Yaprak Damla Yildirim’s fiery letter of resignation from her position as the Yale Graduate Student Assembly’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair two weeks ago denied Hamas’ responsibility for the 1,200 deaths of October 7 and denied the deaths themselves. At least 700 civilians were murdered in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, by Palestinian armed resistance and Israeli military crossfire,” Yildirim writes. To her, those who were murdered defending the victims — or who were asleep in their bases — don’t count. In her letter, we were forced to observe another example of an all-too familiar trend at Yale: thinly-veiled Jew hatred and Hamas glorification, referring to murderers as “armed resistance” and denying the genocide of Jews in their homeland on October 7.

We soon learned Yildirim’s resignation letter was only the tip of the iceberg. Her Twitter includes statements like “Israel killed their own citizens on October 7th, there was no beheaded babies, there was no raped women, there was no babies were put into an oven [sic],” “all zionists must be institutionalized. they are a severe threat to all humans [sic],” and “zionists are the lowest form of human existence [sic].” Her conspiracies and race-science-like language about Jews speak for themselves.

As DEI Chair, Yildirim’s mission was to “represent the voice of underrepresented minority students and discuss ways to improve the support and retention of graduate students.” Her comments don’t reflect this ethic: “i truly deeply hate everyone who supports this genocide i hope they suffer from worse pains than they inflicted on palestinians. I don’t wish them death, i wish them an incredibly excruciating pain that would make them beg for death [sic].” 

All of these statements were made in the months preceding her resignation, which begs the question why Yale did not step in to remove her from her position in the first place. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 killing spree, Yale has done little to quell Jew-haters who empower Hamas.

In February, signs reading “No IDF on Campus” were hung across the walls of the Yale Law School. As with Yildrim, no action was taken by the Yale administration to address these overtly discriminatory acts — not even a condemnation. 

Later that month, a statement that graduate students delivered aloud to an administrative forum at the Yale School of Drama refers to the Israel Defense Forces as “IOF” — Israeli Occupation Forces — implying that all of Israel is occupied territory and must be destroyed. The statement claims that the deaths of Oct. 7 occurred “at the hands of the IOF,” and that the atrocities against Palestinians mirror “conditions imposed on Jews in Nazi Germany” — a Holocaust comparison that compares Jews to the people who made them dig their own graves before shooting them in or gassing them down. It adds that “Zionism is a form of white supremacy” — even though much of Israel is Arab, Middle Eastern, and Black — and puts out the conspiracy that Israel’s “colonial practice is first tested on Palestinians before being exported to the brutal regimes of the world,” beginning in the “four subdivisions of occupied Palestine.” Apparently, all of Israel is occupied Palestine, and these students want to destroy all of it. Again, these events speak for themselves.

Yale is fortunate that Yildirim resigned from her position at what she describes as “one of the most powerful educational institutions in a country directly enabling and funding this genocide.” She was disappointed by Yale’s unwillingness to “contribute to the ongoing efforts to stop the genocide of Palestinians” — efforts which, in her view, include human torture against Israelis. So she quit. But why did she have the option? 

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Yilidrim is no different from many of her colleagues in the American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies departments. And Yale will not speak out against this hateful swath of their community. Yale American Studies professor Zareena Grewal, for instance, posted on Twitter on Oct. 7, “My heart is in my throat. Prayers for Palestinians. Israeli [sic] is a murderous, genocidal settler state and Palestinians have every right to resist through armed struggle, solidarity. #FreePalestine,” and reposted on Oct. 8 a news video detailing the Hamas attack, with her own caption reading, “It’s been such an extraordinary day!” In the American Studies Department, which one of us passes daily to and from class, multiple faculty office doors were marked with maps of Israel covered by the words, “From the River to Sea Palestine will be free.” In the halls of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department, there is a poster with a caricature of Netanyahu eating a watermelon slice shaped like Israel, blood dripping from his mouth and hands, which rings of anti-Jewish blood libel. 

Yet Yildirim’s efforts are not reduced to two antisemitic departments. At the end of her resignation letter, she thanks her fellow graduate students for nominating and electing her and “for their support and leadership throughout my time as the DEI committee chair.” Yes, Yildirim was elected to the Graduate Student Assembly, a student government organization supposedly representing all of Yale’s graduate students. Rather than condemning her hate, Yildirim’s peers propped her up, and Yale’s administration continues to remain silent. 

Examples like these abound, but the message is clear: Yale fails to proactively condemn students like Yildirim — who encourage real violence against Jews — and remove them from their roles for violating university policy, instead cheering them on as champions of inclusivity.  Current university administrators are the last generation of academics empowered to shift the tide before these students take over in their roles. Without Yale’s intervention, all we can do is wait for Yildirim’s calls to come to fruition. We demand Yale not let us see that day.

SAHAR TARTAK is a sophomore in Pierson College. Contact her at sahar.tartak@yale.edu.

NETANEL CRISPE is a junior in Grace Hopper. Contact him at netanel.crispe@yale.edu