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April 20, 2016 4:00 pm

Dean of Harvard Law School Denounces ‘Smelly Tzipi Livni’ Comment as ‘Embarrassment to This Institution’

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Dean of Harvard Law School Martha Minow. Photo: Harvard Law Record/ Wikimedia Commons.

Dean of Harvard Law School Martha Minow. Photo: Harvard Law Record/ Wikimedia Commons.

The dean of Harvard Law School (HLS) issued a strong condemnation of a recent incident in which a visiting Israeli official was publicly insulted, calling it an “embarrassment to this institution,” The Algemeiner has learned.

Last Thursday, at a panel featuring former Israeli foreign minister and current member of Knesset Tzipi Livni  — and attended by several hundred people — an HLS student publicly asked, “My question is for Tzipi Livni. How is it that you are so smelly? It’s regarding your odor — about the odor of Tzipi Livni, very smelly.”

In an email sent out to the student body obtained by The Algemeiner, Dean Martha Minow wrote, “The comment was offensive and it violated the trust and respect we expect in our community. Many perceive it as antisemitic, and no one would see it as appropriate. It was an embarrassment to this institution and an assault upon the values we seek to uphold.”

Minow made clear that while free speech is a right shared by all, it “does not mean that hateful remarks should go unacknowledged or unanswered in a community dedicated to thoughtful discussion of complex issues and questions.”

A current HLS student, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Algemeiner that “many HLS students, both Jews and non-Jews alike, felt very personally affected by the question.” He added, “The general impression by law students is that this crossed a line. Friends of the student in question, who spoke out on his behalf, are saying he did not intend to make an antisemitic comment. Rather, he wanted to insult and delegitimize the event.”

Following the incident, the presidents of the HLS Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA) wrote in an open letter published in The Harvard Law Record that the “antiquated and offensive notion of the ‘smelly Jews’ — [is] a term reeking of antisemitism.”

“Derogatory terms and stereotypes are not constructive,” they wrote. “They are divisive. They breed hatred and inhibit mutual understanding and respect. When this student suggested that Tzipi Livni was a ‘smelly Jew,’  he not only vilified her, but he vilified every Jewish student, faculty, and staff member at Harvard Law School. This antisemitic rhetoric is not acceptable. It is not dialogue. It is not productive. Rather, it is hate speech. It is offensive. It is wrong. A statement like this denigrates our school and our shared purpose, and we as a community cannot tolerate it.”

Sahand Moarefy, the president of the Middle East Law Students Association at HLS, issued a statement of solidarity with the JLSA, saying, “As the President of an organization dedicated to representing and serving students across the Middle East, including Israel, I deplore any attack on individuals based on their race, religion, or cultural heritage.”

The student who sparked the controversy — whose identity is being kept confidential — subsequently issued an apology to the JLSA. “I am writing to apologize, as sincerely as I can via this limited form of communication, to anyone who may have felt offended by the comments I made last week. To be very clear, as there seems to be some confusion, I would never, ever, ever call anyone, under any circumstances, a ‘smelly Jew.’ Such a comment is utterly repugnant, and I am absolutely horrified that some readers have been led to believe that I would ever say such a thing,” the student wrote in a statement published as an update to the JLSA letter.

“I want to be very clear that it was never my intention to invoke a hateful stereotype, but I recognize now that, regardless of my intention, words have power, and it troubles me deeply to know that I have caused some members of the Jewish community such pain with my words. To those people I say, please reach out. Give me an opportunity to make it right.”

The event at which the incident occurred — titled “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the U.S.” —  was hosted by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and co-sponsored by the Jewish Law Students Association and Harvard Hillel. It entailed a conversation between Livni and American diplomat Dennis Ross, moderated by HLS Professor Robert Mnookin.

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Join the Algemeiner

    It would be superflous

  • Stacey Horcher

    Letter I sent to
    “Decorum and standards”
    Here’s what I wrote, hope you will all follow suit, as that this prick be dismissed and denied a diploma!

    Dear Provost Garber,

    Do you have a set of comportment standards for students?

    Any professional decorum standards to which the students must conform in order to

    merit the recognition and gravitas a degree from Harvard Law confers upon them?

    Your “student” Husam El Coolaq (Qoolaq?) made a sickening, despicable choice,

    and betrayed a very ugly, obviously deep-seated antisemitism by calling Tzipi Livni “smelly”.

