WATCH: Harvard Rabbi Confronts Graduation Speaker Onstage After Antisemitic Remarks

Harvard Chabad Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, right (encircled), confronts Nobel laureate Maria Res

Harvard Chabad Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi confronted Nobel laureate Maria Ressa onstage at Harvard’s graduation on Thursday after Ressa, who delivered the commencement address, used antisemitic language in her speech.

Ressa was chosen as the speaker despite her controversial remarks about the war in Gaza, which critics called antisemitic. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Ressa had, for example, compared Israel to Nazi Germany.

Ressa used her address to warn graduates about the use of social media platforms to help “fascists and tyrants” win democratic elections. She invoked the conspiracy theory that “Russian disinformation” swung the 2016 presidential election to Trump, and claimed that Silicon Valley “tech bros” were to blame for misinformation that informed the Capitol rioters on January 6, 2021.

She then addressed critics who had called her views antisemitic, saying that she had been “called antisemitic by power and money because they want power and money.”

The video below starts at the relevant portion of her remarks:

Following her address, Rabbi Zarchi approached her to ask her to clarify her statement about “power and money.” He was dissatisfied with her response and left the stage. The confrontation can be seen in the video below, which starts at the relevant moment:

Rabbi Zarchi later told the Harvard Crimson that Ressa refused to clarify her comments:

Zarchi said he could not properly hear Ressa’s response due to the ongoing ceremony, but decided to walk off the stage when he felt it was clear she would not oblige with his request to clarify her statements publicly. Zarchi, who was initally seated on stage, was seen walking off during the benediction delivered by Pusey Minister Matthew Ichihashi Potts.

Zarch criticized Ressa’s support for the students in a statement, arguing that she had ignored how the students had “hijacked” the Commencement ceremony to support protesters who had violated Harvard policies. The student speakers had both diverged from the script they provided to the University to express support for sanctioned students.

“It would have been nice to have had at least one speaker representing the overwhelming majority of students and guests disgusted by the disruptors and hateful violators,” he wrote.

Earlier, as many as 1,000 pro-Palestinian protesters walked out of the commencement ceremony in protest.

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, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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