Reflections on Antisemitism and the University

November 13th, 2023

This is an edited and slightly extended version of remarks delivered at the Harvard Medical and Dental School Shabbat Observance on Nov. 10, 2023. The opinions expressed reflect only the views of the author.

I am honored by the invitation to be here. I am identified but not devout or highly observant—less familiar with Shabbat rituals than almost all of you. Indeed, but for the harrowing events of the last month it is very unlikely that I would be attending a Shabbat dinner tonight.

We are—I am convinced—at a moment of mortal and moral peril in the world and in university communities like our own. After what we have heard tonight it is not for me to detail Hamas’s evil barbarism or the malevolence of its sponsors. President Biden too has already done that.

My focus tonight will be much closer to home. Since 20 years ago, when I spoke of antisemitism in effect if not intent in response to the Divest Israel movement, I have been alarmed. More recent developments—from Crimson endorsements of BDS, to testimonials by Israeli students regarding in-class discrimination, to vile social media posts—only heightened my concern.

Even so, I am shocked and appalled by what I have seen on university campuses including ours since October 7. I should have raised my voice louder. It is not a mistake I will make again.


A world on fire: How the G-20 can douse the flames

September 7th, 2023

By Bono and Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post

Bono is the co-founder of ONE, a global campaign to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, and the lead singer of the rock band U2. Lawrence H. Summers, a professor and past president at Harvard University, was U.S. treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001 and an economic adviser to President Barack Obama from 2009 through 2010.

Wildfires of all kinds.

This has been the hottest summer, not just in both of our lives, but possibly in 120,000 years, according to leading scientists. Yet it is likely to be the coolest we’ll experience for the rest of our lives. It’s a startling thought and one to stop on before checking the exits — if we can find any.

That means more heat, more drought and more wildfires like this summer’s devastating blazes in Maui and the Mediterranean basin. But it also means more pressure on a global economy already feeling the strain.

Because the climate crisis unaddressed will become development in reverse, undoing decades of social and economic progress in regions that did nothing to cause it.

This is a time to plan, not panic. To organize, not agonize. There are strategies we can adopt before the next time we hear someone shout “Fire!,” and we realize it’s the global economy itself that has gone up in flames.  READ THE FULL WASHINGTON POST COLUMN