    His indecent bias and even worse manners render him unfit for the status and position a degree from Harvard Law School

    would afford such a spoiled, ignorant, naughty child.

    I wonder how wealthy his arab parents are that you would not summarily expel him for making you such a target for scorn.

    Don’t you screen for such indecent, aberrant beliefs during the process of admissions?

    He may come from a culture with no free press, no free speech, no presumptions of innocence,

    no right to a trial by jury and journalists who live in fear of saying anything that a king or ayatollah might dislike,

    but by now he should know that even if he believes such filth, he certainly should not feel free to express

    that ugly, uneducated, irrational hatred to a visiting dignitary at a Harvard event.

    (Does he know that a Jew invented the Polio vaccine he received as a child and made it free for the whole world?)

    He obviously feels rich, entitled and probably “bulletproof” because he gained admission, he’s probably laughing at you right now.

    I hope you’ll correct that.

    This boy, Husam, is the leader of a BDS group that advocates for the financial and educational destruction of the state of Israel,

    a group that has been condemned by our government for illegal boycotting, and is funded by Hamas,

    a state-department recognized international terrorist organization.


    I honestly can’t parse this. Harvard Law School has sunk to a shocking low by failing to discipline this outrage swiftly and harshly.

    I hope you will correct this immediately, we are all watching.

    Stacey Horcher

    • i like it, if all the people are friendly and politely to others.
      the societ will be good and happy

  • Susanna Branch

    Why is Husam El-Qoulaq not expelled/dismissed?

  • Dian (Dina) Grossman Kjaergaard

    Anti-semitic or not, ad hominem attacks are not appropriate for a college student. I hope someone at Harvard disciplines and counsels him.

    Here is his apparent identity: Husam El-Qoulaq. He leads the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement at Harvard. And he has apparently convinced himself that anti-Zionism has nothing to do with antisemitism.

    I hope that Algemeiner follows up to see if he does “try to make it right”.

  • Charlie in NY

    Dean Minnow wrote that no “hateful remarks should go unacknowledged or unanswered in a community dedicated to thoughtful discussion of complex issues and questions.” If she were honest, she would have added that at Harvard they wlil go unpunished. Remind me of the reason Larry Summers was forced from Harvard’s presidency?

  • Larry Robins

    According to, the piece of human excrement who insulted Livni with the “smelly” question was Mr. Husam El-Coolaq, currently employed by cyberlawclinic. This vermin is the perfect example of the Arab we take into America and then spread his inbred hatred of Israel and the Jews, using our guaranteed freedoms against us.

  • The perp’s identity is no longer confidential. It is Harvard Law Student Husam El-Qoulaq (sometimes spelled “Coolaq”), 3rd year, Head of racist Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.

  • Elliott

    Somehow, the word “taquia” comes to mind …

  • Anon

    If you’re on Twitter, you should tweet @HarvardLaw and ask silly questions like “Why are Arabs so explosive?” and “Why Arab women second class citizens in the Middle East?”.

  • Shami

    He gave her what she deserves.
    All the mid-east except Turkey, Iran and Egypt are “FAKE COUNTRIES” only.
    They think that they can survive? BS.
    Turkey won’t survive though

    • Ease Elder

      What is a fake country?
      Many countries have become wood chips throughout history. You would need to sharpen your vocabulary to add even one tiny chip to the stream.
      Please crawl back under the rock where you live.

  • Megan Tallmer

    So, a third year HLS realizes only after the fact that words have power? Too bad they have eliminated trial by combat. And someone should teach this guy how to compose an apology that actually expresses real remorse, rather than one that is almost as insulting as his original comment.
    In my opinion, the student’s conduct should be brought to the attention of the appropriate body in any State or Federal jurisdiction to which he seeks admission. In addition to being grossly anti-Semitic, in my opinion, his conduct was wholly unprofessional and reflects upon his character and fitness to practice law.

    Megan Tallmer

  • art frank

    Ironic comment most likely from a person who’s race generally avoids bathing. I’ve been around them and they really stink. The ignorant brood sow probably celebrates the murder of innocents by her compatriots.

  • It is time for the Jewish Harvard people at 25% of the campus to crush down on the arabs and their cronies

    It is time for the Jewish Harvard people at 25% of the campus to crush down on the arabs and their cronies Are you Jewish Harvard people awake while the arab snakes sneak in to p*ss on our parade???

