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Harvard Law students rally in support of Palestinians, accuse school of restricting speech

Harvard Law students rally in support of Palestinians
Harvard Law students rally in support of Palestinians 02:12

CAMBRIDGE - A couple hundred Harvard Law students rallied outside Wasserstein Hall on campus Thursday in support of Palestinians and in opposition to what they're calling restrictions on speech on campus. 

"I'm a refugee from Gaza," explained Israa Alzamli, who was part of the group that organized 38 law schools in support of Palestinians. "I've had a lot of people die over the past three weeks and I'm so heartened every day when I walk these halls and I show up to rallies and I see my fellow students with me and I'm touched. I'm heartened."

Recently, Harvard's president condemned the use of the controversial phrase "Form the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." Many Jewish students across Greater Boston college campuses feel the phrase expresses a desire to eradicate the Jewish population of Israel through violence. 

However, Alzamli said, "I think it just means that no Palestinians from the river to the sea have equal rights and we would love for everybody to live on that land with equal rights."

This week, more than 100 faculty members at Harvard sent a letter to President Claudine Gay in opposition to her policy regarding Palestinian support on campus. At the rally Thursday, one professor actually showed up and spoke in support of Pro-Palestinian students. "You have known for a long time that the words free speech have never meant free speech about Palestine," he said.

About a dozen counter protesters showed up to the peaceful rally holding signs with pictures of Israeli hostages taken by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attacks that began this war. "We are all here for free speech," said Jewish student Jonathan Frieden. "We might disagree with them, but free speech is completely allowed. That being said, it's also important to get our story out…it's incredibly important for us to bring our people home. They are being held hostage. I don't understand why that is a challenging thing to say. We want our people to come home."

There are more rallies planned across Boston this weekend, including one on the Boston Common planned for Friday afternoon by several area college groups in support of Palestinians.

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