Lawrence H. Summers
Office of the President
Cambridge, MA 02138
Dear President Summers:
We applaud your courageous words condemning anti-Semitism and raising awareness of the troubling increase of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish invective on the college campus. Your actions have raised the profile of a disturbing trend that few in the academic community seem willing to stand up and condemn, despite its having generated a great deal of attention and controversy during the past academic year.
Your address at Memorial Church was right on target. We too have been greatly disturbed by the increasing anti-Semitism on campus, which is often thinly disguised as criticism of Israel and its policies. As you noted, many of the students and some faculty involved in pro-Palestinian activism have evoked dangerous anti-Semitic stereotypes, canards and epithets in protests and rallies laced with comparisons of Israelis and Jews to Nazis and Hitler. In the past academic year we witnessed several ugly episodes where students and faculty were verbally assaulted and physically threatened. In one case, protestors yelling, "Hitler did not finish the job" accosted students and faculty members at San Francisco State University.
Through our 30 Regional Offices, ADL has been in the forefront of working with administrators, faculty members and students to counter anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it appears. Our message has been consistent and clear: That the university is a place for open discussion and an exchange of ideas, not a forum for hatred and intimidation.
Thank you again for your decision to take a moral stand against anti-Semitism. I realize that you may engender criticism for your stance, and we will continue to defend you and other courageous administrators who take a stand and denounce anti-Semitism and bigotry. If we can offer any assistance in dealing with future incidents of anti-Semitism or intergroup strife at Harvard University, please let us know.
Abraham H. Foxman