  • While I believe the student who made the comment is sincere in his apology to Jewish community of Harvard, he must be lacking in knowledge of 20th century history. One of the attributes that Nazi propaganda spread about “How To Recognize A Jew” was that Jewish people smelled different than Aryans. It could be that current history courses do not place enough emphasis on the rampant anti-Semitism in Europe during that period.
    So, education is the answer to preventing such statements in future.

    • You think that the apology by Husam El-Qoulaq, head of racist Students for Justice in Palestine chapter was “sincere”???

    • Larry Robins

      The vermin’s name, according to, is Husam El-Coolaq, a graduate of UC Berkeley (any wonder?) and a member of the Harvard Law Justice for Palestinians group.

  • Marc rosenblatt

    As a graduate of Harvard I feel that such a violation of simple etiquette and outrageous behavior should disqualify a person from getting a degree. How can an institution validate a student like that. This is not a free speech issue – it is a question of conferring legitimacy on a person whose behavior is outside the norm

    • Megan Tallmer

      So a third year HLS student realizes after the fact that words have power? Too bad they have done away with trial by combat. Maybe he can specialize in writing lame apologies reinforcing his anti-Semitic conduct.
      Megan Tallmer

    • Larry Robins

      The vermin’s name, according to, is Husam El-Coolaq, a graduate of UC Berkeley (any wonder?) and a member of the Harvard Law Justice for Palestinians group.

  • Ruth Alvarez

    Clearly, the remark was intended to insult and to be hurtful. It is ignorant, inappropriate, and reflects poorly on not only a law school, but a prestigious one at that. I am a high school teacher and I must say that a high school student has more common sense than this individual, who is privy to one of the best educations in the world. It is obvious that it has not served him well at all.

    • Larry Robins

      The vermin’s name, according to, is Husam El-Coolaq, a graduate of UC Berkeley (any wonder?) and a member of the Harvard Law Justice for Palestinians group.

  • Job

    Husam El-Qoulaq

    “The name of the Harvard Law Student who called Tzipi Livni smelly is Husam El-Qoulaq. He’s a 3rd year, so he’s looking for jobs. He’s the head of their racist Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. The school is still withholding his name and his affiliation with his Jew hating group of bullies to ensure he suffers no repercussions for being a bigoted Jew hating bully. Apparently, they want to protect his hate group too, which is why they aren’t revealing that he’s the head of SJP. “

    • Megan Tallmer

      In my opinion, his comment and lame apology should be brought to the attention of any State or Federal court to which he seeks admission. In addition to its being grossly anti-Semitic, his comment was wholly unprofessional. In my opinion, his conduct has a bearing on his character and fitness to practice law.

    • Great get this POS expelled and let him be a lesson to the other lie-berals and their arab cronies

      Great get this POS expelled and let him be a lesson to the other lie-berals and their arab cronies

    • Lucifer69

      Expel the f€£!?g goat. He should never find a job except toilet cleaning

    • Larry Robins

      Job, you are the best. If a Muslim, Black or Gay was attacked, it would have been immediate expulsion. But it seems ok to curse and insult our Jewish people. How frustrating.

    • Thank you for coming forward with this information. This individual does not deserve to work as a lawyer. How sad that he has stooped so low.

    • Esther

      Can you get hold of his email address for people to send him their protests?

  • John

    The individual who made this comment got into Harvard Law School? (S)he’s going to be a lawyer? We’re in deep, deep, trouble.

    • Larry Robins

      The vermin’s name, according to, is Husam El-Coolaq, a graduate of UC Berkeley (any wonder?) and a member of the Harvard Law Justice for Palestinians group.

  • Daphna Shahar

    Good for Martha Minow that values have an important place in Harvard as it should be in any institute of higher learning. Her swift reaction to the offender sends the right message ! Much respect to this lady.

  • Pete Ross

    “What’s that smell?”

  • Richard Moran

    May I be so bold as to ask why the identity of the student leader who made this statement is being kept confidential? When one makes an offensive statement such as this at a public form, and when one is a leader of a student group, it would seem appropriate to make this person’s name public, would it not? Why is this person being “protected” from his/her actions?

    • Larry Robins

      The vermin’s name, according to, is Husam El-Coolaq, a graduate of UC Berkeley (any wonder?) and a member of the Harvard Law Justice for Palestinians group.

  • Mitch

    Since Harvard is working diligently to protect this Anti-Semite’s identify, please spread his name: Husam El-Qoulaq. Purveyors of hate should not be shielded.

