Former Harvard President Lawrence Summers: Antisemitism Has Arrived at Harvard

labor stagflation Larry Summers on inflation on 11/16/2021 "PBS NewsHour"

Former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers wrote Tuesday that antisemitism had arrived at his former campus, in the form of the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement at the Harvard Crimson‘s support for it.

As Breitbart News reported last week, the editorial board of the Crimson declared its support for BDS after the movement staged demonstrations comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa. The Crimson called for a “free Palestine,” which is a call to destroy the Jewish state. It did not condemn Palestinian terrorism, but it did recycle several debunked Palestinian claims, while also excusing anti-Israel activists from accusations of antisemitism, though it only singled out Israel for condemnation.

In an op-ed for the New York Sun, “Antisemitism Comes to Harvard, in Both Intent and Effect,” Summers referred to a famous sermon he delivered at Memorial Church in 2002, in which he had warned that “profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.”

Twenty years later, he wrote, antisemitism had arrived:

In light of the recent exhibition by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee in Harvard Yard and the resounding endorsement of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions by the Harvard Crimson, it is clear to me that antisemitism is being practiced in both intent and effect.

Where then does BDS cross the line? By singling out the world’s only Jewish state for opprobrium in a way totally disproportionate to its deficiencies. How many members of the Crimson’s Editorial Board are aware that the BDS website points up “Western Academy’s Hypocrisy: Sanctions Against Russia but not Israel?”

Apart from raw animus against the Jewish State, how could any thoughtful person today regard Russia and Israel on the same plane when Russia is waging a war of aggression, murdering civilians, bombing maternity hospitals, and creating 5 million refugees?

Summers affirmed the right of the Crimson, or anyone else, to say what they liked about Israel, but noted that free speech meant that they, too, had to expect to be criticized as well — especially when their views were hateful and ill-informed.

Summers left the university in 2006, after clashing with left-wing faculty over a number of politically incorrect stances. He served in the administrations of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Today, he is again considered a gadfly by Democrats, largely because of his correct predictions that excessive federal spending at the start of President Joe Biden’s administration would exacerbate inflation. He is now warning that “stagflation” — negative growth and high inflation — is a likely outcome.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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