Harvard University is set to host a United Nations official today who was just banned by Israel for her comments justifying Hamas’ October 7 slaughter of more than 1,000 civilians as a “response to Israel’s oppression.”
Francesca Albanese, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, was officially banned from Israel on Monday for stating days earlier that the Hamas attack had nothing to do with anti-Semitism, according to The Times of Israel. She is still scheduled, however, to be a featured speaker for Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy on Monday afternoon to discuss Israel’s war in Gaza.
“Join us for a virtual conversation with UN Special Rapporteur, Francesca Albanese, as she discusses her perspective on the current situation in the Gaza area as well as her experiences working on the protection of Palestinian refugees and migrants,” the event’s website states.
Albanese on Saturday has made her position on Israel’s offensive against Hamas quite clear, most recently pushing back against French President Emmanuel Macron for calling the October 7 attack an “anti-Semitic massacre.”
“The ‘greatest anti-Semitic massacre of our century’? No, Mr. @EmmanuelMacron,” UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories Francesca Albanese tweeted in response to France’s president honoring the victims on Saturday. “The victims of 10/7 were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression.”
Harvard’s decision to host her on the same day she was banned by Israel comes as the Ivy League institution grapples with rampant anti-Semitism on campus. The Cambridge-based Ivy League is currently facing a lawsuit filed by Jewish students that accuses the school of avoiding protecting Jewish students from harassment and enabling antisemitism.
Harvard University did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The event, entitled, “A Conversation with Francesca Albanese,” will be hosted at 4:00 p.m., and will include the center’s Faculty Director Mathias Risse.
Israeli officials said Albanese should be fired permanently by the United Nations, The Times of Israel reported on Monday.
“The era of Jews being silent is over,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel said in a joint statement. “If the UN wants to return to being a relevant body, its leaders must publicly disavow the anti-Semitic words of the ‘Special Envoy’ – and fire her permanently. Preventing her from entering Israel might remind her of the real reason why Hamas slaughtered babies, women and adults.”
Last year, a bipartisan group of members of Congress called on the United Nations to remove Albanese for her bias against Israel.
“Ms. Albanese has repeatedly refused to condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis while continuing her condemnations of Israel,” the group wrote. “For an official tasked with serving as an independent, neutral, and expert voice on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, her inexcusable silence against terrorism targeting Israelis and her outrageous and prejudicial remarks clearly reflect the irredeemable bias of her mandate.”
Earlier this month The Daily Wire first reported on the Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative’s plan to host a Palestinian professor who called Hamas’ massacre of Israeli civilians a “normal struggle for freedom,” and said she would never forgive Israel’s government for “making us take their children and elderly as hostages.”
The school distanced itself from the event, putting the blame on the Middle East Initiative’s director, Professor Tarek E. Masoud. “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,” it said in a statement. “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.”