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Harvard Law Student Makes Anti-Semitic Remark
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Harvard Program on Negotiation

Summary: A Harvard Law School student made a remark directed at a Jewish woman participating in a forum that was anti-Semitic in nature.

At an event held by the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiations experienced an unexpected statement from a student. Harvard Law School student Husam el-Coulaq asked a question to one of the guest speaker that was taken as an anti-Semitic remark.


Read Law Student Arrested for Anti-Semitic and Violent Threats Against Professors to learn more.

The speaker at the event, former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livini, was participating in a question-and-answer session. El-Coulaq, who happens to lead Harvard’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, asked Livini, in front of his fellow law students, “How is it that you are so smelly?”

The question has been taken as an anti-Semitic statement that he believes was “blown out of proportion.” He has since written an apology, claiming not to know that the question was of an anti-Semitic nature. The recording of the forum has had the offensive remark removed and el-Coulaq’s name has been stricken from the transcript.

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See French Court Orders Twitter to Identify Anti-Semitic Tweeters.

In the apology letter he said, “I want to be very clear that it was never my intention to invoke a hateful stereotype, but I recognize now that, regardless of my intention, words have power, and it troubles me deeply to know that I have caused some members of the Jewish community such pain with my words. To those people I saw, please reach out. Give me an opportunity to make it right.”

Harvard Law Record first reported the incident but withheld el-Coulaq’s name at his request and the request of the Harvard Jewish Law Students Association. An opinion article written by three members of the Association a few days later explained the historical anti-Semitic nature of the question. “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.”

Read Twitter to Remove Anti-Semitic Tweets.

The event was supposed to be a lesson on Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations with Dennis Ross, a former American diplomat and moderated by Harvard Law Professor Robert Mnookin.




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