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April 22, 2016 11:30 am

BDS Activist Named as Harvard Law Student Behind ‘Smelly’ Remark Directed at Visiting Israeli Politician

avatar by Lea Speyer

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HLS student Husam El-Qoulaq. Photo: LinkedIn.

HLS student Husam El-Qoulaq. Photo: LinkedIn.

The identity of the Harvard Law School (HLS) student who publicly insulted a visiting Israeli politician by asking why she was “so smelly” has been revealed.

Husam El-Qoulaq, a third-year law student and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activist, has been named by various online sources as the audience member who asked former Israeli foreign minister and current member of Knesset Tzipi Livni an offensive question about her body odor.

At a public forum last week on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations — attended by several hundred people — El-Qoulaq said, “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.”  

A quick online search shows El-Qoulaq is affiliated with the Harvard Arab Student Association and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — an anti-Israel organization that routinely accuses the Jewish state of ethnic cleansing and war crimes against Palestinians. Harvard’s SJP chapter holds routine anti-Israel events, including annual Israeli Apartheid Week activities. Photos on the group’s Facebook page show MK Haneen Zoabi — who participated in the controversial “Free Gaza” flotilla in 2010, and who has compared Israel to Nazis — was hosted by the student organization in April.

A source at HLS told The Algemeiner that school officials attempted to keep El-Qoulaq’s name out of the public eye. The comments section in an article about the incident that appeared in The Harvard Law Record was closed after several responders identified El-Qoulaq by name. A video of the full forum published by HLS edited out the “smelly” incident. Efforts to keep El-Qoulaq’s identity secret are reportedly related to his efforts at securing a job post-graduation.

Screenshot of Husam El-Qoulaq's profile on a Harvard student organization website prior to being deleted. Photo: Screenshot.

Screenshot of Husam El-Qoulaq’s profile on a Harvard student organization website prior to being deleted. Photo: Screenshot.

Almost all traces of El-Qoulaq’s online identity have been erased, including the removal of his Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Angel accounts. In October 2015, El-Qoulaq helped organize an event titled, “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech.” According to Canary Mission — an organization that documents and combats antisemitism on campus — following the incident, the Facebook page for the event removed El-Qoulaq’s name as an organizer. An April 2016 event, “Using Water As A Weapon: How Israel Uses Water to Oppress Palestinians,” also removed mention of El-Qoulaq and changed its title to “Student Orgs Event.” In September 2015, regarding a Harvard event featuring former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, El-Qoulaq posted on Facebook, “Will tomatoes be allowed inside the venue?”

El-Qoulaq anonymously issued a public apology several days after the Livni incident, saying he hadn’t meant to “invoke a hateful stereotype.” As reported by The Algemeiner, the dean of HLS, Martha Minow, issued a public condemnation of the incident via a campus email without referring to El-Qoulaq by name.

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,” she wrote. “It was an embarrassment to this institution and an assault upon the values we seek to uphold.”

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  • AQ Khan

    Would he dare make the same remark about an Afro-American? What would be his fate at HLS had he made that remark about an Afro-American?

  • Ruth Rachel


    While I do not deny Mr. El-Qoulaq the right to his own opinion in respect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from an Harvard Law School student I would expect (1) decorum and respect, and (2) a high level of sophistication and argument in the expression of any challenge presented to any person participating in any panel discussion.

    Mr. El-Qoulaq fell short on both counts, slipping ~ intentionally or unintentionally ~ into anti-semitic rhetoric.

    HLS has a very broad policy in respect of protecting free speech, including speech which one might consider to be “hate speech” (unless one ruffles the feathers of the institution, itself)…

    Here, Mr. El-Qoulaq has not posed any challenge to Harvard Law School; he has rather attacked Ms. Livni. He will graduate (perhaps, with an “off-the-record” slap on the wrist). Nevertheless, I pray that the outcry in response to his choice of words encourages him to reconsider his chosen means of pursuing “justice” in respect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as he perceives it…

    • Ruth Rachel

      (Mind you, the very same broad free speech policy applies to Jewish Harvard Law School students who make disparaging remarks which might be considered as “hate speech” to or about Muslim people…)

  • George Weinstock

    He got exactly what he wanted – to feed the morons of the world his diet of filth and stupidity. He got his 3 minutes of fame and an opportunity to show his full ignorance and barbaric education.

  • Arlene Seidel Abrams

    What he said is not what we refer to as ‘free Speech’….it is an uncivilized verbal attack that doesn’t belong in a civilized nation. The ugliness and inappropriateness is characteristic of these uncivilized barbaric people lacking in any civilized thinking or action. He should be expelled because his thinking does not belong in this society…let him be educated among his own…………if you consider that an education.

  • Jane

    Nothing about any BDS member would surprise me. They will do anything and say anything, untrue, inappropriate, or negatively provocative. And yet these jerks flourish. Can you imagine if a white student made simulate remarks to a non-white guest speaker?

