A Harvard University employee challenged a Jewish student who is currently suing the Ivy league school over anti-Semitism to a debate on Israel’s role in 9/11, according to a copy of the harassing email obtained by The Daily Wire.
“I invite you to debate me today at the Cambridge Street overpass 12-1, don’t miss it!” Gustavo Espada, an active university employee, wrote in a Thursday email to Shabbos Kestenbaum, the student. “If you don’t show up I will use a puppet or potted plant to represent you!”
Espada sent the email from his official Harvard account with the subject line, “invitation to debate Israeli role in 9/11.” He also offered to plan a “more formal” debate in a “large venue” on campus.
Espada is the financial and systems coordinator for the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, according to Harvard University’s website. He is also a Harvard alumni who graduated in 1996 and a member of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, according to his email signature. Espada did not agree to an on the record interview. Harvard did not respond to a request for comment.
“PS stop saying I hate Jews unless that is something you want,” Espada added in the email. “I hate Israel and Zionism with a passion and you know full well they are two different things.”
Kestenbaum, along with other students, filed a lawsuit against the Ivy League earlier this month, accusing it of selectively enforcing its policies to avoid protecting Jewish students from harassment and enabling anti-Semitism.
“It would stand to reason that someone this hateful would have attended, and continue to work, at Harvard,” Kestenbaum, who notified the Cambridge Police Department of Espada’s actions, told The Daily Wire. “Harvard, to this day, has yet to introduce or enforce a concrete plan of action pertaining to their dismantling of antisemitism on campus.”
“The time for task forces, statements, and apologies are over,” he added. “I want action and I want it yesterday.”
Espada also referenced posters of Israeli hostages that were defaced earlier this week with 9/11 conspiracies, which Kestebaum documented on his X, formerly known as Twitter, account
“Perhaps you and your allies want to start acting in better faith, starting with a public correction of the false claims you have made about the posters, and an apology to the community for inflaming passions at this difficult time with false statements?” Espada added in the email.
A X account that appears to belong to Espada, with account name “9/11 Guy” posted at Kestenbaum Thursday defending the vandalism on the posters that blames Israel for 9/11.
“The posters make no mention of Jews, only Israel and its lies including the 5?Israelis arrested on 9/11 and the obvious demolition with explosives of the WTC, [sic]” he wrote.
Espada reiterated the call for a debate, this time at the “science center.”
“Anyone wishing to debate me should come to the science center today between 12 and 1!” he added. “All individuals and news outlets publishing incorrect and/or libelous statements about these events is hereby served notice.”
In photos obtained by The Daily Wire, the words “lies” and “fake” were written over one of the hostage posters. In another, “Sure, Jan” was written over the face of 23-year-old hostage Romi Gonen.
Espada’s X account is full of posts with conspiracy theories about Jews and Israel.
Espada called for Israel to “be wiped off the map” on January 20, 2024.
“Why, because I think Israel should be wiped off the map for what it’s done around the world?” he posted. “I think what I am is an ‘antisemite’ because I have no problem with Jews per se, just the ones who think there’s a different set of rules for them.”
He questioned the legitimacy of Hamas’s October 7 attack against Israeli civilians, tweeting, “IDF helicopter fired into kibbutz. No beheaded babies. What if any part of 10/7 is real?”
In a video Espada posted of himself in Harvard Square, he shouted at police officers and chants “From the River to the Sea,” and “Globalize the intifada.”
On January 23, he shared a tweet with a picture of Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro and Elon Musk at the concentration camp, Auschwitz, from another user that accused Zionists and globalists of being “the same people who rule America and their vassals.”
“This is power,” he wrote, responding to the tweet. “A certain kind of power on the decline, but nevertheless, bear witness to it for posterity!”
On the same day, he returned to his 9/11 conspiracies, posting, “one thing I learned on 9/11 and will never forget is how good Israelis are with explosives.”
In a TikTok post Thursday night, Espada spoke in Spanish while waving around a toy machete, claiming he is ready to fight to win. “I’m not going to go into details but this is a good plan. So if you follow us, this is what’s happening,” he says in Spanish before photos of various high-profile Jews and a screenshot of Kestenbaum’s tweet.
Espada has been active in pushing 9/11 conspiracy theories for 18 years, according to a 2006 piece in The Lowell Sun which reported he spends 10 hours a week “handing out literature, Web logging and talking with people on the street about his views on 9/11.”
“I don’t think anybody has a 100 percent view of what actually did happen on 9/11,” he told the paper at the time.