update deskSchools & Higher Education

Israeli foreign minister: Hope Harvard ‘learns from this dismal conduct’

After Claudine Gay announced her resignation as president of Harvard University, the Associated Press, among others, blamed conservatives.

The Widener Library at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 7, 2007. Credit: Joseph Williams via Wikimedia Commons.
The Widener Library at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 7, 2007. Credit: Joseph Williams via Wikimedia Commons.

Israel Katz, Israel’s newly-minted foreign minister, responded on Tuesday to the news that Claudine Gay, the Harvard University president embroiled in dual controversies, was resigning.

“A bit of context: Leadership failure and denial of antisemitism have a price,” Katz wrote in Hebrew on social media. “Hope the glorious institution Harvard University learns from this dismal conduct.”

Other notable figures weighed in on both sides of the equation.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) noted that Gay remains a professor at Harvard, “even though she was plainly never qualified to be either professor or president. So it seems Harvard remains incapable of shame.”

“Two down,” wrote Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who questioned Gay during a Dec. 5 House committee hearing, during which the Harvard president said that it depended on context whether calling for genocide against all Jews violated Harvard policies. (Liz Magill has since resigned as president of the University of Pennsylvania, while Sally Kornbluth, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has not.)

“Harvard knows that this long overdue forced resignation of the antisemitic plagiarist president is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history,” Stefanik wrote.

Vivek Ramaswamy, a technology entrepreneur running for president as a Republican, said the resignation was “better late than never.” He added that Harvard should consider “a radical idea for the future: Select leadership based on *merit.* It’s a great approach, actually.”

‘Doesn’t end the school’s troubles’

“To paraphrase Churchill, Harvard had an initial choice between a scandal and dishonor; it chose dishonor and now it will have scandal,” wrote Victor Davis Hanson, a prominent scholar and writer.

Hanson noted that Gay claimed to be resigning “mostly because of ‘deeply personal and sustained attacks’ and ‘racist vitriol’—and not her decades-long habit of passing off the intellectual work of others as her own—well aside from her misleading congressional testimony that it was her commitment to free speech that had prevented her from acting against clear antisemitic activity at her university.”

“The resignation of Harvard’s embattled president doesn’t end the school’s troubles. Indeed, it doesn’t even end the plagiarism scandal, because the board has to answer for sweeping the allegations under the rug and hiring a law firm to threaten journalists who had the scoop,” wrote Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow and director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute.

Ibram Kendi, a Boston University professor and director of its Center for Antiracist Research, accused “racist mobs” of trying to “topple all black people from positions of power and influence who are not reinforcing the structure of racism.”

Marc Lamont Hill, a professor who has been fired for his anti-Israel statements, wrote: “The next president of Harvard University must be a black woman.”

An alert from the Associated Press early in its breaking coverage blamed conservatives and suggested, without evidence, that the documented plagiarism charges against Gay were disingenuous political hits.

“Harvard President Claudine Gay weathered attacks on her congressional testimony on antisemitism, only to resign after mounting allegations of plagiarism pushed largely by conservatives,” per the AP alert, which Madeline Fry Schultz, contributors editor at the Washington Examiner, posted.

“In an era of widespread access to plagiarism software and unprecedented distrust of higher education, experts say conservatives could use Gay’s situation as a playbook to attack other leaders in higher education,” the AP added.

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