  • miriam rosenman

    Although he was born and raised in San Diego, his mentality
    is not American but that of an arab muslim.
    He unwittingly showed his true colors with his remark
    to Tzipi Livni.

  • Stella schindler

    El-Qoulaq, El-Qoulak
    Repeat his name over and over. Craven behavior on part of school.

  • Daniel Moshe Johnson

    Shalom Aleichem

    Harvard has overrated as if it’s a free thinking school of eternal wisdom, where the true purpose of life duration align with final destination. It’s not a place where soul obtaining is encouraged nor is it a place where the development of human compassion is taught by those who are humble, non arrogant or totally legit themselves as examples of the perfect human being.

    Look at the world as the ivy leagues exist, the cliches are a continuous cycle of harboring power through closed circles where these so called elite pass on capital power to those who continously add no remedy to world issues.
    So why are we so alarmed at the comment of an arrogant, disturbed and foul mouth individual who like others, hate Jews and the land of Israel.

    It’s ironic but I hope will be education for the Livni, as she has always been a sort of advocate for the refugees identified as “palestinians” And what better setting than an environment where cliches of capitol send there children and the so called wisest of the world teach; these remarks in this ivy league platform shows that this student represents a bigger issue that has not produced one strong example of the perfect human being that can offer light to any world issue; what we do have is the continuing cycle of deception that promotes wealth as wisdom and success through exploitation and manipulation of the minds of the masses who have not been privileged or fortunate enough to have righteous life coaches who are experts into the eternal mysteries.


    Daniel Moshe Johnson

  • Yehuda

    What I do not understand is why this prestigious university did not expel this “student”. Do they really mean to give him a degree?

  • Ralph

    He’s a Muslim, so why would this shock or surprise anyone?

    • ANetliner

      Don’t tar all Muslims by associating them with El-Qoulaq’s ludicrous remarks. That ‘s as bad as El-Qoulaq’s offense.

    • ANetliner

      Husam El-Qoulaq has disgraced himself and Harvard Law School. His remarks about Tzipi Livni are thoughtless, tasteless, juvenile and inappropriate in a university or any other public setting.

      I don’t know if El-Qoulaq intended to invoke an anti-Semitic insult, but I do know that he has damaged his reputation and the Palestinian cause that he professes to uphold. It is certainly suspicious that El-Qoulaq is affiliated with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the BDS movement, both of which appear to condone anti-Semitism.

      I find El-Qoulaq’s apology insufficient. His remarks are highly offensive whether or not he intended them to be anti-Semitic.

      How many thoughtful, articulate and mature candidates were turned away from Harvard Law School so that El-Qoulaq might attend? Those who wonder about the fallibility of elite university admissions need look no further.

  • A Sander

    This idiot is not fit to be a student at such a prestigious college. He cannot claim freedom of speech on this one, he is disgusting and just plain abusive. He should be expelled immediately and if he is not a US citizen deported preferably to Raqqa.

  • And he wants to practice law??? What law? He should be expelled, promptly.He’s offensive. At least provide him with some reading material with historical accuracy. And require he study the history of the region from ancient Hellenic times to the present. Also, require him to learn what an apartheid state really is. Israel doesn’t resemble Apartheid.

  • Peter Joffe

    This is verbal terrorism so it makes me wonder how long it will be before Husam El-Qoulaq will turn to violent terrorism? I hope that when he does it is with a suicide belt so that we can be rid of this two faced savage.

  • oh well his inbreeding just showed, no matter how you educate a rat they’re always be rats, to the sewers this idiot lowlife mental case belongs.

  • enufizenuf

    Throw him out of the school or risk thousands of alumni discontinuing their annual donations.

  • Lynne T

    He’s part of a clique of “intersectionalists” at work at hijacking HLS, and just so clever as to have screwed himself out of any truly good articling offers:

  • ESLombard

    It might be significant that the 1948 Palestinian refugees, far fewer in number, didn’t evoke the same compassionate European responses as with the current Syrian refugees.
    Wouldn’t it have been more humane and expeditious had the current generous European hosts invested in infrastructure elsewhere in the vast Arab world?
    Meanwhile what compassionate acts can the Europeans offer to the Palestinian refugees? Just why the difference?
    Perhaps Russia could have a Mediterranean sea base in Syria just like the US has in Israel.

    • Barry Appleby

      I belive that Russia already has access to a port in Syria, something that were given in exchange for all the
      weapons that they gave to the Syrian regime, which it then used to murder its citizens (the ones who had not yet been tortured to death by its secret police).

  • When will Klal Yisroel be allowed to visit Jordan, Syria and Lebanon???

    On another topic

    When will Klal Yisroel be allowed to visit Jordan, Syria and Lebanon