Bill Ackman, the billionaire behind hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management – and an Upper West Sider whose glass penthouse proposal earned plenty of local headlines – has spearheaded efforts to identify the Harvard students who’ve endorsed a letter blaming Israel for Hamas’ barbaric weekend attack.
“I have been asked by a number of CEOs if @harvard would release a list of the members of each of the Harvard organizations that have issued the letter assigning sole responsibility for Hamas’ heinous acts to Israel, so as to insure that none of us inadvertently hire any of their members,” Ackman wrote Tuesday on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.
“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,” Ackman added, after noting that no signatory should be able to hide behind a corporate entity.
There were 33 student organizations which signed the letter authored by the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, which was first shared on its Instagram page. The Harvard Crimson reports that it was temporarily suspended but back online by Monday evening.
“We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” the letter stated in its opening.
The group has since edited its post by removing the list of student group signatures, however, that information has already been disseminated.
large number of harvard student organizations blaming israel solely for hamas terrorist attacks killing 700 civilians.
can’t imagine who would want to identify with such a group. harvard parents—talk to your educated kids about this. pic.twitter.com/q9StJ3MJpf
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 8, 2023
Since the backlash began, some of the students who supported the statement have since distanced themselves from it, according to CNN and other outlets.
Harvard President Claudine Gay issued a letter titled “War in the Middle East” but did not actually address the statement blaming Israel for Hamas’ attacks.
Our President Claudine Gay & school leaders have asked us to “foster… an environment of dialogue & empathy, appealing to one another’s thoughtfulness & goodwill”. I hope to help. Acknowledging that killing hundreds of innocents is wrong should be an easy place to start. pic.twitter.com/vzuOBXFz1M
— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) October 10, 2023
Following more backlash, Gay issued a new statement on Tuesday.