Yes, it’s Thanksgiving and I have nothing better to do than write a blog for the HRC. May this holiday bring all of you peace, health and happiness.
This blog is about the events that transpired on Monday November 23, 2009, the fateful day the Israeli ambassador to the United States visited Harvard.
First off, I’d like to say that there is nothing that brightens my day more than a Palestinian flag shoved in my face to the cries of “murderer” “war criminal” and “death to Israel” while entering the Kennedy school. It really just elevates my spirit and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I thank the Harvard Police Force for making sure I was safe and escorting me in.
The speaker, Michael Oren, is a former Harvard professor and a distinguished historian. His talk was no diatribe against the Palestinians and neither was it a slapdash jumble of slogans. Of course, he was pro-Israel and spoke on controversial topics, but the response he received was completely unacceptable.
If you don’t share his opinions, I can deal. We can debate, and maybe I will change your mind. However, if you spew unsubstantiated anti-Semitic nonsense while insulting the speaker and screaming at him, accuse Oren of cheapening the memory of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, or make crude jokes about the deaths of children, Palestinian or Israeli, I’m just ashamed. I’m ashamed to attend the same university as you, to use the same classrooms as you, and even to have the same degree as you. I’m ashamed it got so rowdy that I had to exit the premises out the back door with police present, and that some people left the lecture midway and stood outside screaming “Long Live Palestine” and “Death to Israel” among other creative slogans.
I expect this from random protesters. I didn’t, however, expect this from my classmates. Yes, I’m conservative and pro-Israel, but I don’t go around carrying such hate and malice, and I hope I don’t bring shame onto this university. I will never stoop so low as to scream the converse of these slogans and to so blatantly disrespect a speaker.
I don’t like that people have started telling me to stop wearing my Star of David, and I don’t like that anti-Israel sentiment has now become blatant anti-Semitism. I know what it is like to defend myself both with my words and with my fists, but I don’t want to have to do it at Harvard.
I thank the people who attended this lecture and clapped with me when Oren sarcastically responded to a few insolent comments, you made me feel less alone and more like not everyone had turned against what I believed in.