Sat. Jun 15th, 2024


Rabbi David Wolpe resigned from Harvard University’s antisemitism advisory committee, dealing a blow to the school’s efforts to quell concerns over rising antisemitism on campus.
Wolpe, a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School, said his decision was based on “events on campus and the painfully inadequate testimony” of President Claudine Gay at a congressional hearing this week.
That “reinforced the idea that I cannot make the sort of difference I had hoped,” he said in a post on X.

“Belittling or denying the Jewish experience, including unspeakable atrocities, is a vast and continuing catastrophe,” wrote Wolpe, rabbi emeritus of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. He went on to praise Gay as a “kind and thoughtful person” and said most students at Harvard “wish only to get an education and a job, not prosecute ideological agendas.”
Controversy has intensified around Gay after her performance at the December 5 hearing, when she and her counterparts from the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offered narrow legal responses to questions about whether calling for the genocide of Jews is against school policy.
Gay later backtracked, saying on social media that Harvard won’t condone violent speech against Jewish students. Addressing Wolpe’s decision, she said she was grateful for his “advice, perspective and friendship” in recent weeks.
“With thoughtfulness and candor, he has deepened my and our community’s understanding of the unacceptable presence of antisemitism here at Harvard,” Gay said in an emailed statement. “We have more work to do and his contributions will help shape our path forward. Antisemitism has no place in the Harvard community, and I am committed to ensuring no member of our Jewish community faces this hate in any form.”
Penn President Liz Magill also was forced to clarify her remarks in a video and there are mounting calls for both leaders to resign. Condemnation of the presidents’ testimony has sparked a cascade of criticism from business leaders and politicians.
“Calls for genocide are monstrous and antithetical to everything we represent as a country,” stated Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman.
Pfizer Inc chief executive officer Albert Bourla, whose grandparents, aunt and uncle perished in the Holocaust, called it “one of the most despicable moments in the history of US academia.”
Investor Bill Ackman said “they must all resign in disgrace” while Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro slammed Magill’s initial response as shameful and unacceptable.


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