The slogan has drawn controversy in other settings, as well. The House of Representatives voted earlier this week to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the only Palestinian-American in Congress, in part for her use of the divisive phrase on social media.
Gay also described measures the university is taking to address antisemitism, writing that “Antisemitism has no place at Harvard.”
The message follows weeks of tension after several pro-Palestinian student groups at Harvard released a statement blaming Israel for the Oct. 7 attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), an alumnus of Harvard, told POLITICO the student groups’ statement was “morally depraved,” and he characterized the university’s response as “moral cowardice.”
Gay and others in university leadership faced intense backlash following the attacks and the release of the statement.
Critics, which included prominent Harvard alumni such as Auchincloss, former Harvard President Lawrence Summers and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), argued that the university had been too slow to respond and had not condemned Hamas’ and the student groups’ stance in strong enough terms.