Letters to the Editor

Anti-Semitism and Harvard

Dear Editor,

The need for a task force to study anti-Semitism at Harvard is beyond face saving; it is a profound embarrassment. Changing hatred encapsulated in academia, where a large number of faculty and students freely militate their anti-Semitism is ill fated. The corrective is to censure faculty and expel students, who believe their mission is to single out Jews as deserving targets. That is not likely to be a task force recommendation.

A social media post displaying a blatant anti-Semitic trope – traced to a Harvard faculty member only days after acting President Garber sent a letter touting the task force – underscored the insidious nature of the problem. Campus perpetrators both faculty and students are brazen, unafraid, and emboldened by the lack of consequences. If Harvard Presidents, Summers and Gay could be removed, so can others.

This week Harvard Business School professor and committee co-chair Raffaella Sadun resigned because the administration would not agree to implement task force recommendations. In short, the findings would not be binding, or watered down. Previously, Rabbi David Wolpe, visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School resigned from the task force believing he would have no impact further indicating that the task force is dysfunctional as constituted.

Anti-Semitism is rife on campus implicating confidence in Harvard’s institutional governance. The House of Representatives has launched an investigation of anti-Semitism at Harvard; defiantly Harvard has not met the timetable for requested documents.

Harvard Hubris!

Barry Zaltman M.Ed. 73

Response to Editorials

Dear Editor,

We were disappointed to see the two editorials published in the February 22, 2024, issue of The Beacon Hill Times, and other newspapers in the Independent Newspaper Group. One omits key facts in the debate on Ukraine funding. The other reinforces detrimental stereotypes about Joe Biden and older people. We feel compelled to respond.

In “House Democratic Leaders Are to Blame for Ukraine’s Predicament,” you fault House Democratic leaders for the failure of Congress to pass a bill providing additional military aid to Ukraine. You claim that former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was a “staunch supporter of Ukraine,” and that House Democrats “sided with a small band of [Republican] extremists to oust McCarthy” as Speaker. You state that this ultimately resulted in Mike Johnson’s election as Republican House Speaker, whom you assert has “refused to take up the bill that was passed by a bipartisan majority in the Senate to provide additional aide to Ukraine.”

Let us correct the record. McCarthy was ousted because he could not rally enough Republicans to support him. The Democrats simply refused to support his continued tenure. As former Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted, the “Speaker of the House is chosen by the Majority Party,” and that “[i]n this Congress, it is the responsibility of House Republicans to choose a Nominee and elect the Speaker on the Floor.” McCarthy used his brief tenure as Speaker to cater to extremists in his party, who ultimately turned on him. Besides, had he remained Speaker, it would not have guaranteed critical funding for Ukraine’s war efforts against Russia.

In truth, it is former President Trump’s opposition to the Senate-approved $95 billion military aid package for Ukraine and Israel which has prevented a vote in the Republican-controlled House. Trump loudly criticized that deal, sinking months of bipartisan negotiations. This, while President Biden and his top officials continue to push Johnson for a vote on the bill.

In “Democratic Leaders Need to Tell Biden to Step Aside,” you claim that President Biden “is spiraling faster-and-faster downhill, both physically and mentally.” At the same time, you state that Joe Biden has been a great president, and his administration has accomplished more legislation that will benefit more Americans than any since Lyndon Johnson’s in the 1960s. But you conclude that the “view of a majority of voters, including Democrats,” is that Joe Biden should step aside.

We object. Your editorial appears to channel Special Counsel Robert Hur’s 350-page report concerning the few classified documents found in President Biden’s residences, which concludes that there was no actionable violation of any laws by the President. The report also includes superfluous and unprofessional comments about President Biden’s age. As long-time commentator Neal Milner notes, Hur – a Republican and a former Trump political appointee – articulated a “view of aging [that] is out of date and offensive.” Milner points out that the Hur report “reenforces the oh-so-common notion that being old is a stigma—and not simply a characteristic or even a source of strength.”

As for his strengths, President Biden has demonstrated moral leadership and wisdom. He has, for example, reinvigorated the Western NATO alliance more than any president since the fall of the Soviet Union, pointing out that supporting Ukraine is an obligation given America’s founding democratic ideals. In stark contrast, Donald Trump has failed to condemn Putin over the death of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, and he recently admitted that he’d let Russia “do whatever the hell they want” with NATO members who fail to reach defense spending guidelines.

This past Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” California Governor Gavin Newsom argued that the President Biden’s age and experience are among the top reasons why he should be re-elected. “I’ve seen him up close, I’ve seen him from afar, but here’s my point: It’s because of his age that he’s been so successful.” We share Governor Newson’s assessment of President Biden: his many years of dedicated experience to our country is what makes Joe Biden such a strong candidate – and President!

The Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee endorsed President Biden prior to New Hampshire primary for good reason. As your editorial noted, Joe Biden has been a great president, and his administration has accomplished more legislation beneficial to Americans than any other president in the last 60 years! He has assembled, and leads, an incredible team of experienced, knowledgeable experts who reflect his values and get things done. We wholeheartedly support President Biden because he is the leader Democrats need to win in November.


Robert D. Binney, Hilary Bacon Gabrieli, Patricia Amend, Shari Franzetta, Robert A. Whitney, Gretchen Bennett, Kenzie Bok, Boston City Councilor Sharon Durkan, Katherine A. Judge, State Representative Jay Livingstone, and Susan Smith.

The signers are the members of the Executive Committee of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee. The comments expressed are their own.

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