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A Harvard Professor Received An Anti-Semitic Note That Said "Drain The Swamp"

Sanford Levinson, a constitutional law scholar, received a letter that called him a "kike" and said, "We're gonna drain the swamp at Harvard Law."

Posted on November 23, 2016, at 1:50 p.m. ET

Sanford Levinson, a renowned legal scholar and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, on Monday received an anti-Semitic letter, which called him a "kike" and said, "We're gonna drain the swamp at Harvard Law."

Christina Murrey

Levinson, a professor at the University of Texas Law School who is known for his writings on Constitutional law, told BuzzFeed News that the letter appeared to be mailed from Great Britain to his office at Harvard Law School where he has been a visiting faculty member for years. The letter addressed Levinson as "Sandy."

Levinson said that he has previously received his fair share of "antagonistic and nasty" mail because of his blogs and op-eds, especially those in which he criticized Donald Trump.

"But this is just another level," said Levinson, who is a vocal Trump critic. "This kind of raw anti-Semitism."

The note read, "You just got your ass kicked kike." It ended with "Juden Raus" a German phrase that translates to "Jews out," referring to the name of an infamous Nazi-era board game with the theme of deporting German Jews.


The anti-Semitic note was shared on social media by his wife, Cynthia Levinson, who wrote, "This has never happened before in my lifetime."

In a following Facebook post, she wrote, "We are fine, just angry, like you. The message was not personal. It targeted a minority group and, therefore, all minority groups. We support each other by exposing and condemning the venom."

"It is Trump who opened the gates for this kind of language in public that hasn't been seen in a while," Professor Levinson said.


When he first saw the note, Levinson said he felt "dismay" and found it "disturbing," but also "fundamentally bizarre" because it appeared to have been mailed to him from the UK.

While there was no direct evidence linking the note to a Trump supporter, Levinson said there was "certainly a correlation" as Trump had reached out "more directly and politically to the kind of nationalist sentiment in Europe." Levinson highlighted Trump's suggestion that the British government appoint Nigel Farage, the controversial leader of UK's anti-immigrant UKIP party, as ambassador to the US.

He said that the use of "Juden Raus" was "interesting in its use of German and the conscious imitation of Naziism."

Levinson said that he did not feel threatened by the note, which he reported to the Harvard Law School; the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is tracking hate crimes since the election; and the Anti-Defamation League. He said that he had spoken to a Harvard police officer on Monday.

"The people I really fear for are immigrants in the US, particularly Muslims," Levinson said. "They're the people, I think, who have a legitimate reason to feel genuinely threatened and scared."

Harvard Law School did not immediately return BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.