Rabbi Resigns From Harvard Antisemitism Committee

(ConservativeInsider.org) – Last Thursday, a prominent figure, Rabbi David J. Wolpe, announced his resignation from the Harvard antisemitism advisory group. He took this step in response to Harvard University President Claudine Gay’s recent congressional testimony and perception at Harvard that portrays Jews as oppressors.

Wolpe, a Harvard Divinity School visiting scholar, said, “I genuinely respect the committee members. In short, the current events on campus and the less-than-ideal testimony convinced me that I cannot have the impact I intended.”

In late October, Gay announced the formation of an advisory group at Harvard Hillel, the University’s Jewish center. This decision followed criticism of her handling of the Oct 7 Hamas attack against Israel. Gay stated that the group’s objective is to combat antisemitism in the community, and they will collaborate with Harvard administrators to provide antisemitism training to the members.

In his statement, Wolpe hinted that the group might not be adequately equipped to address antisemitic ideas among students and faculty at the University. He emphasized that managing the mix of opinions at Harvard is not solely the responsibility of a committee or the University; it involves teaching an entire generation and necessitates a significant amount of unlearning.

Gay expressed gratitude to Rabbi Wolpe for his advice and friendship in a statement. She acknowledged that there is more work to be done and stated that his contributions will shape their future efforts.

Wolpe also shared his thoughts on Gay’s statements during her testimony about antisemitism at college campuses before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on Tuesday.

During the five-hour session, Gay detailed how the University handled the Oct 7 attacks and emphasized its support for free expression. However, her responses, particularly in a tense exchange with Rep. Elise M. Stefanik regarding whether promoting the genocide of Jews would violate Harvard rules, prompted more criticism of Gay and the University. Harvard Hillel leaders spoke against her and are now calling for her resignation.

In an interview on Thursday evening, Wolpe refrained from discussing calls for Gay to resign but mentioned that her testimony was “very painful.” He highlighted that the issue of antisemitism is more extensive than just Gay as an individual.

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