Two Wyoming lawmakers who attended Harvard University have condemned the more than 30 student groups at the school that blamed Israel for Islamist organization Hamas’ Saturday attack on Israel and its civilians.
The groups dispatched a joint statement the day of the attacks, saying they hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for the unfolding violence, and that the day’s events “did not occur in a vacuum” but stem from Israeli governmental oppression.
Wyoming Sen. Charlie Scott, R-Casper, attended Harvard and said he was disgusted at the letter.
“That is a disgrace, just a flat disgrace they have groups doing that,” said Scott. “It’s a free country and they can say what they want to … but that kind of attitude is just beyond the pale.”
The answer, said Scott, is for the rest of society to shun those groups and their stance.
“The murder of innocent civilians and the taking of hostages … civilized people just don’t do things like that,” said Scott.
Rep. Cyrus Western, R-Big Horn, another Harvard alumnus, was likewise swift to condemn Hamas as a terrorist group “whose sole purpose is to cause mass destruction and suffering on innocent people.
“They chant ‘death to America’ as a rallying cry,” Western said, calling the attack and the mass killings horrific and awful, and issued his condemnation “in the strongest terms possible.”
Sen. Dave Kinskey, R-Sheridan, who graduated from Harvard in 1979 with a Bachelor of Economics, did not respond to a Cowboy State Daily voicemail requesting comment by publication time Wednesday.
In an Oct. 9 statement Harvard’s president condemned Hamas’ attacks and reminded the public that “not even 30 student groups (speak) for Harvard University or its leadership.”
Not In Wyoming
While Harvard and other elite schools are seeing displays and protests backing different groups in the conflict, all’s quiet at the University of Wyoming.
Chad Baldwin, UW spokesman, told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday he’s not aware of any student-group scheduled displays or events in favor of either Israel or Palestine.
UW has not issued a statement on the clash, but Wyoming’s government officially sides with Israel.
Gov. Mark Gordon ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of the slain, saying Wyoming “stands firmly by our ally Israel as she defends her people from the cowardly attacks of Hamas,” and that the state condemns the terroristicactions.
Footage emerging from Israel appears to show Hamas militants attacking civilians in a door-to-door campaign. One unverified video shows the attackers parading the naked body of a young German woman through the streets.
With more than 1,200 reported dead, hundreds injured and dozens taken hostage from Hamas’ onslaught, it’s the deadliest attack Israel has seen since 1947, CNN reported.
Israel is now retaliating via airstrikes on the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip, racking up another 1,100 fatalities and 5,339 wounded, the Gaza Ministry of Health said Wednesday, according to CBS News.
Both Scott and Western called the student groups’ pro-Palestine messaging part of a far-left agenda.
“I think the professors at Harvard need to think pretty hard about what kind of things they’re teaching and what they’re getting through to the kids,” said Scott, adding that there likely would have been some pro-Palestine students at Harvard during his enrollment in the 1960s, but his classmates generally supported Israel at that time.
Western said the 30-plus groups’ “extreme leftist agenda … shows just how far these institutions have fallen.”
“It’s easy for them to issue inflammatory statements from the protection of the ivory tower, but the sad fact is real people who are innocent are going through immense suffering and need help,” Western said.
There are numerous far-left groups rallying behind Hamas, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens noted in a Tuesday op-ed headlined “The Anti-Israel Left Needs to Take a Hard Look at Itself.”
But that correlation is by no means uniform.
Wyoming’s Democratic Party leadership extended condolences Wednesday to the families that have lost loved ones “in these horrific attacks” and quoted President Joe Biden in his proclaimed alliance with Israel.
Socialist-leaning U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, said the U.S. is right to offer solidarity and support to Israel but should also insist on Israel showing “restraint” in its counter-attack on Gaza, which news outlets are describing as a worsening humanitarian crisis as fresh water and fuel in the region diminish.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, another leftist firebrand, roundly condemned all Islamophobia, antisemitism and victim-blaming in a Tuesday post to X.com.
America’s conservative right tends to back Israel in part because of its large percentage of Christians, Scott told Cowboy State Daily.
The Christian book of faith is the Bible, the first two-thirds of which comprises essentially the same book of faith of the Jews, known as Torah or the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament, God blessed Israel’s patriarch Abraham, vowing to bless those who would bless Abraham and curse those who would curse Abraham.
“It’s understandable why some of the more ultra-conservative groups have been strong supporters of Israel,” said Scott. “They’ve got good cause in their belief system.”
Scott said more on the political right used to be antisemitic than are now.
As for those groups backing Hamas now, like the Harvard student groups, Scott said he can’t account for their logic.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.