Saturday, January 22nd | 20 Shevat 5782

March 20, 2014 7:21 pm

Hillel: Harvard Students’ Visit to Arafat’s Grave ‘Causing Understandable Concern’

avatar by

Israel Trek trip participants from Harvard University visit Yasser Arafat's grave. The trip is sponsored by Harvard and Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston. Photo: Twitter.

JNS.orgHillel International responded to growing criticism over a visit by Harvard University students on a Hillel-sponsored tour of Israel to former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s grave near Ramallah.

Blogger Daniel Mael first revealed the visit to Arafat’s grave by the Harvard students as part of the “Harvard College Israel Trek 2014” on According to the trip’s website, the program “aims to engage a diverse cohort of undergraduate student leaders of all faiths and backgrounds with Israeli history, culture, and politics.” Israel Trek is sponsored by Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and Harvard Hillel.

In a statement, David Eden, chief administration officer at Hillel International, admitted that the visit to Arafat’s grave is “causing understandable concern,” adding that the image conveyed by that visit is “not what this trip is about.”

Related coverage

December 24, 2021 1:47 pm

California School District Investigating Photo of Students With Swastikas on Their Chests

The Wheatland Union High School District in Yuba County, California, is investigating a social media post showing a group of...

“Given our digital online world, the participants may have given insufficient thought to the way in which this particular photograph would be seen and received back home, where the image is being captioned and written about in a very disturbing manner, including sensationalistic interpretations, by people unfamiliar with the Trek’s full program and mission,” Eden stated.

Six Israel Trek trip organizers, in a blog post for the Times of Israel headlined “Yes, we visited Arafat’s grave,” wrote that they “stand firm behind our decision to visit Ramallah.”

“Whether we like or not, Yasser Arafat is important to the Palestinian narrative, and as educators committed to an honest exploration of these issues we could not afford to deviate from Trek policy that encouraged students to document and share their experiences with their respective communities,” they wrote. “We are saddened and sorry that a photo was taken out of context, causing pain to people who we love and respect.”

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.