Rabbi Resigns From Harvard’s Anti-Semitism Advisory Committee: ‘Ignoring Jewish Suffering Is Evil’

"Time to kindle the first candle," the rabbi wrote in his departing message coinciding with the first night of Channukah.
Supporters of Palestine gather in Harvard Yard to show their support for Palestinians in Gaza at a rally in Cambridge. Thousands of Palestinians sought refuge on October 14 after Israel warned them to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip before an expected ground offensive against Hamas, one week on from the deadliest attack in Israeli history.

The only rabbi on Harvard’s newly-formed anti-Semitism advisory committee resigned on Thursday amid ongoing controversy about anti-Semitism on campus.

“Without rehashing all of the obvious reasons that have been endlessly adumbrated online, and with great respect for the members of the committee, the short explanation is that both events on campus and the painfully inadequate testimony reinforced the idea that I cannot make the sort of difference I had hoped,” Rabbi David Wolpe, a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Divinity School, wrote on Twitter.

Harvard University president Claudine Gay announced the formation of the committee in the wake of Hamas’ brutal October 7 attack and a rise in anti-Israel demonstrations on her campus. Members included various faculty members, alumni, students, and Jewish leaders.

While Wolpe said he thinks most Harvard students are just trying to pursue education and a career, he said Harvard is being consumed with an ideology that demonizes Jewish people.

“[T]he system at Harvard, along with the ideology that grips far too many of the students and faculty, the ideology that works only along axes of oppression and places Jews as oppressors and therefore intrinsically evil, is itself evil,” he wrote. “Ignoring Jewish suffering is evil.”

“Belittling or denying the Jewish experience, including unspeakable atrocities, is a vast and continuing catastrophe,” he added. “Denying Israel the self-determination as a Jewish nation accorded unthinkingly to others is endemic, and evil.”

Wolpe said he believes some of the issues include herd mentality, victimhood, and anti-Semitism.


“Part of the problem is a simple herd mentality – people screaming slogans whose meaning and implication they know nothing of, or not wishing to be disliked by taking an unpopular position.” Wolpe wrote. “Some of it is the desire to achieve social status by being the sole or greatest victim.”

“Some of it is simple, old-fashioned Jew hatred, that ugly arrow in the quiver of dark hearts for millennia,” he added.

On Tuesday, during a Congressional hearing, Gay dodged a question about whether calling for the genocide of Jews constituted bullying and harassment, claiming it depends on the context. Following outrage after a clip of the interaction went viral, Gay issued a follow-up statement attempting to assuage the backlash.

“There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students,” the university tweeted. “Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group, are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account.”


Wolpe, who is also the Max Webb Emeritus Rabbi of Sinai Temple, related his resignation to the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, which begins Thursday night.

“In this generation, outside of Israel, we are called to be Maccabees of a different order,” he wrote. “We do not fight the actual battle, but we search for the cruse of oil left behind.  Remember the oil was to last one night, but lasted eight – which means there were seven nights of miracle.”

“But of course the first night was the greatest miracle – because the motivation to light the initial candle, to ensure the continuity and vitality of tradition in each generation, that is the supreme miracle,” he added. “We are at a moment when the toxicity of intellectual slovenliness has been laid bare for all to see. Time to kindle the first candle.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Rabbi Resigns From Harvard’s Anti-Semitism Advisory Committee: ‘Ignoring Jewish Suffering Is Evil’