by Benjamin Rothove in The College Fix
Harvard University’s next president must fully condemn antisemitism, Jewish advocates told The College Fix.
The Fix asked what Harvard leadership has done correctly and incorrectly since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023 and what concrete steps the next president should take to deal with criticism from both pro-Palestinian voices and Israel advocates.
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Provost Alan Garber is currently serving as the interim president.
Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, an organization that “supports Israel and fights antisemitism,” stated that “Claudine Gay did the right thing by resigning because she could not come out clearly against the dangerous rhetoric against Jewish people on her campus.”
“This sets an example for other university administrations across North American campuses,” Rothstein told The Fix via a media statement. “Dangerous rhetoric must never be tolerated against any minority group or nationality, including Jews.”
Emeritus Professor of Law Alan Dershowitz called for clear free speech rules from his employer.
“There must be a single standard for free expression,” Dershowitz told The Fix via email. “Under Gay, there were different rules for anti-Jewish and anti-Black expression.”
Rabbi Yaakov Menken of the Coalition for Jewish Values said Gay should have more strongly condemned antisemitism, including during the December 2023 Congressional hearing that began her downfall.
“What Harvard didn’t do correctly was immediately demand Gay’s resignation,” Rabbi Menken told The Fix. “It is outrageous that it took accusations of plagiarism to remove a university president who claimed ‘context’ determines whether calls for genocide are discriminatory—when made against Jews.”
Menken said that pro-Palestinian voices “say nothing about lack of democracy, women’s rights, individual conscience or free speech under the [Palestinian Authority] or Hamas. They care only about historical revisionism that claims a ‘Palestinian’ is an ‘indigenous’ Arab, not a Jew. That’s Antisemitism, and must be recognized as such.”
“Universities need to start taking the issue seriously. Calls for intifada and ‘from the river to the sea’ are veiled calls for violence, ethnic cleansing, and genocide,” he said. “There is no [First Amendment] right for a student group expressing these things to be recognized or funded—in fact it may violate federal anti-terrorism laws. So I would call that an obvious first step.”
Read the full article in The College Fix
Photo Credit: Maura Healey on Flickr