Counter Is an Anti-Semite


S. Allen Counter should be dismissed as head of the Harvard Foundation for two reasons.

The first reason is that Counter's letter to The Crimson displays gross insensitivity which is unbecoming of the head of the Foundation. Counter's letters is insensitive because he implies that The Crimson is run by the Jews and that The Crimson has a pro-Jewish and thus an anti-Black agenda.

Furthermore, Counter quotes Daniel J. Libenson '92, former chair of the Hillel Coordinating Council, completely our of context and uses this truncated quote to show that troubled Black-Jewish relations at Harvard are the Jews' fault.

Just as a reminder, the Foundation's mandate is to increase racial and ethnic sensitivity on this campus. The Foundation cannot fulfill its role if its director is extremely insensitive toward a particular ethnic group, as Counter's letter is. Counter is unqualified to lead the Foundation and should be dismissed.

Since it is conceivable that some people could disagree about the implications of the Counter letter, we are fortunate that Counter has provided us with a second, even stronger reason to call for his dismissal. That reason is anti-Semitism, which Counter displays in his May 1985 Crisis magazine article, "Racial Slurs."


In the article, Counter writes that a certain "para-white ethnic groups" uses the word "nigger" in order "to convince themselves and others of their imagined white identity and publicly flex their 'whiteness.'" This usage "may well be part of a much larger ethnic scheme designed to denigrate Afro-Americans..." By the way, the culprits are "Euro-American individuals and special interest groups with powerful influence in the media..." He cites several examples, such as the movie Blazing Saddles (by Mel Brooks, a Jew) as well as the use of the word "shvartza" (a Yiddish word).

Clearly, the subject of Counter's letters is Jews, and the charge, that the Jews control the media and Hollywood, is such a standard, worn-out anti-Semitic idea that at least Counter could have been original. Counter, of course, does not admit that the article refers to Jews; what is he going to say, "Yes, I am an anti-Semite"?

Anti-Semites should not be in charge of the Foundation or any other office at Harvard.

Counter has issued something resembling an apology for the letter. However, the damage from his letter and his article has already been done. He has been exposed for what he is (extremely insensitive or an anti-Semite--take your pick). One does not exactly ask David Duke for an apology or a retraction.

The staff cowers from calling for his resignation from the Foundation, being content with calling for him not to be appointed to an office which does not even yet exist, or else to continue to serve in a position where he can sponsor "feel good" programs on race relations.

This is ridiculous; Counter's presence does not make as a Jew , "feel good." Neither is the issue Counter's role in some future consolidated race relations office. The only issue regarding Counter is his being head of the Foundation. For the staff to believe that Counter has acted in an extremely insensitive manner and then NOT to call for his immediate resignation from the Foundation is a contradiction in terms and an embarrassing position for the Crimson staff to take.

The staff retreats from Calling for his resignation out of the fear of alienating some ethnic groups, which have seized upon the Counter Crimson conflict for their own agenda, namely venting frustration over Crimson coverage of minority affairs. Do not get me wrong: Issues of Crimson coverage of minority affairs are legitimate and should be addressed by The Crimson. However, this issue is completely separate from the Counter affair, from whether an anti-Semite should be in charge of the Foundation.

The staff should not hesitate to call for Counter's dismissal because the staff is afraid of alienating certain ethnic groups. Those ethnic groups are wrong for coopting the Counter issue and using it for their own self-interest. Let them raise their legitimate complaints without linkage to supporting an anti-Semite.

As for the ethnic groups that wrote to The Crimson calling Counter "the Foundation's most valuable asset," they should first read Counter's letter to The Crimson and especially his Crisis article. Let's hope that their opinion of him will then be changed.