Koshering anti-Semitism at Harvard

By Abraham H. Miller, Originally published in JNS

Every people has its betrayers. And if Jews needed a reminder of that adage, 11 Jewish law students and alumni at Harvard Law School just might have provided it. Indeed, the surprise was that it was only 11.

These students and alumni became witting apologists for Husam El-Qoulaq, the Harvard law student and Palestinian activist who invoked the anti-Semitic stereotype of the smelly Jew, when he hurled a question at former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni as to why she was so “smelly.”

Livni was a panelist at a law school-sponsored forum and a guest of the university. As such, she was entitled to the norms of civility and decency that govern such discussions. Harvard has rules against personal harassment which this clearly was.

El-Qoulaq chose not to contribute to the discussion, but to sling a personal insult worthy of a gutter snipe. In an anonymously rendered apology for an incident at a public and recorded event, El-Qoulaq denied that he knew of the stereotype of the smelly Jew, albeit he offered neither justification nor regret for the insult of Livni.

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