University official tells people to stop giving to his university, citing its antisemitic rot and left-wing extremism

University official tells people to stop giving to his university, citing its antisemitic rot and left-wing extremism
University of Pennsylvania (Image: Kevin83002/Wikimedia Commons)

A university board member who has given millions to his university says people should stop giving money to it because of the “antisemitic rot in academia,” which spread due to left-wing “political correctness” that permits double standards and anti-semitic “blood libels.” Marc Rowan, the CEO of Apollo Global Management and the chair of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, writes:

While Hamas terrorists were slaughtering Israeli Jews, university administrators were figuring out how to spin it. Do not just take my word for it; read their statements. Across academia, administrators issued statements on behalf of their institutions expressing a repulsive moral equivalence between victims of terror and the perpetrators of that terror. The antisemitic rot in academia is unmistakable.

At the University of Pennsylvania, where I sit on the Wharton School’s Board of Overseers, leaders have for too long allowed this kind of anti-Jewish hate, which sanitizes Hamas’s atrocities, to infect their campuses. There must be consequences.

I call on all UPenn alumni and supporters who believe we are heading in the wrong direction to close their checkbooks until President Liz Magill and Chairman Scott Bok resign.

It took less than two weeks to go from the Palestine Writes Literary Festival at the University of Pennsylvania to the barbaric slaughter of innocent civilians in Israel. Foreshadowing Hamas’s massacre, speakers at the gathering—hosted by various university departments and affiliates—advocated ethnic cleansing of Jews, referred to them as “European settlers,” and repeated various blood libels.

UPenn President Elizabeth Magill and Board Chair Scott Bok permitted UPenn to sponsor this conference and failed to condemn its hate-filled calls for violence. This is not a matter of free speech, but University-sponsored hate speech.

Words and ideas matter. They mattered in the motivation of Hamas terrorists slaughtering more than 1,000 innocent civilians and kidnapping more than a hundred in their goal to annihilate Jews. In our viral, online world it is especially dangerous when once-fringe ideologies receive a stamp of legitimacy—especially from our elite academic institutions, which hold a special place in our society. By sponsoring the spread of the violent ideologies expressed in the Palestine Writes conference, they normalize and give their imprimatur to what would otherwise be considered morally reprehensible.

UPenn is not alone in allowing this culture of hate to become mainstream. It is true for universities across the country. And it’s long past time for donors to take notice. Ultimately, the direction of these institutions is the responsibility of its president and its board of trustees.

At UPenn, the embrace of double standards and the unacceptable status quo, which privileges antisemitism, did not begin on President Magill’s and Chairman Bok’s watch, but they are the protectors of it. Now they are now leading a purge of dissent. They have created a culture of intimidation and fear of speaking out against this status quo. At present, they are organizing attacks on me and my Jewish fellow trustees for speaking out.

The responsibility also rests with many of our alumni leaders and trustees, myself included, who have sat by quietly as the pursuit of truth—the ostensible mission of our elite institutions—was traded for a poorly organized pursuit of social justice and political correctness. Sitting on the sidelines has undermined trust in academia, hindered the production and acquisition of knowledge, and, most troubling of all, allowed for calls of violence and slaughter against a minority group across campuses. We can accept that no longer.

Other universities also harbor antisemites. A diversity and inclusion director at Cornell University supported the Hamas terror attack, writing that Hamas was “fighting for life, dignity, and freedom…against settler colonization, imperialism, capitalism, white supremacy, which the United States is the model.”

At Stanford, an instructor told Jewish students to stand in a corner and lectured them that “Israel is a colonizer” after the Hamas terror attacks.

Northwestern University, which publicly criticized the Supreme Court for ruling against race-based college admissions, refused to “make an institutional statement” about the terror attacks by Hamas that killed relatives of some of its students and staff.

Many colleges have remained neutral about the terrorist attacks in Israel that killed at least 1200 people (One university says it must remain neutral about “geopolitical issues and news events.”) Most of those same colleges have previously taken sides on political issues, such as climate change policy, and spoken out about news events, such as the death of George Floyd.

Hamas seized at least 150 people as hostages, including some Americans and Europeans. The seizure of these hostages came after the Biden administration agreed to pay a $6 billion ransom to Iran in exchange for the release of five American hostages.

Hamas admits Iran gave it weapons it used in its attack on Israel. The Biden administration released millions of dollars to the Hamas-controlled government of the Gaza strip — money that the Trump administration had withheld.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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