    • Thank you! I appreciate your honesty and hope his name is spread throughout the campus as an anti-semite!

  • Sam Harris

    He should be given only the opportunity to leave the school upright!

  • Post

    His name is Husam El-Coolaq. Harvard is trying to conceal his ID. He is the leader of Harvard Law’s Justice for Palestine chapter

  • Raz

    This incident highlights the ways in which the new Anti-Semitism is not new at all. The “apology” comes across as weak, weaselly and insincere. I would love to have a linguistics expert analyze and deconstruct it, but not one from Harvard.
    Shalom from Canada.

  • The students name is Husam El-Coolaq .

    • Shami

      Well he gave her what she deserves.

  • Robert Davis

    This is the kind of insult one gets when Israel is weak and more weakend by leftwing fools such as tsipi(pi) livni. That should serve her as a lesson for her perpetual anti Israel efforts.livni should STOP all political activity since her actions are so negative and obnoxious. Since she loves money why not pay her for staying home and shut up?

    • joe quellman

      101% spot on!

  • Arthur M. Alex, P.D.

    This “students” apology is as shallow as it is virulently anti-semitic.

    It is clear to me, that his/her words were meant to save his alleged scholastic career!

    Alinsky tactics to first freeze then marginalize individuals, and groups appear to be taking a strong hold in institutions such as Harvard, Yale, and other once highly esteemed halls of education.

    Anti-semitism is spreading throughout many institutions of higher learning in the United States, and around the world, as a way of life instead of creating an environment of tolerance, and understanding, among and between cultures.

    Let there be no doubt that Harvard was a bastion an institution where our youth were given the opportunity to develop their greatest potential only to have fallen in to the abyss of intolerance of political correctness.

    We of the Jewish faith, and culture will never retreat from such obscenities.

    Our humanity, sensitivities, and global accomplishments will continue in spite of individuals, groups, governments, and nations who attempt to silence us!

  • Dave

    It’s his words that stink

  • Reform School

    One must wonder where her concern is regarding another of her students’ chronic harassment of Bibi Livni’s rival. The silence is deafening.

  • Jonas

    Tsipi should have answered “if you close your mouth you wouldn’t smell the noisome.

  • Felicity

    Isn’t it sad to think that once upon a time ‘Mea culpa’ actually meant mea culpa. These days so few apologies feature the words ‘I was wrong’ or ‘I erred’. No, it’s always ‘I’m sorry if YOU were offended, BUT…’. Semantic games just like the semantic game of ‘Zionists not all Jews’. Oh, right, so you only have a problem with Jews holding an opinion contrary to yours. Can anyone name any other ethnic or religious group which is not permitted to hold any opinion they so wish (within the bounds of the law)? The proposition that Jews are not allowed to be Zionists, and that if they are then they are ‘valid’ targets, IS anti-semitic. End of. Word games won’t change what YOU are – a jew-hating, jew-baiting drop-kick who has no place in civilised discourse. And if my words offend you, NOT SORRY


    No apology of any substance is of any value if not addressed to the individual to whom offensive remarks were addressed. In this case, the offender needs to publicly address Tsipy Livni and apologize. However well written, statements addressed to students, JEWISH or otherwise, offering apologies allows the offender to repair relationships with fellow students but avoiding an apology directed at Tsipy Livni is a blatant acknowledgment that no remorse or recognition of wrong doing truly exists.

  • Dave

    The student’s name is Husam El-Quolaq

  • nat cheiman

    muslims are a problem. Trump will sort that out

  • stevenl

    That student should be expelled otherwise the conduct is
    being condone. In this insane world sanction and not words are the appropriate move.

  • Otto Schiff

    Jewish or not, to call a public speaker “smelly” is totally out
    of line. This person needs to have his head and nose examined.

  • P.R

    An apology, particularly when it comes under the duress of public disapproval, and , by it’s wording , still avoids full responsibility, is more of an insult than an apology. Surely public hate speech is grounds for dismissal? Again , the apology was as weak as the reaction it invoked.

  • joe quellman

    want to earn the adulations describing the self appointed characteristics of this newspaper, then name the name and allow the grounded, refined profiling of your readership determine the motivation for such an offensive comment. otherwise this example of reporting remains as preditably indistinguished as the rest.

