Harvard Students Walked Out of Israeli Consul’s Lecture but in 2019

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Photo: Screenshot from the video

This event really happened, but not recently – November 2023, and not as an expression of solidarity with more than 4 thousand brutally killed children, as the Facebook post claims, but in 2019. The video clip was published by the Мiddle East Eye media outlet on 14 November 2019. Therefore, the event shown in the video is not related at all to the current protests at Harvard University


We are fact-checking a post on the social network Facebook (screenshot here) sharing a video clip showing a group of Harvard University students walking out of a university hall while the speaker was announcing his lecture. The post says the following:

Israeli consul in New York boycotted at Harvard. The Israeli Consul General to New York (member of the Ambassador’s team), arrived in the USA at the famous Harvard University to give students a lecture on “Israel’s just struggle” and hence the neutral attitude towards the conflict is “antisemitism”, not to mention condemnation of the Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

Immediately at the beginning of the lecture, all of the students got up and walked out of the hall, expressing condolences for more than 4 thousand brutally killed Palestinian children in less than one month.

Truthmeter found the original video of this event that really did happen, but not in 2023 and not as an expression of solidarity with more than 4 thousand brutally killed children, but in 2019. The video clip was released by the Middle East Eye media outlet on 14 November 2019. The description of this clip says that Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York, spoke on the topic of “The Legal Strategy for Israeli Settlements”, when dozens of law students at Harvard, holding posters “Settlements are a war crime” walked out from the university hall leaving Dayan to complete his lecture for a significantly smaller audience.

Users of social networks started sharing this old video – from 2019 – during the current war in Gaza. The Facebook post along with the old video is shared in the context of the student divisions ongoing at Harvard University when there are protests (November this year).

Previously, in October 2023, a group of students of the Harvard on the campus signed a letter (group statement), stating that Israel was solely responsible for Hamas attacks. Consequently, these students came under personal attacks, and in front of the Harvard campus, a billboard truck was parked, with the names and photographs of the students who had signed the group statement. On the billboard they were marked as “main Harvard anti-Semitists”. Billionaire Bill Ackman demanded that Harvard University publish the names of these students so that they would not get employment in future.

The University also announced strengthened police measures on the campus, as well as resources available to students should they feel that their physical security was jeopardized due to the situation at hand that caused polarization both in and out of the University.

On 17 November, a group of students occupied the University Hall at Harvard, while a group of approximately 100 protesters gathered outside. The group “Harvard Jews for Palestine” occupied the university hall demanding a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Nine students stayed overnight in the university campus, although the dean gave them the opportunity to leave without disciplinary consequences. The students gave three conditions to end the occupation, including a written response to the student’s demands and a guarantee that the students would not go under disciplinary proceedings by the Administrative Board. The group’s demands include an immediate call by Harvard’s administration for a ceasefire, greater administrative support for pro-Palestine student organizers, and the creation of an investigative committee on Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism, and suppression of pro-Palestine speech – and a University statement asserting that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not the same. Their demands were not accepted. The students remained in the basement of the university hall.

The protest ended after 24 hours. It garnered significant criticism by the Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy, who called the protesters “Hamas apologists”.

Violet Barron, one of the student organizers of the Harvard protest, stated:

We stayed because our demands are more important than the University’s threats. We stayed because we came to tell the administration that we will not stay silent while they continue to be complicit in apartheid, killing, and genocide.

So, there are turmoils at Harvard this month, or, more specifically, students organized protests demanding an end to the military actions in Gaza. The event from the post we are fact-checking, precisely, i.e the video showing a group of students leaving the university hall before the lecture starts is real. That event, however, happened in 2019 and is not connected with the current protests at Harvard University. Due to all of the above-noted facts we deem the post we are fact-checking as a post omitting context, because the event was recorded in 2019.