Carter’s long-awaited talk at Brandeis didn’t result in the end of Western civilization, as many predicted, but instead two standing ovations at the beginning and end of his talk. The Boston Globe’s Eileen McNamara wrote
It is a delicate balance for the academy, trying to promote civility without stifling speech. Until President Jimmy Carter’s actual appearance at Brandeis yesterday, I had been prepared to write that for the second time in a year, the university had leaned too far in the wrong direction.
But something happened on the way to that column: Events proved me wrong.
On the other hand, in the same issue, Globe columnist Alex Beam takes on the columns of Shulamit Reinharz, wife of Brandeis’ president, and director of Brandeis’ Women’s Studies Research Center. In one piece, she mocks Carter’s Christianty, and in another, she encourages people to sue “anti-Semitic Jews.” Beam writes:
Just prior to the Carter column, Reinharz attacked “anti-Semitic Jews,” including poet Adrienne Rich, Noam Chomsky, Tony Kushner (recipient of an honorary degree from Brandeis, by the way), and Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. “Most would say that they are simply anti-Zionist, not anti-Semites,” Reinharz writes. “But I disagree, because in a world where there is only one Jewish state, to oppose it vehemently is to endanger Jews.” Reinharz goes on to say, “Let all Jews who are truly progressive, liberal, not self-hating, and not anti-Zionist develop a clear set of ideas to address these individuals specifically. Address the books and lecture head on. . . . Sue for libel.”