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Harvard Jewish organization blasts Ivy League president for ‘disappointing’ testimony on antisemitism


After Harvard President Claudine Gay would not say that the calls for the genocide of Jews was a breach of the Ivy League university’s code of conduct, the local campus Jewish organization called on the president to “take action” to protect Jewish students.

When responding to Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, questions on Harvard’s rules for bullying and harassment, President Gay said that speech that qualifies as harassment “depends on the context.”

The Jewish student organization, Harvard Hillel, said that President Gay’s “refusal” to “draw a line” on threatening antisemitic speech is “profoundly shocking.”

“President Gay’s refusal to draw a line around threatening antisemitic speech as a violation of Harvard’s policies is profoundly shocking given explicit provisions within the conduct code prohibiting this kind of bullying and harassment,” the Harvard Hillel said in a statement posted on social media.

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Claudine Gay

Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC.  (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The organization said that they are appalled by the president’s lack of action and questioned the president’s “ability to protect Jewish students on Harvard’s campus.”

“We are appalled by the need to state the obvious: A call for genocide against Jews is always a hateful incitement of violence. President Gay’s failure to properly condemn this speech calls into question her ability to protect Jewish students on Harvard’s campus,” the Harvard Hillel said. “Chants to “globalize the intifada,” an endorsement of violent terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli civilians, and “from the river to the sea,” an eliminationist slogan intended to deprive Jews of their right to self-determination in Israel, have become tragically routine at Harvard.”

Supporters of Palestinians at Harvard University

Supporters of Palestinians gather at Harvard University to show their support for Palestinians in Gaza at a rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 2023. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

“President Gay’s testimony fails to reassure us that the University is seriously concerned about the antisemitic rhetoric pervasive on campus. We call on President Gay to take action against those using threatening speech that violates our community standards,” the Harvard Hillel said.

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Harvard Hillel President Jacob Miller said that the president’s testimony was “utterly disappointing,” and that tackling antisemitism will take “head-on resolve” not “weak equivocation.”

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“President Gay’s testimony today was stunning and utterly disappointing,” Miller wrote in an X post.  “Tackling campus antisemitism will take head-on resolve, not the weak equivocation that was on display today.”

Harvard president testifies

Lawmakers on the education committee will grill the leaders of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology about their responses to protests that erupted after the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.  (Haiyun Jiang/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Gay, who testified in Congress on Tuesday, December 5 alongside MIT President Sally Kornbluth and University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill, previously denounced Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel on October 7.

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Following criticism from pro-Palestinian student groups, Gay released a video message two days later saying that though the university does not “punish or sanction” people for expressing polarizing views, it does not mean that it endorses them.





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