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Feeding the Beast – How Jewish Billionaires Fund US Universities that Propound Anti-Israel Theories

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Edited by: TJVNews.com

Despite the financial market’s turmoil, the philanthropic spirit in the world of higher education remains strong. Wealthy donors continued to pledge significant gifts to colleges and universities throughout 2022.

Among wealthy benefactors to universities whose academic agenda it is to create a new generation of woke, progressive, vehemently anti-Israel activists who will shape the future of US policy towards Israel are many Jewish millionaires and billionaires.

As the Jewish Voice recently reported, a recent joint statement by 34 Harvard student organizations expressing support for Palestine and placing blame on Israel following the Hamas attack has ignited controversy and raised questions about the boundaries of academic discourse, according to a report on Tuesday on the townhall.com web site.

The statement, which places blame for the ongoing violence in the region squarely on Israel, has polarized the Harvard community and sparked debates over free speech, the responsibility of student organizations, and the complexities of the Israel-Palestine conflict, as was reported on the townhall.com web site.

Billionaire hedge fund titan, Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital is an alumnus of Harvard University and has been quite vocal in condemning the frightening escalation of anti-Semitism on campus and the deafening silence of the Harvard administration. Since the issue was raised by Ackman, a significant number of Jewish donors to Harvard have announced that they will pause their contributions to the prominent Ivy League institution of higher learning. Photo Credit: AP

Key Points from the Joint Statement:

The student organizations claim that Israel, particularly its “apartheid regime,” bears full responsibility for the violence unfolding in the region.

The statement accuses Israel of structuring “every aspect of Palestinian existence for 75 years.”

Townhall.com reported that the signatories expressed their solidarity with Palestine and Hamas, despite reports of brutality by the latter, including the rape of Israeli women and the circulation of disturbing videos on social media.

Key Figures in the Controversy:

Hussain Awan ‘25 and Reema Doleh ‘25 serve as co-presidents of the Harvard Muslim Law School Association. Awan worked as a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Pakistan, while Doleh interned with Legal Services NYC, as was indicated in the Townhall.com report.

Ariq Hatibie ‘24 is an executive board member of the association and is currently the Editor in Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. Townhall.com reported that he worked as a summer associate at White & Case LLP and as a legal intern for TRIAL International, a legal group that fights against international crimes and supports victims in their quest for justice.

Billionaire Victoria’s Secret founder Leslie Wexner has officially cut all ties and financial support to Harvard in a blistering letter after Harvard’s “dismal failure” condemning the Hamas terror attacks. Photo Credit: X.com

Additionally, Hatibie works as a research assistant for Harvard Law Professor Salma Waheedi. Townhall.com reported that in 2022, Waheedi signed a letter with Harvard faculty expressing “solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and self-determination.”

In the letter, Waheedi and her colleagues claim “Unwavering US financial, military, and political support has fueled an apartheid system that institutionalizes the domination and repression of Palestinians,” as was noted in the Townhall.com report.

Waheedi currently teaches a course on “Law, Human Rights, and Social Justice in Israel-Palestine.”

Saeed Ahmad ‘24, an executive board member, worked as a Research Assistant to Professor Intisar Rabb, in Harvard’s Program in Islamic Law, and as a Summer Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Hejir Rashidzadeh ‘25, another executive board member, worked as an associate at Alston & Bird, known for its intellectual property work. An editor’s note, however that was posted on the Townhall.com web site said that Hejir Rashidzadeh had tendered his resignation to the group earlier on Tuesday.

Hurya Ahmed ‘25, Vice President of Communications, interned with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

Undergraduate Student Leaders:

The African American Resistance Organization, founded by Kojo Acheampong ‘26, Kiersten B. Hash ‘25, Amari M. Butler ‘25, Clyve Lawrence ‘25, and Prince A. Williams ‘25.

The Harvard Islamic Society, led by Maryam Tourk ‘25 as Co-President.

The Harvard Undergraduate Ghungroo, directed by Hana Rehman ‘25, Jasleen Kaur ‘25, and Karina Mahida ‘25.

The Harvard Undergraduate Nepali Students Association, with Anusha Adhikari ‘26 and Ishan Tiwari ‘25 serving as Co-Presidents.

List of University Benefactors & Their Donations

In 2018, philanthropist, business leader, and three-term New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made a record-breaking $1.8 billion to support undergraduate financial aid at Johns Hopkins University the largest-ever single contribution to a U.S. college or university.

“This historic gift reflects Mike Bloomberg’s deep belief in the transformative power of higher education and his insistence that it be accessible to all qualified students, regardless of financial means,” Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels wrote in a message to the university community. “It also affirms Mike’s profound devotion to this university for the role that it played in enriching his life.”

“America is at its best when we reward people based on the quality of their work, not the size of their pocketbook,” Bloomberg said. “Denying students entry to a college based on their ability to pay undermines equal opportunity. It perpetuates intergenerational poverty. And it strikes at the heart of the American dream: the idea that every person, from every community, has the chance to rise based on merit.”

Hedge fund billionaire Jim Simons and his wife, Marilyn, earlier this year, made a historic donation of $500 million to Stony Brook University in Long Island, marking one of the largest gifts in the history of higher education, according to a report in June on the Forbes.com web site. Jim Simons once taught mathematics there and his wife Marilyn Simons is an alumna, Forbes.com reported.

