"Anti-Semitism" on campus

Jay Moore pieinsky at igc.org
Mon Sep 30 14:50:06 MDT 2002

FYI, here is my friend, Jules Rabin's, open letter to Harvard President
Lawrence Summers.   Jules is a Harvard alumnus from a time period when very
few Jews were allowed to attend that U.S. WASP ruling class institution.



September 22, 2002

Dear Mr. Summers,

I deplore your attribution of antisemitism, whether, as you say, by
intention or in effect, to those of us with an attachment to Harvard who
advocate that Harvard divest itself of investments in Israel. You were in
error to identify criticism of Israel, including the movement to have
Harvard divest itself of its holdings in Israel, with current acts of
antisemitism in the world today.

I, like you, am a Jew. Unlike you, apparently, I am profoundly shocked by
the steady, repeated brutalities the Israeli state is inflicting on the
Palestinian people, enlarging the excuse of self-defense to justify running
roughshod over them. I'm acutely conscious of the fact that Israel brazenly
and continuously acts in violation of numerous UN resolutions holding it to
account, particularly as relates to its seizures of Palestinian land,
wholesale destruction of Palestinian properties, and illegal settlement in
areas from which Palestinians were forcibly cleared. I'm aware that Israel
coolly, habitually, and with impunity violates the human rights of
Palestinians, including the deprivation of life itself. Daily and massively.

I am not an antisemite when I deplore and denounce what my fellow Jews in
Israel are perpetrating on the Palestinians in their midst, nor when I
advocate disinvestment from Israel. Honor compels me to speak out above all
when my own people commit atrocious acts, and claim to do that in my name.
Please understand that it is possible to be profoundly Jewish, as I am, and
to deplore any wrongful and criminal acts that the state of Israel commits.
I must say that I consider it a medieval notion of the Jewish condition that
Jews should remain silent before the world when fellow Jews have committed
reprehensible acts.

I'm proud, in this connection, to emulate my daughter Hannah Rabin ('88),
who had the moral courage in 1985 to sit in at the office of the Harvard
Board of Trustees, to protest the continuation of Harvard's investments in
South Africa. You may possibly agree in hindsight that Hannah's moral
position at that time was sound. I believe that future judges of our actions
today regarding what I take to be the daily commission of great crimes by
Israel, including the imposition of conditions of apartheid resembling and
rivaling those that prevailed in the former South Africa, will exonerate us
advocates of divestment of your charges of antisemitism.


Jules Rabin '46,

Marshfield, Vermont

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