  • Lia

    I don’t see how a law student could not have known that the comment/question was grossly offensive. Hos old is this student? The comment is somewhat below Grade 1 level. Now the apology should be honoured, but this student needs to be watched and listened to.

  • Arik

    This Arab’s slash Animal(sorry animals) so called apology is just “word play” to avoid serious problems with his HLS Diploma. I think his name should be widely publicize so he can easily find job with any Neo-Nazi’s, KKK, Farrakhan, and any other Anti-Semite. He should not, though, get HLS Diploma or any diploma for that matter.

  • Mary

    Harvard Law School (HLS) is allowing this student to continue and graduate, thereby condoning him, in the future, asking any client, judge, attorney, Latino, African-American, Asian, Jew, Christian, etc., why he or she is “smelly”.
    This weakens the image of Harvard Law School. Do all HLS students, during job interviews, have to be questioned as to whether they ask other people why they are smelly?
    This student clearly should be expelled. He is not fit to work as an attorney, or to be associated with the once great Harvard Law School.

  • Ian Bersten

    We live in the age of hypocrisy.

  • david shayne

    How odd that the entire focus of the comment is surrounding its alleged anti-Jewish nature, including the “apology” of the troglodyte who said it. If Livni were not Jewish, the comment would have been equally as offensive and utterly disgusting and inappropriate, not to mention juvenile and pathetic. That student should be expelled or at least severely and publicly sanctioned and certainly identified. “I wasn’t trying to be anti-Jewish” is no apology at all and no law school, let alone Harvard, should allow such debased individuals to continue to study in that institution. I shudder to think what kind of lawyer he would make.

    • Charlie in NY

      Think of it this way. If a student, out of the blue, asked a panelist if she prefers her fried chicken with watermelon, wouldn’t the level of outrage would depend on whether the panelist was white or black? Here the “smelly Jew” is a medieval antisemitic trope, so asking a Jew why she smells is qualitatively different from asking a white person.
      Bear in mind, of course, that Abbas had recently warned of Jews desecrating the al-Aqsa mosque with their “smelly feet.” Perhaps this guy was emboldened by the lack of reaction to his remarks and figured it was now part of the ugly anti-Jewish mainstream discourse.

  • Larry D Nachman

    Why are you protecting the anonymity of this student.
    The remark was made in a public place. It obviously received public attention. I have no reason to believe that the student did anything to conceal his identity. Surely Lea Speyer knew or could find out the name. (There must be some civilized students who attended the event who would be happy to whisper a name in Ms. Speyer’s ear.) And surely fellow students now and potential employers in the future would find the information useful.

  • david freilich

    Expulsion of this student would be a good start.

  • Carol Ann

    So if someone would say this to a black speaker, there would be calls for sensitivity training, etc. Where are such demands for those who spew Antisemitic racism?

    This student, who Harvard has the temerity to not even name, (you can bet s/he would be if s/he were a Jew) gets away with possibly the stupidest, most dishonest, letter that a public grade school student would be ashamed to make, let alone be allowed to get away with.

    Interesting that Sahand Moarefy, the president of the Middle East Law Students Association at HLS shows more respect than the trash Harvard seems to be grinding out at an ever increasing pace.

    We are told that admissions to Harvard and other Ivy League schools will not be based on academic excellence but on “activism”, and we can safely assume that this is the left-wing type as in Anti-Semitism. I’m not sure what parents paying for educations at these institutions are quite worth what they once were.

  • enufizenuf

    If Harvard Law School had any guts whatsoever they would have expelled the student permanently. If Harvard Law students had any guts they would have pulverized the creep.

  • Gregg Solomon

    “I am absolutely horrified that some readers have been led to believe that I would ever say such a thing”

    The dean seems to think this person said it.

    Would love to hear what they say to “Give me an opportunity to make it right.

  • rabbi yakov lazaros

    His name is Husam El-Quleck an Arab and leader of “Justice for Palestine” at Harvard.

  • Mike

    Of course it was an anti-Semitic statement and he loved the attention and he even loved being able to say “smelly Jew” in his apology. If you brainiacs think otherwise, you are fools.

    Did anyone kick his fucjibf ass?!? That’s ALL I want to know.

  • Scott Rose

    The “apology” is garbage.

  • Who is the Harvard student

    Who is the Harvard student

  • Jay Lavine

    The best response to that sort of comment, turning around Samuel Johnson’s famous words, would be “Yes, I smell but you stink.”