Harvard’s Jewish Quotas and Affirmative Action at the Supreme Court

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding accusations that Harvard University’s admissions policies illegally discriminate against Asian Americans. At one point, the university’s lawyer, Seth Waxman, condemned the “racist, anti-Semitic policy” of A. Lawrence Lowell, who was president of Harvard from 1909 until 1933. The editors of the New York Sun comment:

Lowell, who once tried to bar blacks from Harvard Yard, . . . wanted to cap the ratio of the student body that was Jewish at 15 percent when it was running at 20 percent and when Jews were but a small sliver of the U.S. population. . . . Waxman went on to use the word “insubstantial” to describe the notion that President Lowell’s policies toward Jews are comparable to Harvard’s current policy toward Asian applicants.

In his pursuit of a Jewish quota President Lowell was rebuffed by Harvard’s governors, who argued that Harvard College must “maintain its traditional policy of freedom from discrimination on grounds of race or religion.” Thwarted in his pursuit of a hard cap, Lowell added a “character” requirement to Harvard’s admissions apparatus, using that filter to suppress the number of Jews to, by the time Lowell left, 10 percent of the student body.

If Lowell’s pivot from a hard quota to a soft tipping of the scale is hauntingly familiar, it is because the comparison with what Harvard is accused of doing today might not be so insubstantial after all. Certainly not in the view of Students for Fair Admissions, which is levying the case to reform Harvard and reckons Harvard is dodging high court doctrine that prohibits quotas but allows using race as “one factor among many.”

It’s just illogical for Harvard to disown President Lowell while it mimics him and names one of its glorious Houses for him.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Affirmative action, Anti-Semitism, Asian Americans, Harvard, Supreme Court, University

Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security