Harvard University Students Raise Palestinian Flag Over Harvard Statue , Spot Typically Reserved for American Flag

Pro-Palestinian protesters at Harvard raise Palestinian flag, sparking backlash and debate over free speech and campus activism amid escalating tensions over the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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Palestinian Flag Raised Over Harvard Statue Amid Anti-Israel Protests

Palestinian Flag Raised Over Harvard Statue Amid Anti-Israel Protests

On April 27, 2024, three radical students hoisted a Palestinian flag over the iconic John Harvard statue at Harvard University, where the American flag typically flies. The incident occurred as anti-Israel protests continued on the historic campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard University condemned the flag-raising as a violation of university policy and stated that the individuals involved will face disciplinary action.

The flag was raised around 6:30 pm local time and captured on video, which was widely shared on social media. The footage shows the protesters, dressed in keffiyehs, hanging the large Palestinian flag along with two others from the statue. Harvard University Police officers promptly removed the flags by 6:34 pm.

After the flags were taken down, protesters gathered near the statue, chanting slogans such as "Free, free Palestine" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." The demonstration was part of ongoing protests at Harvard and other universities across the United States in response to the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Why this matters: The incident at Harvard reflects the growing tensions and polarization surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on American college campuses. As protests escalate, universities are confronting the challenge of balancing free speech, student activism, and maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for all students.

The protests at Harvard follow the mass arrest of over 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators at Columbia University in New York on April 18. Since then, nearly 900 protesters have been arrested nationwide as the demonstrations spread to other universities, including Ivy League institutions.

Protesters are demanding a ceasefire in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, the divestment of university assets from companies involved with the Israeli military, and an end to U.S. military assistance to Israel. The White House has stated that while President Biden "knows there are very strong feelings," he will leave the management of the protests to local authorities.

At Harvard, administrators entered the protest encampment to check student IDs and warned graduating students that their degrees could be withheld due to their participation in the demonstrations. "Harvard is complicit in Israel's genocide of the Palestinian people," protesters chanted in response to the administration's actions.

The flag-raising incident at the John Harvard statue has sparked strong reactions online, with some calling for the National Guard to intervene and others accusing the protesters of attempting to "eradicate every western value" and establish an "Islamic Sharia law regime." As the protests continue, Harvard and other universities are facing increasing pressure to address the concerns of pro-Palestinian activists while maintaining order on their campuses.

Key Takeaways

  • 3 students raised Palestinian flag over Harvard's John Harvard statue
  • Harvard condemned the act as a policy violation, said students will face discipline
  • Protests at Harvard and other US universities over Israel-Gaza conflict escalate
  • Protesters demand ceasefire, divestment from Israeli military, end to US aid
  • Harvard warned graduating students their degrees could be withheld for protesting