Harvard takes another big blow, Israeli billionaire and wife resign from executive board

Harvard University keeps taking Ls in the wake of Hamas’ terror attack in Israel, with the latest L being a particularly big one.

This time Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer and his wife have resigned from the executive board of Harvard’s Kennedy School to protest Harvard president Claudine Gay’s late and weak response to her students’ blatant anti-Semitism.

They specifically said they resigned “in protest of the shocking and insensitive response by the president of the university, who did not condemn the letter by student organizations who blamed Israel for the massacres,” according to the New York Post.

They also released a statement slamming the university’s “lax statements”:

“Our decision has been precipitated by the lack of clear evidence of support from the University’s leadership for the people of Israel following the tragic events of the past week, coupled with their apparent unwillingness to recognize Hamas for what it is, a terrorist organization,” the Ofers added in a statement to CNN.

As previously reported, after the terror attack last Saturday, several student organizations at Harvard signed a letter blaming the terror attack on Israel.

The letter prompted massive backlash, to which Gay responded with a lukewarm, belated statement on Tuesday condemning the terror attack but not condemning the student organizations that had spoken out against Israel.

“As the events of recent days continue to reverberate, let there be no doubt that I condemn the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one’s individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region,” the statement reads.

“Let me also state, on this matter as on others, that while our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership. We will all be well served in such a difficult moment by rhetoric that aims to illuminate and not inflame. And I appeal to all of us in this community of learning to keep this in mind as our conversations continue,” it continues.

Gay doubled down on Thursday, saying in a video statement that she forcefully condemns the “barbaric atrocities perpetrated by Hamas” but refusing to name and punish the students who’d signed the anti-Israel letter.

“People have asked me where we stand. So let me be clear. Our university rejects terrorism. That includes the barbaric atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. Our university rejects hate. Hate of Jews. Hate of Muslims. Hate of any group of people based on their faith, their national origin, or any aspect of their identity. Our University rejects the harassment or intimidation of individuals based on their beliefs,” she said.

She added that Harvard “embraces a commitment to free expression” that “extends even to views that many of us find objectionable, even outrageous.”

She also said that the university doesn’t “punish or sanction” students just for expressing controversial viewpoints.

“We can issue public pronouncements, declaring the rightness of our own points of view and vilify those who disagree. Or we can choose to talk and to listen with care and humility, to seek deeper understanding and to meet one another with compassion. We can inflame an already volatile situation on our campus. Or we can focus our attention where it belongs on the unfolding tragedy thousands of miles away,” she said.

“We can ask ourselves how, as human beings, we can be helpful to people who are desperately trying to protect themselves and their families. People who are fighting to survive,” she added.

Listen:

Ofer and his wife’s resignation is one of many Ls that Harvard has taken since the controversy erupted.

For example, a number of billionaire investors and company owners have called for Harvard to release the names of all students who signed the letter so that they’ll know who not to hire in the future.

“If, in fact, their members support the letter they have released, the names of the signatories should be made public so their views are publicly known,” one such billionaire, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, wrote on X.

“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,” he added.

Vivek Saxena

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