By Nigel Roberts
Protesters at Harvard University singled out President Barack Obama for their fury over the deaths of Palestinian civilians, accusing the former president of “genocide” for the United States’ policy of giving military aid to Israel that goes back to the 1940s.
The Harvard Crimson reports that hundreds of Harvard students and affiliates staged a “die-in” demonstration Oct. 18 on campus in solidarity with the victims of a blast that killed hundreds of people at a hospital in Gaza City.
The Oct. 17 explosion, which claimed at least 200 civilian lives, happened at al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, a Christian-run medical complex, according to NBC News. Amid the fog of war, Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed each other for the blast.
The demonstrators chanted, “Free, free Palestine” and “Barry, Barry you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” as they marched from university president Claudine Gay’s office to Klarman Hall at Harvard Business School, where they lay on the ground and continued their chants.
Two groups – the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee and Graduate Students 4 Palestine – organized the protest. A PSC spokesperson said Obama is “deeply implicated” in the “ongoing genocide” of Palestinians because the United States has approved billions in military aid to Israel.
They blamed American presidents for “upholding the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, through arms and military aid, impunity under international law, and the enabling of the apartheid system.”
According to the U.S. State Department, every president since Harry S. Truman in 1948 has made supporting Israel’s security “a cornerstone of American foreign policy.”
On Friday (Oct. 20), President Joe Biden asked Congress to fund a security package that includes $14.3 billion for Israel following the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas’ Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel that killed at least 1,400 Israelis, including women and children, and took about 150 hostages.
Israel responded shortly after the incursion with airstrikes. Palestinian officials said Israel’s counteroffensive was indiscriminate, as missiles struck hospitals and mosques. Gaza, a 25-mile stretch of land nestled between Israel and Egypt, is where many Palestinians were forced to move when Israel declared victory in the Six-Day War.
Within an hour of the Oct. 17 blast, the Hamas-run Gazan health ministry accused Israel of attacking the Ahli Arab hospital, where families sheltered from ongoing Israeli airstrikes.
But nearly a week later, the organization still has not provided evidence linking Israel to the strike, The New York Times reported. Since the blast, new evidence contradicts Hamas’ accusations, and they have changed their story about the incident.