Clarifying Her Position


Regarding the article by Hannah Dreyfus, “Harassment Allegations Mount Against Leading Jewish Sociologist” (posted on The Jewish Week website July 19 and on Page 1 this issue), it is extremely important to clarify misrepresentations of my position.

First and most important, let me state for the record I believe that all forms of sexual harassment are unacceptable, regardless of their nature.

Second, I was asked to comment on the case by Ms. Dreyfus when she had extensive information but she knew I lacked critical information about the case. Our “interview” was conducted entirely in email. In my previous interviews with many Jewish Week reporters over decades, reporters have been forthright with me, and I have always been open and generous with my responses. I am sad and disappointed at my experience regarding this article.

Third, I did not at any time in my email interview mention the #MeToo movement, and yet Ms. Dreyfus characterized my comments as “referring to the global #MeToo movement.”

In point of fact, I believe that the #MeToo movement is an important revolution which is already accomplishing critical goals and changing the culture in positive ways. I hope that as American and American Jewish societies move forward, we will absorb the lessons of the #MeToo movement to create safer professional environments in academia and beyond.

Newton, Mass.

Sylvia Barack Fishman Sylvia Barack Fishman is Editor, HBI (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute) Series on Gender and Jewish Women and Emerita Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Brandeis University