More than a dozen business leaders are joining the call to blacklist the Harvard students who issued a statement blaming Israel for the Hamas attack while the group lamented the subsequent persecution.
CEOs from EasyHealth, Belong, FabFitFun, Inspired, DoveHill and many others joined billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman in calling out the members of 31 student organizations that made the statement on Sunday.
Ackman said: “One should not be able to hide behind a corporate shield when making statements supporting the actions of terrorists who, as we now learn, have beheaded babies, among other unimaginably despicable acts.”
On Wednesday, the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee student group released a statement reiterating its message, despite the outrage that it said had forced it to cancel a planned vigil.
“In the last 72 hours, our statement has made international headlines. The PSC was inundated with racist hate speech and death threats. “Hundreds of students were stalked both on campus and online, even people unaffiliated with PSC,” the group wrote.
Pershing Square Capital Management CEO Bill Ackman (pictured) led the charge, naming the Harvard student organizations that issued a statement blaming Israel for the Hamas attack
Members of the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee protest for the liberation of Palestine. Since releasing the statement, the group has doubled down on the message, claiming it has received death threats
“The targeting of Palestinian, black, brown, Muslim and international students should be extremely concerning for all parties.” “These threats reached such a level that we were forced to postpone our vigil to mourn all the innocent lives lost have been lost,” they wrote.
“We are appalled by the administration’s failure to protect the safety of its students.” To make clear what should be clear: PSC strongly opposes all violence against all innocent life and deplores all human suffering.
“The ongoing discourse centered on Harvard diverts focus from the relentless carnage in Gaza, a dire situation that our joint statement strongly warned about.”
Instead of apologizing, the group sharpened its message and called on the Harvard community to reject the attacks on students in the group.
“The Palestinian death toll is just beginning to rise,” they wrote. “The loss of Palestinian life, which has tragically become an annual event, neither makes headlines nor prompts speeches at the White House.”
They said Harvard is “a university invested in Israeli apartheid” and “we are proud to stand steadfastly against Israeli apartheid.”
Among the CEOs who have now vowed never to hire anyone from 31 Harvard was the CEO of salad chain Sweetgreen, Jonathan Neman, who echoed Ackman’s message, saying: “I would like to know, so I know these people should never stop.”
David Duel, CEO of health services organization EasyHealth, responded to Neman’s response with, “Same.”
Ale Resnik, the CEO of rental housing startup Belong, responded to Ackman’s post: “Please share the list. ‘We’re staying away.’
Tech investor Martin Varsavsky also chimed in: “Please share the list.”
“This is a must,” comments Stephen Ready, CEO of Inspired. Michael Broukhim, CEO of FabFitFun, said: “We’re there too.”
Michael McQuaid, head of DeFi operations at blockchain company Bloq, said: “I completely agree and have been wondering in the same way over the last few days if/when the names of these students will be revealed.”
And DoveHill CEO Jake Wurzak simply wrote, “I support this.”
Other executives responded to Ackman with supportive emojis, including construction company Diligent’s founder and vice president Hu Montague, payments platform Brex’s chief strategy officer Art Levy and Classic Learning Test CEO Jeremy Wayne Tate.
Other company leaders like Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Neman (left) and Inspired CEO Stephen Ready (right) joined Ackman in wanting to know the students’ names so they wouldn’t hire them
FabFitFun CEO Michael Broukhim (left) and tech investor Martin Varsavsky (right) joined the call to blacklist the students
Since Tuesday, at least five of the original groups have withdrawn their signatures and the full list of groups has been removed from the statement, which they said was for their safety.
Harvard law student Danielle Mikaelian said she resigned from her role as a board member of one of the student groups that co-signed the controversial statement, calling it “outrageous.”
The statement said: “We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime solely responsible for all the violence that is unfolding.”
“Today’s events did not take place in a vacuum. “Over the past two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open-air prison.”
The group said massacres in Gaza had already begun and Palestinians had no place to go and would be forced to bear the brunt of Israel’s violence.
“The apartheid regime is the only culprit.” Israeli violence has shaped every aspect of Palestinian existence for 75 years.
“From systematic land confiscations to routine airstrikes, arbitrary detentions to military checkpoints, and forced family separation to targeted killings, Palestinians have been forced to live in a state of slow and sudden death.”
“Today the Palestinian ordeal enters new territory.” The coming days will require decisive resistance to colonial retaliation. “We call on the Harvard community to take action to stop the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians,” the statement said.
Members of the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee pose for a group photo. The student organization doubled down on its statement blaming Israel for the Hamas terrorist attack
The Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee put up posters with the message “Free Palestine.” The student group said they received racist death threats following their testimony
According to the Harvard CrimsonThousands of students, alumni and faculty have issued a counter-statement to the group.
Harvard President Emeritus Lawrence Summers called the PSC statement “disgusting” and expressed outrage at the university’s slow response.
On Tuesday, Harvard President Claudine Gay finally released a statement condemning the attacks and the student group’s statement.
According to the Israeli military, more than 1,200 people, including 189 soldiers, have died since Saturday’s surprise attack, while Gaza’s Health Ministry said 1,100 people were killed and more than 5,300 injured.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that every Hamas member is a “dead man” and said claims of the beheadings had not been independently confirmed but that rescue workers and witnesses had described horrific scenes.