Harvard professor resigns from antisemitism task force; Bill Ackman reacts - Hindustan Times
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Harvard professor resigns from antisemitism task force over doubts about school's commitment; Bill Ackman reacts

ByShweta Kukreti
Feb 27, 2024 04:02 PM IST

Raffaella Sadun, who was recently assigned to the newly formed Presidential Task Force on Combating Antisemitism, issued a statement after her resignation.

The co-chair of Harvard University's task committee to address antisemitism abruptly resigned on Sunday, reportedly after she became annoyed with authorities' refusal to bring any changes to make the campus safer for Jewish students and faculty amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Pedestrians walk through Harvard Yard on the closed Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US.(Bloomberg)
Pedestrians walk through Harvard Yard on the closed Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US.(Bloomberg)

Raffaella Sadun, who was recently assigned to the newly formed Presidential Task Force on Combating Antisemitism, issued a statement after her resignation, stating that she was "grateful" for the opportunity to serve on the taskforce. However, she didn't offer any explanation for stepping down from the post.

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Her departure is the second time that someone nominated to one of the Ivy League school's antisemitism task teams has announced their resignation.

In December, Rabbi David Wolpe announced his resignation from then-President Claudine Gay's antisemitism committee, citing his inability to "make the sort of difference I had hoped."

Meanwhile, Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi of Harvard Chabad, a Jewish campus organisation, spoke with NY Times about Sadun's resignation, “Basically her conclusion is that she didn’t feel confident or satisfied that she could lead and influence this process in a way that made sense to her," he said.

Also Read: Antisemitism row reignities at Harvard, professor resigns after backlash over offensive cartoon shared by faculty group

Bill Ackman reacts to Sadun's resignation

American hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who has been calling out antisemitism at Harvard, reacted to the Sadun's resignation by citing Wolpe's past resignation.

“The half life of a Harvard antisemitism task force member is about 60 days,” Ackman wrote on X. “I wonder what’s going on.”

Wolpe resigned two days later after Dr. Gay's resignation on January 2 amid pressure.

“Both events on campus and the painfully inadequate testimony reinforced the idea that I cannot make the sort of difference I had hoped,” he wrote on X at the time.

In the same month, Harvard's interim president Alan M. Garber established two new task forces -- one on antisemitism, and another on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry.

Garber chose Dr. Sadun and Dr. Penslar to co-chair the antisemitism task committee.

Also Read: Bill Ackman sends scathing letter to Business Insider over wife's plagiarism row: ‘Retract story or face lawsuit’

Harvard continues to face antisemitism scandal

Last week, pro-Palestinian student groups shared a cartoon on Instagram with “offensive tropes” showing a Jewish person holding nooses around a black and an Arab man.

After receiving complaints about the cartoon, the student clubs and a staff group affiliated with them apologised for the incident.

“We apologize for the hurt that these images have caused and do not condone them in any way,” Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine said on their social media handle.

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