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I did not feel The Crimson, in its article ("Martin Speaks At BSA Event," news story, Dec. 1,1994) fully represented Hillel's position on the BSA's decision to invite Professor Tony Martin to speak on The Bell Curve. A copy of the letter circulated at the speech follows:
"The theories presented in The Bell Curve, by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein, are not only offensive but also grossly incorrect. We attended and endorsed the Nov. 4, 1994 demonstration in order to express our outrage about the "scientific" ideas put forth in this book. The BSA should be commended for bringing to light the truth about this book and the actual motivation of its authors. Today's teach-in is an excellent method of encouraging students to learn more about The Bell Curve and its gaping flaws. We are upset that the academic community at Harvard did not respond to the BSA's requests to lead the teach-in.
However, as Jews, we are deeply upset at the BSA's choice of Professor Tony Martin as the speaker to lead the teach-in. We are profoundly offended by Professor Martin's viciously anti-Semitic book, The Jewish Onslaught. In that volume, he makes sweeping generalizations about Jews, and perpetuates negative Jewish stereotypes. We specifically cally object to his assertion that Hillels are merely pawns of larger Jewish organizations, whose members willfully work to stop the progress of African-Americans. We respect the right of the BSA to invite whomever they wish to their programs; however, we are shocked and saddened by the choice of this divisive and hurtful speaker.
We are encouraged that the BSA and Hillel have a commitment to continue intergroup programming. We have jointly planned dialogues for mid- December and early February, and we encourage all Jewish and African-American students to attend. We strongly support the BSA's continued effort to expose the flaws in The Bell Curve theory, and we hope members of the BSA and the Harvard community under-stand our disappointment with the choice of today's speaker.
--The Steering Committee of the Coordinating Council, Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel"
In light of Professor Martin's speech, I feel I need to clarify one point. Referring to the above letter, Martin complained that anyone who criticizes Jews is labelled as anti-Semitic. The Steering Committee did not label Professor Martin's book anti-Semitic. Because he criticized the actions of certain Jews. We are not so blind and defensive as to call everyone who criticizes a Jew anti- Semitic. Rather, we objected to his false generalizations about all Jews in his book, The Jewish Onslaught.
Professor Martin wrote on page 5 of that book, "As relations between Blacks and Jews have deteriorated in recent years, Hillel chapters have become the campus-based shock troops in the ongoing Jewish onslaught against Black progress." The idea that I, as chair of Hillel, am a soldier fighting the gains of African-Americans is absurd, and it perpetuates the stereotype that all Jews are an organized unit aimed at wreaking havoc on African-Americans. It is because of false generalizations such as this, not because of criticism against certain Jews, that the Steering. Committee decided to label the book anti-Semitic. --Elie G. Kaunfer '95, chair, Harvard. Radcliffe Hillel Coordinating Council
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