Letter: Harvard: Back to Its Antisemitic Future

Dear Editor,

It is hard to believe that Harvard President Claudine Gay could bring more antisemitic shame to Harvard than Harvard President James Conant did in the 1930s.

As Professor Stephen H. Norwood has described:

“The Harvard University administration during the 1930s, led by President James  Bryant Conant, ignored numerous opportunities to take a principled stand against the Hitler regime and its antisemitic outrages and contributed to Nazi Germany’s efforts to improve its image in the West. Its lack of concern about Nazi antisemitism was shared by many influential Harvard alumni and student leaders. In warmly welcoming Nazi leaders to the Harvard campus; inviting them to prestigious, high profile social events; and striving to build friendly relations with thoroughly Nazified universities in Germany, while denouncing those who protested against these actions, Harvard’s administration and many of its student leaders offered important encouragement to the Hitler regime as it intensified its persecution of Jews and expanded its military strength”.

— “The Third Reich in The Ivory Tower. Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses“, Professor Stephen H. Norwood, page 36, 2009

Yet President Gay has done President Conant one better when it comes to bringing shame to Harvard because of its foundational antisemitism. Having declared that promoting the genocide of the Jewish people is acceptable at Harvard as it was at Nazi universities in the 1930s in her Congressional testimony….”it depends on the context”… her antisemitic declaration has been heard and responded to in Europe.

The prestigious Lauder Business School in Vienna, Austria has ended a 10-year relationship with Harvard because of Gay’s dithering response to Congress. For any European college or university to sever its relationship with Harvard because of Harvard’s antisemitism is both historic and pathetic. It is certainly Gay’s pathetic legacy.

Richard Sherman
Margate, Florida

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