Harvard antisemitism backlash escalates as more than 1,600 Jewish alumni threaten to withdraw donations after billionaire Bill Ackman and Victoria’s Secret boss Leslie Wexner called out pro-Palestine protests
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Harvard University’s antisemitism backlash has escalated as more than 1,600 Jewish alumni have threatened to withdraw donations. 

This news comes after billionaire Bill Ackman and Victoria’s Secret boss Leslie Wexner called out the pro-Palestine protests that have broken out on the prestigious campus. 

Both Ackman and Wexner have said that the university will soon face a ‘donor exodus’ if Harvard doesn’t take action. 

The largest community of alumni, who also have billionaire status have warned that they too will withdraw their donations if nothing is done in response to the conflict. 

More than 1,600 Jewish alumni have threatened to withdraw donations to Harvard University in response to the pro-Palestine protests across the campus

More than 1,600 Jewish alumni have threatened to withdraw donations to Harvard University in response to the pro-Palestine protests across the campus 

Bill Ackman (pictured), the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management has also spoken out and pulled his donations to his Alma mater

Bill Ackman (pictured), the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management has also spoken out and pulled his donations to his Alma mater

Leslie Wexner (pictured), the former CEO of L Brands recently pulled the Wexner Foundation's funding for the college that supported Israel professionals to purse a one-year degree from the Harvard Kennedy School

Leslie Wexner (pictured), the former CEO of L Brands recently pulled the Wexner Foundation’s funding for the college that supported Israel professionals to purse a one-year degree from the Harvard Kennedy School

In a letter written by the Harvard College Jewish Alumni Association to the President and Dean of the university, members said: ‘We never thought that, at Harvard College, we would have to argue the point that terrorism against civilians demands immediate and unequivocal condemnation.’

‘We never thought we would have to argue for recognition of our own humanity,’ the letter continued. 

The association was formed just last month in response to the October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas and is the first Jewish alumni association in the history of the university. 

According to CNN, the group has called for Harvard to recognize their association, share their plans to ensure the protection of Jewish students across campus and to officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembered Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. 

Rebecca Claire Brookes, a co-founder of the association said: ‘Yes, some of them are very influential donors and some of them are sort of more normal-sized donors. But we’re speaking in one unified voice in response to this moment.’ 

The Wexner Foundation issued a letter to the Harvard Board of Overseers on October 16 and informed that their ‘financial and programmatic relationship’ has ended with the university. 

The foundations funds supported up to ten public and government professionals from Israel each year to purse a one-year degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. 

Leslie Wexner, who has previously ranked on Harvard’s Business Review Top 100 Best Performing CEOs is of Russian-Jewish decent. 

Pro-Palestine protestors at Harvard hang up a sign that reads 'Stop the genocide in Gaza'

Pro-Palestine protestors at Harvard hang up a sign that reads ‘Stop the genocide in Gaza’ 

Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee set up posters with the message 'Free Palestine'

The group said they were forced to cancel a vigil

Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee set up posters with the message ‘Free Palestine.’ The student group claimed to have received racist death threats in the wake of their statement

Leslie Wexner is the former CEO of L Brands which included Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch and Express. 

He previously ranked on Harvard’s Business Review Top 100 Best Performing CEOs and is of Russian and Jewish decent.  

Wexner’s donations to the college has spanned over decades and a building at the Kennedey School is named after him. 

Bill Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management has also spoken out and called out his Alma mater. 

In recent news, Ackman headed a movement to not hire Harvard students who blamed Israel for Hamas terror attack. 

Now, over a dozen other CEOs have joined the call to blacklist students, including Chief Executive Officers from EasyHealth, Belong, FabFitFun, Inspired, DoveHill. 

Ackman said: ‘One should not be able to hide behind a corporate shield when issuing statements supporting the actions of terrorists, who, we now learn, have beheaded babies, among other inconceivably despicable acts.’

In response to his statement Sweetgreen’s CEO, Jonathan Neman said: ‘I would like to know so I know never to hire these people.’

David Duel, CEO of healthcare services organization EasyHealth replied to Neman’s response with, ‘Same.’

Ale Resnik, the CEO of rental housing startup Belong replied to Ackman’s post, ‘Share the list, please. We’ll stay away.’

Pro-Palestine protesters flood the Harvard University campus on October, 14

Pro-Palestine protesters flood the Harvard University campus on October, 14 

Nearly 100 incidents of anti-Semitic violence or intimidation have been recorded at US colleges and universities since the Hamas attacks and in the ensuing conflict

Nearly 100 incidents of anti-Semitic violence or intimidation have been recorded at US colleges and universities since the Hamas attacks and in the ensuing conflict 

Tech investor Martin Varsavsky also chimed in: ‘Share the list please.’

‘This is a must,’ comment Inspired CEO Stephen Ready. Michael Broukhim, CEO of FabFitFun, said, ‘We are in as well.’

Michael McQuaid, the head of DeFi operations at blockchain company Bloq said: ‘I completely agree, and have been wondering the same the last couple of days if/when the names of these students would come out.’

And CEO of DoveHill Jake Wurzak simply wrote, ‘I second this.’

Ackman graduated from Harvard University magma cum laude with degree in social studies in 1988 and is also of Jewish decent. 

The President of the university, Claudine Gray wrote a letter to the entire Harvard community and addressed the tensions on Thursday. 

‘Harvard rejects all forms of hate, and we are committed to addressing them.’ 

‘Let me reiterate what I and other Harvard leaders have said previously: Antisemitism has no place at Harvard,’ she said. 

Philanthropy at the private Ivy League research university is the longest contributor to the school’s revenue as it accounts for 45 percent of the school’s $5.8billion in income last year. 

The two female students from NYU are seen taking down kidnapped posters of Israeli children on October 16

The two female students from NYU are seen taking down kidnapped posters of Israeli children on October 16  

The flyers were found in the trash on campus after the students fled

The flyers were found in the trash on campus after the students fled 

Small donations from alumni have become a vital source of revenue for universities everywhere, according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. 

They said that approximately 95 percent of donations received by universities in 2022 were smaller than $5,000. 

Universities all across the US have made headlines since the wake of the Israel-Hamas war that has continued on since early October. 

Pro-Palestine NYU students have also protested and been caught tearing down posters of Israeli children that were kidnapped by Hamas. 

Jewish students also had to take refuge in a library at Copper Union, a private college in New York when pro-Palestine protestors pounded on the door. 



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