Wall Street financiers are pressing elite schools to condemn criticism of Israel. Amid pressure, the University of Pennsylvania on Sunday issued a statement referring to Hamas’s attack as terrorism. …
Though some complaints — like that from Harvard’s former president, Larry Summers — were made in public, the most intense demands have come behind the scenes from Wall Street financiers who make up a powerful block of donors to schools including the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Stanford University and Cornell University.
In conversations with The New York Times, more than a dozen donors said they felt they had a right and an obligation to weigh in. Some of the donors who discussed the matter asked not to be named, because they did not want to speak publicly on a rapidly evolving issue that has elicited death threats on both sides. Some, but not all, of these donors are Jewish, though they hold a range of religious beliefs and not all have a history of being active in pro-Israeli causes.
Years of fund-raising campaigns have led the schools to hew ever closer to this big-moneyed group: Harvard, whose endowment has swelled to nearly $51 billion, named its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences after Mr. Griffin [who is not Jewish].
Among the donors, views on the appropriate way to respond also vary widely. The outspoken hedge-fund manager William Ackman, a Harvard alumnus and head of Pershing Square Capital Management, has called on executives to refuse to hire students who are members of groups that have signed statements singling out Israeli violence as the cause of the conflict, going further than any other major financier.
In a string of posts on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Mr. Ackman demanded that the university release a list of members of any student organizations who wrote the letter blaming Israel for Hamas’s attack, to ensure that he and others did not “inadvertently hire any of their members.”
Some high-profile donors said they felt Mr. Ackman wasn’t helping to turn the discourse in favor of Israel by calling for what would essentially be a blacklist of students who disagree with his views. …
At the universities, students have pointed out that the longstanding blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt, among other factors, has led to a level of desperation in the tightly packed area, roughly the size of Philadelphia. But students’ responses, too, have varied — from expressions of sympathy for citizens on both sides of the divide to the suggestion that the Hamas attack was a justifiable form of resistance….
Mr. Griffin is a high-profile supporter of Republican causes while other outraged alumni, billionaire financiers Seth Klarman and Lloyd Blankfein, give largely to Democrats.
And this, re the well-heeled Park Avenue Synagogue:
By the time Cosgrove asked his flock to pull out their phones on Shabbat, the congregation had already raised $16 million for the UJA-Federation of New York’s Israel Emergency Fund, responding to a Hamas-instigated war that has now claimed 1,300 Israeli lives. The overall campaign has raised over $75 million for supporting residents in Southern Israel as well as hospitals, soldiers and their families and humanitarian services for Bedouins and Arab Israelis and more. Rabbi Cosgrove invited those in the pews, and those watching the livestream at home, to add to the pot to reach the symbolic number of $18 million. (The Hebrew word for life – chai – is made of the 8th and 10th letter of the alphabet.)
From the ADL:
With our hearts still aching for our brothers and sisters in Israel, we must also direct our attention to the threats here at home.
I am writing to ask for your support as we head into a heightened period of tension, anger and risk for Israel, and for Jews in the U.S. and around the globe.
The massacre of over 1,400 Israelis by Hamas comes at a time when Jews are already feeling vulnerable in this country and around the world because of the rise of antisemitic vandalism, harassment and assaults.
This vulnerability intensifies in times of conflict in the Middle East, when Jews here are targeted for actions by and against the state of Israel. Anti-Israel activists at rallies in the streets and on campus are shouting their support for Hamas’s unspeakable actions. We have seen banners justifying the atrocities and calling for more violence against Israel. Against Jews.
Both fringe-left groups and white supremacists are openly cheering Hamas’s hate-fueled attack. Some of these extremists are spreading misinformation and amplifying calls for violence against Jews.
…[We] have our work cut out for us. According to the ADL Center on Extremism, the number of anti-Israel and antisemitic incidents is starting to climb. And our experience shows this has only just begun. …
And Christians United for Israel (I was hoping to find the CUFI ads that are playing on conservative news channels, but can’t find any):