by David Rosenberg
Harvard newspaper slams student leader for labeling Livni 'smelly,' warns 'anti-Semitism still very real.'
Last Thursday, Harvard Law School hosted a panel discussion with guest speakers Dennis Ross and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
During a question and answer session a president of a student organization mocked the Israeli leader, asking her, “How is it that you are so smelly?”
When his question drew stunned silence, he clarified his "question."
“A question about the odor of Ms. Tzipi Livni, she’s very smelly, and I was just wondering.”
The Harvard Law Record did not disclose the identity of the student in question, or the campus organization he leads. But the paper found the insult a clear reference to Livni’s ethnicity and nationality, noting that the comments “revived the antiquated and offensive notion of the ‘smelly Jew’ – a term reeking of anti-Semitism – in order to insult her.”
The paper noted that the discussion focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict, attracting anti-Israel students like the organization president at the center of the incident.
“Discussions about Israel cannot devolve into ad hominem attacks against Jews. A quick Internet search will show that the stereotype of 'the Jew' as 'smelly' or 'dirty' has been around since at least the 1800s. The Nazis promoted the idea that Jews 'smell' to propagandize Jews as an inferior people. The idea that Jews can be identified by a malodor is patently offensive and stereotypes Jews as an 'other' which incites further acts of discrimination. The fact that such a hate-filled and outdated stereotype reemerged at Harvard Law School is nothing short of revolting.”
The statement in the Harvard Law Record encouraged constructive dialogue, but warned that bigotry and hateful rhetoric were rearing their head on campus.
“Anti-Semitism is still very real today, and it just showed itself in our community at Harvard Law School.”
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