacking passengers. One of those he murdered was 78-year-old Richard Lakin, an American Jewish civil-rights activist from Connecticut. Alyan stabbed and shot the defenseless elderly man in his face and chest.
The Palestinian TV station Wattan reported on the Al-Quds chain-reading celebration: “More than 2,500 male and female students participated in the chain, and it included the reading of books and letter-writing by the participants, all of this in the presence of the Martyr’s father, the lawyer Muhammad Alyan.” The students wrote letters “to the souls of Martyr Baha Alyan and the other Martyrs and their relatives. … Participants in the activity wore shirts with a picture of Martyr Baha Alyan.”
I also wonder if Bacow had a chance to visit the monument that was erected at Al-Quds a few years ago by the student branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group.
The PFLP, which is the second-largest member organization of the PLO, is on the official U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. It was responsible for many of the most notorious airplane hijackings of the 1970s, as well as numerous suicide bombings and other attacks in recent years.
The monument it set up on the Al-Quds campus is called the “Monument to the Martyrs of Al-Quds University.” It features this inscription: “Beware of natural death; do not die, but amidst the hail of bullets.” That’s a quote from the late PFLP leader Ghassan Kanafani. (Translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch). Kanafani was one of the masterminds of the 1972 Lod Airport attack in which 26 travelers, including 11 American citizens from Puerto Rico, were massacred.
If Bacow doesn’t read Arabic, I’m sure one of the helpful students or administration members would have been glad to translate that inscription for him.
The text on the monument lists the names of Al-Quds University alumni who were killed while carrying out terrorist attacks. One of the most recent was Muhannad Halabi. He attacked an Israeli couple strolling with their infant in Jerusalem. Halabi stabbed all three, killing the man, and wounding the woman and the baby. He also stabbed to death a passerby who tried to intervene.
The monument hails Halabi as “the Heroic Martyr and Detonator of the Third Intifada.” (Many Palestinian Arabs view the wave of stabbing attacks in 2015 as the beginning of the “Third Intifada,” and they see Halabi as its pioneer.)
Obviously, students can’t erect a monument on a university campus without the approval of the administration. And, sure enough, when the dean of student affairs at Al-Quds, Al-Raouf Abd Al-Sinawi, was asked by Wattan if the university authorized the pro-terrorist monument, he replied: “Why would we oppose [it]?”
The PFLP students are not the only pro-terrorist group permitted on campus. There’s also a “Sisters of Dalal Mughrabi” group, honoring the woman terrorist who led the massacre of 37 Jews in the Tel Aviv Highway massacre in 1978. The first victim of that slaughter was American Jewish nature photographer Gail Rubin, the niece of Sen. Abraham Ribicoff.
No American university should be building ties to a Palestinian Arab institution that glorifies terrorism, including terrorists who have murdered American citizens. A relationship with Harvard will give Al-Quds a measure of credibility and prestige that it does not deserve.
What makes the Harvard initiative especially appalling is that some of its own students have been victims of Palestinian terrorism.
Harvard student Etan Bard and his father, Seldon, were murdered by Palestinian terrorists who blew up a TWA flight from Israel in 1974. Harvard alumnus Harold Rosenthal, who had served as an aide to U.S. senators Walter Mondale and Jacob Javits, was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in the Istanbul airport in 1976. Another Harvard graduate, Dr. Alan Bauer, was severely wounded—as was his 7-year-old son—in a Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2002.
Bacow’s visit to Al-Quds University was a slap in the face to the families of Etan Bard and Harold Rosenthal, and an outrageous insult to the memory of the victims. It will be a black mark on Harvard’s reputation and an everlasting badge of shame if it proceeds to establish a relationship with Al-Quds.
Years ago, Brandeis University had a partnership with Al-Quds. But after the Al-Quds administration hosted a rally on campus glorifying suicide bombers, Brandeis ended that relationship. Harvard should follow in those footsteps.
Stephen M. Flatow is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”