In a message to its e-list on Monday, Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine praised the “creativity” of the Hamas-led surprise attacks on Israeli civilians launched on Oct. 7. Tufts denounced the student group’s message and University President Sunil Kumar called the attacks acts of “pure barbarism.”
SJP expressed solidarity with Palestinians following Hamas’ attack on Israel, during which at least 1,200 were killed. In response to the attack, Israel launched several airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing at least 1,100.
The text of SJP’s email, which invited students to attend a Cambridge rally in solidarity with Palestinians, opened with three parachute emojis; on Saturday, fighters involved in the assault used paragliders to cross the Gazan border before attacking civilians.
“Since Friday, Palestinians have been launching a historic attack on the colonizers,” SJP wrote in the email obtained by the Daily. “Footage of liberation fighters from Gaza paragliding into occupied territory has especially shown the creativity necessary to take back stolen land. It has not been without cost, as hundreds of Palestinians have been martyred in the past days, fighting to liberate themselves and their land.”
SJP did not respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. Department of State has classified Hamas as a terrorist organization since 1997. The group has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007. Hamas fighters attacked several cities last Saturday, opening fire on civilians and taking over 100 hostages, according to Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.
“We condemn the terrorism and atrocities that Hamas has carried out against Israel,” Patrick Collins, Tufts’ executive director of public relations, wrote in a statement to the Daily. “We strongly disagree with and denounce SJP’s statement and want to make clear that no student group speaks for the university.”
The New England branch of the Anti-Defamation League chimed in on Monday, calling SJP’s message “obscene” in a post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
Kumar shared a statement with the Tufts community on Oct. 10 following the attacks.
“In times of conflict and violence, it is important for all of us to acknowledge the pain and trauma that many in our community are experiencing,” he wrote.
The following day, he sent a second email that specifically condemned Hamas’ role in the conflict.
“The events that have come to light are pure barbarism,” Kumar wrote. “The attackers made no distinction between young and old, military and civilian, healthy and infirm. Hostages were taken and many still remain unaccounted for. I denounce these heinous acts in no uncertain terms.”