Jewish Harvard Club member assaulted during pro-Palestinian lecture, lawsuit says

Vanesa Levine
A Jewish member of the Harvard Club claims she was assaulted by a professor during a pro-Palestinian lecture at the swanky venue, and then was booted by the Ivy League institution.

Vanesa Levine is suing to get reinstated to the prestigious Midtown club, whose notable present and past members include Michael Bloomberg, John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Levine, 28, a marketing manager in Brooklyn, said she was a newly minted member of the 154-year old club when she and her mom attended a February 2019 lecture called, “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine” by Rashid Khalidi, a former press officer for the Palestinian Liberation Organization.


She said she “peacefully” asked during a question-and-answer session how Mideast peace could be achieved if Palestinians are taught “to support terrorism against Jews and Israelis.”

Faris Mousa Saah
The audience erupted in “mob-like” fury at her query, according to the lawsuit.

Harvard finance professor Faris Mousa Saah, 53, called her a whore in Arabic and grabbed her by the arm, bruising it as he tried to take the microphone, according to court papers.

“I’ve been to hell and back ever since the Harvard Club incident,” Levine told The Post.

Though she was eventually able to ask her questions, Levine and her mom, who was born and raised in Israel, were asked by security to leave — with angry audience members following them into the hall, photographing her and chanting, “We’re going to get you expelled,” she charges.

Once on the sidewalk, Levine filmed herself talking about the incident and posted it to Facebook, where the video was viewed more than 50,000 times.

Saah later claimed he had feared Levine would hurt Khalidi and that she had been “aggressively and maniacally” dancing around with the microphone, according to court papers.

In July, the Harvard Club’s board of trustees demanded Levine take down the Facebook video, but she refused. The board, led by prestigious attorney Stephen Younger, who served on transition teams for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, then booted Levine after a hearing in which they allegedly dismissed her assault claim, even ignoring an internal report from club security confirming Levine’s version of events, she said in court papers.

The hearing was a “kangaroo court,” in which the club barred Levine from having a lawyer and refused to give her the names of witnesses, said her lawyer, Jeffrey K. Levine.

“It’s Las Vegas,” he said. “Anything that goes on inside those four walls stays inside those four walls.”

“It was beyond comprehension that she would be expelled. She didn’t touch anybody. She didn’t slander anybody,” said the lawyer, who is not related to Vanesa.

Levine is seeking unspecified damages and reinstatement to the club.

“I don’t remember having been at the lecture,” Saah told The Post. “There’s not a single word of accuracy in any of that,” he said of Levine’s charges.

A spokeswoman for the Harvard Club claimed Levine “disrupted a Club program. She was subsequently removed from membership in accordance with the Club’s bylaws.”

Source: NYpost