Ellie Park, Photography Editor

In light of the ongoing war in Israel and Gaza, University President Peter Salovey released a Tuesday statement, titled “War in the Middle East,” condemning the militant group Hamas’s attacks on civilians in Israel.

Salovey’s statement comes amid a week of mourning and protest at Yale and in the Greater New Haven community. 

The recent violence has resulted in over 1,900 deaths on both sides as of Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press.

In his statement, Salovey referred to the rising death toll in Israel and to the more than 150 hostages whose fates are “still unknown.” His statement joins a flood of remarks from other college and university presidents, including the other seven Ivy League institutions.

“As a member of the Yale community, I am compelled by our shared sense of humanity to condemn the attacks on civilians by Hamas in the strongest possible terms, ” Salovey wrote in his statement to the University. “I am shocked and anguished by the loss of life and the pain and suffering of so many. All of us fear for the future, and this is devastation that directly affects so many within our community.”

Of the eight Ivy League presidents, only statements from the presidents of Yale, Harvard and Cornell explicitly denounced the actions of Hamas in Israel.

Cornell president Martha E. Pollack issued two statements on Tuesday; her condemnation of Hamas came only in her follow-up statement later in the day.

Harvard University leadership released a joint statement on Monday after facing criticism for its lack of timely response over the weekend. Backlash then intensified over Harvard’s failure to forcefully condemn either Hamas or the 30 student groups who signed a statement holding Israel “entirely responsible” for the unfolding violence. Harvard president Claudine Gay issued a follow-up statement on Tuesday. 

“As the events of recent days continue to reverberate, let there be no doubt that I condemn the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas,” Gay wrote in the Tuesday message. “Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one’s individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region.”

Although Princeton University president Cristopher L. Eisgruber did not use the word “condemn” in his statement, he referred to the militant group’s actions as “among the most atrocious terrorist attacks.” 

Similarly, the presidents of Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown and the University of Pennsylvania all alluded to the “horrific” attacks that Hamas unleashed on Israel over the weekend and highlighted the systems of support available on campus for members of their respective institutions.

Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life executive director Uri Cohen wrote to the News in an email that he believes Salovey’s statement appropriately identified and condemned Hamas’s actions as terrorist attacks. 

“President Salovey beautifully articulated the ways in which the Yale values of light and truth should be applied in this case, and I am grateful and proud,” Cohen wrote. “This is not just another volley in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This was an atrocity, full stop. Obviously, a lot has happened over many decades that has brought us to this point, including unimaginable pain across the board.”

Cohen added that he urges members of the Yale community to support Jewish peers who may be mourning family and friends who have been killed or kidnapped in the war.

Student group Yalies4Palestine released a statement on Monday, Oct. 8, in “unwavering support of the Palestinian people’s right to return to their land and resist over 75 years of colonization.” In the statement and a separate Instagram post, the group also held Israel responsible for the violence that unfolded over the weekend.

Yalies4Palestine declined the News’ request for comment but wrote that the group will publish its own response to Salovey’s statement by Wednesday afternoon.

Cohen wrote that he invites those involved in crafting the statement for Yalies4Palestine to come to the Slifka Center to engage with the community and “join productively” in its effort to find a solution for Israeli and Palestinian peace.

“There abides a great willingness and desire at Slifka to have those conversations with thought partners who can work together,” Cohen wrote. “Blaming the victim is a trick that Jews know well from millennia of experience. Deploying it here in the face of the blatant and documented atrocities committed by Hamas cripples the potential for constructive efforts at creating peace, while piling onto the pain of those who are mourning the murder, torture, and abduction of loved ones as we speak.”

Abe Baker-Butler ’25, a member of the Slifka board of trustees and president of the American Jewish Committee’s Campus Global Board, wrote in an email to the News that he agrees with individuals on campus “genuinely advocating” for Palestinian people’s human rights.

However, he said that defending or excusing the militant group’s killing of Israeli civilians is “repugnant.”

“Hamas bears full responsibility for its brutal and intentional murder, rape, and torture of over 1,000 Israeli children, women, elderly, and other civilians, and I thank President Salovey for his strong statement, ” Baker-Butler wrote.  “Let us work together on this campus to find ways for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace together.”

In his statement, Salovey called on University members to continue to embrace “open dialogue” and a “community of respect” irrespective of personal views on the ongoing war. 

He also wrote that University administrators will continue working to share resources for those seeking support and that he “expect[s]” departments and schools to hold programming for learning and reflection amid the ongoing conflict.

The Slifka Center is hosting drop-in hours with YC3 counselors each day this week.

Benjamin Hernandez covers Woodbridge Hall, the President's Office. He previously reported on international affairs at Yale. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, he is a sophomore in Trumbull College majoring in Global Affairs.