A number of CEOs and billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman have made the decision not to consider hiring students from Harvard University who endorsed an anti-Israel letter following the Hamas terrorist attack. Ackman took to social media to voice his concerns and requested that Harvard disclose the names of the involved students to prevent unintentional hiring. CEOs such as Jonathan Neman and Ale Resnik also supported these measures and committed to refraining from hiring these students. However, New York Magazine's Eric Levitz criticized the CEOs for essentially blacklisting these individuals based on their political speech. He argued that major employers should refrain from collaborating to blacklist young people, even if they express disagreeable views.
For context on what is to come, ask yourself how the U.S. would respond if 2,500 Mexican terrorists invaded Texas, brutally killed 1,200 of our citizens including women, children and babies — raping decapitating and burning them alive — and kidnapped 150 more, including infants.
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) October 13, 2023
Former treasury secretary Lawrence Summers seemed to share Ackman's concerns but disapproved of his request for lists of names, likening it to Joe McCarthy's actions. Summers suggested that instead of demonizing the students, employers should ensure that they are not hiring individuals who endorse hate.
Journalist John Hasson compiled a list of Harvard students who expressed support for Hamas' invasion of Israel, further intensifying the backlash against these students. It appears that Ackman and other CEOs are not the only ones rejecting these students who hold Israel responsible for Hamas' attacks. For instance, the law firm Winston & Strawn revoked a job offer to a New York University student who had made "inflammatory" remarks condemning Israel.
Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk highlighted that Harvard's student groups receive substantial donations, including from generous Jewish donors. He urged supporters to reconsider subsidizing institutions that foster anti-Semitism and endorse genocidal perpetrators.
In contrast, former Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, now serving as the president of the University of Florida, adopted a different approach to addressing the attacks on Israel. He was resolute in condemning Hamas' terrorism and expressed unwavering support for the Jewish students at the University of Florida. Sasse emphasized his commitment to not sugarcoating the heinous acts perpetrated by terrorists and criticized the moral confusion of some in elite academia who attempt to justify or support terrorism. He underscored the importance of instilling values of decency and humanity in the next generation of Americans.