Harvard rabbi calls out Ivy League’s ‘history of antisemitism:’ ‘Time to admit it, confront it and overcome it – PPT News


A visiting scholar at Harvard’s Divinity School has called out the prestigious university for its “history of antisemitism,” encouraging the university to “admit it, confront it and overcome it.”

“It is time to admit it, confront it and overcome it. One can criticize policies without calling for the end to the only homeland Jews have ever known,” Rabbi David Wolpe wrote in an op-ed published Friday in the school paper, the Harvard Crimson.

Wolpe, who made headlines earlier in December after he stepped down from Harvard’s antisemitism advisory group, said that the outrage Jewish people generate is “oddly disproportionate.”

“The energy and outrage Jews generate — making up 0.2 percent of the world population — is oddly disproportionate,” Wolpe said. “Antisemitism is a wild, irrational eruption.”

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Rabbi David Wolpe attend the 2013 UCLA Neurosurgery Visionary Ball at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 24, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The scholar said that Israel is the only nation that is continually targeted for eradication.

“Although many do so in ignorance, when people chant “from the river to the sea” the most natural interpretation of their calls is advocacy for territory without Israel, without Jews,” Wolpe said.

“Israel is the only country in the world that is routinely and widely targeted for eradication,” he said.  “So is anti-Zionism synonymous with antisemitism?”

Harvard banners

Harvard banners hang outside Memorial Church on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Friday, Sept. 4, 2009.  (Photo by Michael Fein/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Claudine Gay

Harvard President Claudine Gay, who recently made headlines for refusing to say if genocide of Jews was against Harvard policy during a congressional hearing, has accused of multiple accounts of plagiarism in recent weeks. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Wolpe said that the Ivy League university has a “long and ignoble history” of antisemitsm. 

The scholar pointed to recent history of Harvard President Claudine Gay’s recent remarks that calls for the “genocide” of Jews would not necessarily be a violation of the university’s code of conduct.

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“One can demand a Palestinian state without globalizing the intifada — the term for a protest that previously resulted in over 110 suicide bombings that targeted buses, cafes, and malls,” Wolpe argued.

“If we cannot learn to argue civilly at Harvard, how can we have hope for the civility of other places in the world?” Wolpe wrote in the school’s paper.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Rabbi David Wolpe speaks onstage during the Variety Hollywood antisemitism Summit at 1 Hotel West Hollywood on October 18, 2023, in West Hollywood, California.  (Araya Doheny/Variety via Getty Images)

Earlier this month, Wolpe resigned from his position at Harvard’s Antisemitism Advisory Group — citing an unacceptable campus climate.

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“This has created a climate of intimidation,” Wolpe told Bill Hemmer. “When students can’t study, when they’re afraid, when they don’t want to go to their classroom, that’s not anymore a question of free speech, not at university. If you want to express yourself in a paper, or you want to say something publicly at a rally, nobody thinks that that’s illegitimate, but that isn’t what’s going on here.”

“What is going on here is that a certain group is being systematically targeted over and over and over again: supporters of Israel and particularly Jews,” he continued. 

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