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Arafat Honored with Jewish Funding

Arafat Honored with Jewish Funding

Harvard Hillel and the Jewish Philanthropies pay for a student pilgrimage to the arch-terrorist’s burial shrine.


Having worked on campus in Boston for the past decade, I learned one key rule for instilling Jewish pride and connection for college students: Be open to a diversity of opinions, and always try to understand the other side.

To this end, when Aish takes groups of Hasbara Fellowships students to Israel, we allow representatives of the Palestinian viewpoint to state their case fairly and freely.

But there are limits.

A recent group of Harvard students went on the Harvard College Israel Trek 2014 to "learn about Israeli history, culture, and politics."

The trip included a solemn visit to the grave of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.

Arafat personally ordered the murder of hundreds of Israelis, including many Americans.

Arafat, for those may have forgotten, was an arch-terrorist who over decades personally ordered the murder of hundreds of Israelis, including many Americans.

So who sponsored this Harvard Trek to Arafat's grave?

According to the Trek website, "Israel Trek is made possible by the generous contributions of a number of family foundations and Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies. The Trek is supported by Harvard Hillel."

How appalling to accord "honor" to Arafat through funding by Boston’s Jewish community!

Stunning Setback

As someone who lived in Israel from 2000-2005 and witnessed firsthand the destruction of lives, buses, cafes and property, I cannot stand for this revisionist history being indoctrinated into Harvard students, the future leaders of our society.

I personally heard the explosion when an Arafat-dispatched suicide bomber murdered 11 people in a café in the heart of Jerusalem, wounding many others. I was on a bus when Arafat’s henchmen hurled a boulder through the windshield in an attempt to kill us all. I have family and friends who witnessed unspeakable horrors. Just about everyone living in Israel knows someone deeply and directly affected by Arafat’s murderous intent.

If the point was to prove “nuance,” then trips to the graves of Arafat’s victims would be more appropriate, so they don’t become relegated to simply statistics and anonymity. Even more so, visiting those "merely maimed" by Arafat's thugs would have been a far better use of educational time and resources.

Imagine the guide’s talk at the grave: "Here lies Arafat..." then what? Revolutionary? Pioneer? Freedom fighter?

Arafat should go down on history’s list of infamy, not famed by a group of college students from any university, let alone the prestigious Harvard.

As someone who works tirelessly to educate students on the relevant issues of the situation in Israel, with all the complexities and viewpoints taken into account and shared openly, this is a stunning setback.

By contrast, our Hasbara New England initiative has been incredibly effective in teaching students to stand proud for Israel on campus. In fact, most pro-Israel leadership on campus have completed our training program. They are enthused, confident, and capable of leading the call to support Israel – effectively using social media, building strategic relationships with student groups, and advocating through peer-to-peer programming that engages students.

Seeing our community donors supporting a project that puts Arafat on a pedestal is an affront to Arafat’s victims. It is an affront to the Jewish people. How my beloved Jewish community in Boston could end up helping to pay for this is beyond belief.

Click here to read a response from the organizers of the trip, and let us know what you think in the comment section below.

March 23, 2014

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 94

(65) Mark Ira Kaufman, May 26, 2014 6:03 PM

There's more to Arafat than most Americans know about.... and it's even worse

(64) Aviel, March 28, 2014 3:26 PM

I imagine only Jews would do that .Go Figure

Seems to me no other people would see the others side so clearly and honor him in this manner. Even if some see him as a worthy opponent his life's work was attempting to destroy the Jewish State, and he has much blood on his hands. It does seem bizarre that Jews would show such respect,particularly since the conflict is still very much alive and undecided.

(63) Shmuel, March 27, 2014 11:57 AM

Shows whats wrong with American Jewry

Maybe they will take a pilgrimage to Hitlers grave if they knew where it was. A disgrace - these people have no love for our people so why are funds wasted on them and not spent on Jews who care about the nation.

(62) Michael, March 27, 2014 9:30 AM


The picture does show some smiling. This person in the tomb where they stand left more then dead Jews and Americans.
My dear Rabbi told me years ago about the victim' of terror that lived. These victims of the terrorists live in terrible pain, wheather it be mental or physical. Children who lost their sight, hands, feet and live in terror every hour.
The students' in the picture are probadly clueless in the ways of this mad man.
May G-d bless the living victim's of terrorists and the great state of Israel.
Again, AISH reports news from the middle-east better then any other. May G-d always bless the good people at AISH, they are a gift from G-d.

(61) BH in Iowa, March 26, 2014 1:53 AM

Am I missing something here?

If there is anyone who doesn't get the "palestinian" narrative shoved down their throat every single day, they are truly blessed.

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