Failed Leadership

Harvard President Bacow Taken to the Woodshed by Jewish Defenders

Jewish defenders scold Harvard’s Jewish president: You must stop ignoring the rise of anti-Semitism on your campus!

On April 29, the Harvard Crimson — the most prestigious college newspaper in America — published an editorial officially endorsing the genocidal BDS movement against Israel. It essentially urged Harvard students to take the side of those who are today butchering Israel’s Jews.

“When oppression strikes anywhere in the world, resistance movements reverberate globally. The desire for rightful justice spreads, like wildfire, moving us to act, to speak, to write, and right our past wrongs,” they wrote.

Yet, no “wildfire” of disgust at this Jew-hatred moved Harvard’s Jewish president Lawrence Bacow, who betrayed his people and his mission as Harvard’s president. Instead, he chose to be a bystander:

“…I will not comment on the Crimsoneditorial. The Crimson is a student newspaper. It is independent of the university, and, I think it is fair to say, the Crimson does not represent, or certainly the editorial board does not represent, the views of the university.… We believe in a free press. They are entitled to publish what they wish and to share their views as they may.”

The BDS movement seeks to economically isolate, politically marginalize, and to brainwash the world’s idealistic youth into loathing Israel — and its Jewish supporters around the world — so that the Jewish state may be militarily destroyed.

Jewish defenders Alan Dershowitz, Rachel Fish, and Aviva Klompas take Bacow to task: They remind Bacow that he also has a right to free speech, and a duty as university president to tell the truth when a key Harvard institution promotes a campaign based on lies.

Being Jewish, President Bacow has an extra responsibility to guard the welfare of Jewish students at his university. Anti-Jewish activity on American college campuses is at an all-time high, with a 2021 Brandeis Center survey showing that about half of Jewish students feel the need to hide their identity while at school.

Dershowitz points out that the Crimson’s editorial board has made anti-Jewish endorsements in the past — such as opining in 1934 that Hitler’s personal spokesman, a 1909 Harvard graduate, should be welcomed at his 25-Harvard year reunion. Also — in violation of the “shoe-on-the-other-foot” test — that Bacow would never “not comment” on an editorial espousing a non-leftist political position.

Fish and Klompas write the speech which Bacow should give in response to the Crimson’s attack on Jews. In it, their imagined brave Bacow speaks forthrightly about his responsibility to make clear that support for a hate campaign like BDS flies in the face of all of Harvard’s stated values. This clearly better version of Bacow who does not cower speaks a simple truth: “What becomes normalized on the pages of our newspaper comes to life in our community, sometimes with terrible consequences.”

Fish and Klompas’s speech shows Bacow how a Jewish man, tasked with leading a university of Harvard’s stature, can speak veritas to bigotry and terrorism, and show besieged Jewish students that their university president has their back.

Read the Dershowitz and Fish-Klompas op-eds here and here.

ACTION: Please (politely) send the speech Bacow should give to him directly at [email protected].

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