Wexner Foundation Cuts Ties with Harvard over Response to Hamas Terror

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS - MARCH 23: The Harvard University campus is shown on March 23, 2
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The Wexner Foundation, a prominent North American Jewish philanthropic institution, has cut ties with Harvard University over its weak response to the massive terror attack by the Palestinian Hamas organization against Israel on Oct. 7, which killed an estimated 1,200 Israelis.

The Wexner Foundation has sponsored Israeli public affairs professionals to study at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government for decades. As its website states:

[The Wexner Israel Fellowship Program] helps to support up to 10 outstanding Israeli public officials earning their Mid-Career Master of Public Administration (MC/MPA) at Harvard Kennedy School. The goal of the Fellowship is to provide Israel’s next generation of public leaders with advanced leadership and public management training. More than 280 Israeli public officials have participated in the Israel Fellowship, including leaders who have gone on to become Directors General of government ministries, Generals and Commanders in the Israeli military and top advisers to Prime Ministers.

In the wake of the attacks, several dozen Harvard student organizations signed a statement blaming Israel. The university administration was slow to distance itself from the statement, then offered wishy-washy statements of its own, while defending the freedom of expression of the Hamas-supporting students — despite its poor track record on free speech for other students.

In a letter dated Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, the Wexner Foundation’s leaders inform the Harvard Board of Overseers that the Hamas response was the culmination of a long trend away from the university’s “cherished tolerance for diverse perspectives,” noting that Israeli scholars in the Wexner program had been “increasingly marginalized” on campus, “their voices and views even shouted down.”

The letter continues:

We are stunned and sickened at the dismal failure of Harvard’s leadership to take a clear and unequivocal stand against the barbaric murders of innocent Israeli civilians by terrorists last Saturday, the Sabbath and a festival day. Since then, many of our Israel Fellows no longer feel marginalized at HKS [Havard Kennedy School]. They feel abandoned. … Our core values and those of Harvard no longer align. HKS is no longer a place where Israeli leaders can go to develop the necessary skills to address the very real political and societal challenges they face.

The letter concludes by announcing that the Wexner Foundation is cutting its “financial and programmatic relationships” with Harvard, and that it will look elsewhere.

Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer resigned in protest from the board of Harvard’s Kennedy School several days ago for similar reasons.

Editor’s Note:  This story was updated to reflect a revised number on the death toll from the October 7 Hamas attack in Israel.  The Israeli government estimate of 1,400 was revised to around 1,200, according to Reuters.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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