The Simons Foundation, the philanthropic organization led by the couple, confirmed the $500 million gift to Stony Brook, matching earlier reports from reputable sources such as Newsday and the New York Times. It secures its place as the second-largest gift ever received by a public college, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The late Marvin Mann, the founder of Lexmark International, bequeathed $100 million to Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. A report on the Barrons.com web site indicated that this donation primarily funds endowed student scholarships and supports the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership.

In February of 2022, Estee Lauder heir Leonard Lauder pledged $125 million to the University of Pennsylvania for a tuition-free program to recruit and educate nurse practitioners to work in underserved communities. Then in November of that year, he pledged $52 million to the City University of New York’s Hunter College to expand its nursing program, including enhancements to its program for nurse practitioners. The Hunter grant is in honor of Leonard’s late wife, Evelyn, an alumna of the school.

The second most significant donation of 2022 came from Connie and Steve Ballmer, who pledged $425 million in March to establish the Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health at the University of Oregon, according to the Barrons.com report.  Connie, an alumna of the school who had served on its board of trustees for six years, was deeply committed to addressing children’s behavioral health issues.

Others billionaire donors to Harvard as well as alumni have made the decision to stop providing financing to a university that tolerates and tacitly approves of displays of virulent anti-Semitism on its campus.

In terms of the controversy swirling around Harvard University and the fact that a multitude of student organizations signed the Palestine Solidarity Committee’s letter condemning Israel and praising Hamas and other radical Palestinians, this iconic institution has a dubious litany of benefactors, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

In April of this year, hedge fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin made a $300 million donation to the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, home to the university’s undergraduate program as well as all of its Ph.D. programs plus athletics, museums and libraries. The school will be renamed the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

In total, Griffin has donated over $500 million to the university.

“Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences is committed to advancing ideas that will shape humanity’s future, while providing important insight into our past,” Griffin said. “I am excited to support the impactful work of this great institution.”

In 2021, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan donated $500 million to Harvard to create an institute for artificial intelligence and neuroscience named after Zuckerberg’s mother. The donation is to be spread over 15 years. The donation also created 10 new faculty positions, new computing infrastructure, and more student resources at all levels.

“Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to promoting discovery, innovation, and service at Harvard and other academic institutions around the United States,” said President Lawrence S. Bacow.

“From supporting the study of COVID-19 treatments and advancing literacy research, to boosting public service opportunities for undergraduates, they have shown a genuine commitment through their work at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and beyond to curing disease, improving lives, and encouraging others to serve.”

Barrons.com reported that Hansjörg Wyss pledged $350 million to Harvard University in October 2002 to further bolster the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

This gift builds upon Wyss’ initial $125 million gift, which enabled the founding of the institute, and his subsequent gifts of $125 million in 2013 and $131 million in 2019 for the institute to advance its pioneering work.

“Since its founding 13 years ago, the Wyss Institute has been devoted to breaking down silos within and between academia and industry,” said Harvard University President Larry Bacow.

In 2020, the Harvard Crimson reported that the Harvard University Report of Giving 2018-2019 unveiled an impressive array of high-profile donors.

Harvard student organizations placed blame on Israel following the October 7th Hamas attack in southern Israel in which 1200 Israelis and others were brutally murdered and 240 people were taken as hostages.

Among the standout contributors, three individuals and organizations collectively contributed a staggering $431 million, securing their place at the top of the donor honor roll.

Leading the pack was entrepreneur Leonard Blavatnik, a Harvard Business School graduate, who pledged an extraordinary $200 million to Harvard Medical School.

David E. Goel ‘93 and Stacey L. Goel also made a significant contribution of $100 million, earmarked for a research and arts performance center within Harvard’s new campus in Allston.

Notably, tech billionaires and major philanthropic foundations also left their mark on Harvard’s landscape. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged at least $50 million to support early childhood development and public health research at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Medical School.

Additionally, the government of the United Arab Emirates contributed at least $10 million, having previously supported the Emirates Leadership Institute at the Harvard Kennedy School. This highlights the global reach of Harvard’s initiatives.

Donating a $4 million gift to the Harvard Law School was the Fisher Family to establish an endowed fellowship fund at HLS that will support research and teaching fellowships in negotiation and conflict resolution. The Fund honors the life and work of the late Roger D. Fisher, ’43, LL.B. ’48, the Williston Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School.

In 2016, Michael R. Klein LL.M. donated $15 million to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Harvard Law School recognized the gift with a renaming celebration, and the Center is now known as the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society is dedicated to exploring, understanding, and shaping the development of the digitally networked environment.

Also in 2016, investment executive and private investor Mitchell R. Julis has made a gift to Harvard Law School to establish the Julis-Rabinowitz Program in Jewish and Israeli Law. Julis received a joint JD/MBA degree from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, in 1981. The program is named in honor of his father and mother, Maurice Ralph Julis and Thelma Rabinowitz Julis, and their families.

In 2014, Bradley L. Goldberg, founder and president of the Animal Welfare Trust, has made a generous gift to support the Animal Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.

Friends and family of The Honorable Andrew B. Steinberg, a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 1984 and a pre-eminent aviation lawyer, have made generous gifts to the Law School to establish The Andrew B. Steinberg Fund in his memory.

A group of more than 75 former students and friends of Jerome and Joan Cohen have come together to honor the couple by endowing a professorship at Harvard Law School in their name. It will be known as the Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professorship of East Asian Legal Studies.

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