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Hot Post:Red Guard Harvard Students “Educate” Dr. Martin Peretz

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Posted on October 3 2010 4:00 pm
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.

This popular post was first published on September 27 here.

This past weekend, a throng—nay, a large crowd of Harvard students publicly taunted, shamed, and stalked the venerable liberal intellectual Martin Peretz. Like the jihadists who distribute videos of their beheadings, the protesters also released their mini “Aktion” on YouTube. They call it: “Party for Marty.”

These students decided to rain on “Marty’s” parade, ruin it for him on the day Harvard was honoring him. The video shows students holding up signs presumably with Peretz’s own (but out-of-context) words. It is accompanied by Lesley Gore’s girlish voice singing the 1963 popular song: “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To.” The students are smiling, enjoying themselves, enjoying what they hope is Peretz’s enormous discomfort.

The event was to mark the fiftieth anniversary of a Social Studies program. Harvard alumni had raised additional funding for this program in Peretz’s honor.  Students protested what they believe Professor Peretz wrote, thinks, is—or perhaps they were also protesting Harvard for daring to honor him.

At the end of the day, Harvard allowed Peretz to speak—but only briefly. Very briefly. Harvard still honored him. Speakers included the president of Harvard, various alumni of the Social Studies program, the president of Penn, as well as various social scientists and students.

Peretz was, essentially, silenced. But that was not enough. The righteous, self-satisfied protestors made it a point to hunt Peretz down as he tried to exit quietly, with some dignity, and mocked him continuously as they accompanied him on his long walk through Harvard Yard to his car; they also held the “offending words” posters.

Dr. Martin Peretz? Peretz is a staunch (but somewhat disappointed) Democrat—yes, he supported President Obama, and he is a rabidly old-fashioned liberal, a philanthropist, and the long-time editor-in-chief of The New Republic. Peretz was a professor at Harvard. Peretz is also the descendant of the great Yiddish writer I.L. Peretz and has funded a Chair in Yiddish Literature at Harvard which is currently held by the distinguished scholar, Ruth Wisse.

What crime, what sin, which particular Thought Crime did Dr. Martin Peretz commit?

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