The Universities’ Hypocrisy about Freedom of Speech and Diversity

Yesterday, I linked to an essay about the problems of our universities—on which the current burst of anti-Israel agitation has shone a spotlight—by the scholar and writer Peter Berkowitz. Today, I’m sharing a very different, but complementary, perspective on the same subject by the hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, who recently publicized an open letter he wrote to the president of Harvard. His letter deftly identifies the problems and offers some practical solutions:

When you explained in your October 12th video address that Harvard “embraces a commitment to free expression,” you sent a clear message that the eliminationist and anti-Semitic statements of the protesters are permissible on campus. Putting aside the legal limitations on free speech that include restrictions on fighting words and true threats, . . . if Harvard indeed had a strong track record of protecting free speech, many would have taken your support for free speech more seriously. Unfortunately, Harvard has not embraced a serious commitment to free speech, particularly so in recent years.

I have heard from many members of the Harvard community that Harvard’s Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (“OEDIB”) is an important contributing factor to the problem. I was surprised to learn from students and faculty that the OEDIB does not support Jewish, Asian, and non-LGBTQIA white students. . . . The DEI statement [likewise] makes clear that Harvard’s conception of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging does not include Jews (at least those that are not in one of the other welcomed DEI groups).

[Moreover], your failure to condemn the barbaric acts of October 7th opened the door for a wave of anti-Israel attacks on campus that have led to a growing number of anti-Semitic protests and actions.

Because Harvard students are notoriously focused on their job and career prospects post-graduation, disciplinary actions by the administration for failure to meet the university’s standards for appropriate conduct that become part of a student’s permanent record should serve as an effective deterrent to overt anti-Semitic acts on campus.

Read more at Twitter

More about: Anti-Semitism, Harvard, Israel on campus, University


Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security