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While 100 universities condemn Hamas, the Ivy League is condemned for looking the other way

These might be the worst colleges in the country
These are probably the worst colleges in the country

The one good thing that has come from the horrible slaughter of innocents by Hamas on October 7th is that it has made obvious the bankruptcy of America’s so-called elite Ivy League colleges, suggesting without question that if you are either a high school student who wants to get a real education or an employer who wants to hire the best college graduates, these are not the places to find either.

The constrast was made very clear by two letters this week. First, more than one hundred universities nationwide issued a letter harshly condemning Hamas while expressing whole-hearted support for Israel.

We Stand Together With Israel Against Hamas

We are horrified and sickened by the brutality and inhumanity of Hamas. Murdering innocent civilians including babies and children, raping women and taking the elderly as hostages are not the actions of political disagreement but the actions of hate and terrorism. The basis of all universities is a pursuit of truth, and it is times like these that require moral clarity. Like the fight against ISIS, the fight against Hamas is a fight against evil. We, the presidents and chancellors of universities, colleges and higher education associations across the United States of America and the world, stand with Israel, with the Palestinians who suffer under Hamas’ cruel rule in Gaza and with all people of moral conscience. [emphasis in original]

Not surprisingly, none of the Ivy League schools as well as Stanford and the entire California university system signed on. Apparently the torture, rape, and murder of women and children is okay with these “elite” colleges, as long as it is Jewish women and children who are tortured, raped, and murdered.

The second letter directly addressed this lack of moral commitment by these so-called “elite” colleges, and did so by attacking Harvard in particular. On November 4, Bill Ackman, a billionaire hedge fund manager and Harvard alumni, published a 3,000+ word letter directed Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, and the Harvard Corporation Board, strongly condemning Gay’s unwillingness to unequivocally condemn the oppressive culture on Harvard’s campus, as well as its growing anti-Semitism.

When you explained in your October 12th video address that Harvard “embraces a commitment to free expression,” you sent a clear message that the eliminationist and antisemitic statements of the protesters are permissible on campus. Putting aside the legal limitations on free speech that include restrictions on fighting words and true threats, “where speakers direct a threat to a person or group of persons with the intent of placing the victim in fear of bodily harm or death,” if Harvard indeed had a strong track record of protecting free speech, many would have taken your support for free speech more seriously. Unfortunately, Harvard has not embraced a serious commitment to free speech, particularly so in recent years.

In The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) Annual College Free Speech Rankings, Harvard has consistently finished in the bottom quartile in each of the past four years, with its ranking deteriorating each year. On September 23rd, just two weeks prior to October 7th, FIRE announced that Harvard achieved its lowest free speech ranking ever for the 2023 academic year, ranking last out of 254 universities, with a rating of 0.00, the only university with an “abysmal” speech climate. [emphasis mine]

Ackman went on to detail at length Harvard’s willingness to allow bigotry and censorship and even violence on its campus, then listed some no-nonsense actions it should take to quell this madness. It is definitely worth your time to read his whole letter, because it exhibits a forthright expression of moral clarity when such clarity is rarely seen.

Whether or not Harvard follows any of Ackman’s recommendations, the contrast between these two letters speaks volumes. It tells us that these “elite” colleges are vastly over-rated, and are not good places to obtain a proper college education. They do not teach, they indoctrinate. They do not teach critical thinking and open-mindedness, but narrow closed-minded thinking and an encouragement to retreat into “safe spaces.” They do not believe in free speech but in censorship and bigotry against all those they consider members of the wrong identity groups.

The evidence also tells us it is a mistake for top level companies to hire the graduates from these “elite” colleges, under the assumption these colleges produce “the best and the brightest.” Instead, it now appears they produce the worst and the dumbest, and for any company to pay such graduates top dollar for the country’s most important jobs is an act of foolishness indeed. The many recent examples of poor decisions and bad management in both government and large corporations suggests that these entities are suffering directly because of their over-reliance on individuals with Ivy League diplomas.

Both letters also tell us that there are many colleges out there that, while still seeped in the modern madness of critical race theory, are eagerly struggling with the problem and have begun to recognize the path to solving it. When they saw the evil committed by Hamas they quickly recognized it, and stood up to condemn it. No mealy-mouthed expressions of moral equivalency from them.

Students must consider these colleges over the Ivy League. Employees must do the same. We must abandon our old assumptions about the reputations of these schools, and see them in a more honest light.

The time has come for Americans to choose, using common sense, an open-mind, and a firm commitment to morality and justice. To do anything else will only guarantee more mass murders and a civilization driving mindlessly toward collapse.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

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  • Col Beausabre

    “The best and the brightest.” were the people who got us into Viet Nam and walked away, shrugging their shoulders and saying, “Who? Me?”‘

    “.The title referred to Kennedy’s “whiz kids”—leaders of industry and academia brought into the administration—whom Halberstam characterized as insisting on “brilliant policies that defied common sense” in Vietnam” Sound familiar?

  • Ian C.

    From Ackman’s letter:

    “the reality is that Harvard has been an extremely comfortable place to be Jewish and/or Israeli, up until the last four weeks. In truth, the outburst at antisemitism at Harvard is a recent one”

    Perhaps students were taught anti-White ideology (CRT) over all the years and now Jews (seen as White) receive a similar treatment White culture and people receive since some time? Tearing down statues, removing literature, renaming buildings, excluding or attacking Whites because they were/are marked as racist, supremacist, colonialist? The same kind of accusations now thrown at Israel and treatments coming for Jews as another instance of anti-White hatred?

    One should look closer at the faculty and staff (background and affiliations and who brought them there, i.e. let them teach hatred by proxy) and the courses they teach and the extra-curricular programs they offer. And who funds it. This isn’t just happening without people pushing or facilitating it.

    One Twitter comment on Ackman’s letter with 1.5k likes states, “Of course, Harvard has been inflicting the same sort of abuse on straight white males for years without sparking much of a backlash.” Not a new thing, only Jews are now the first to really address it. And another with 305 likes says, “If Jewish donors pull their donations even more money will pour in from Qatar and China. That is fundamentally how all the Ivy League schools have been transformed.”

  • Ian C: Your point is why I quoted Ackman’s reference to FIRE’s low rating for Harvard. He might want to suggest that anti-Semitism is a new thing to Harvard, but he also cites evidence that proves it is not.

  • Ian C.

    Bob — Indeed, as Ackman writes,

    “I was surprised to learn from students and faculty that the OEDIB does not support Jewish, Asian and non-LGBTQIA White students.”

    Perhaps he aimed to be diplomatic when he focused on the “recent outburst” of anti-Semitism and not the prior (silent) discrimination. Perhaps this reply to his letter describes it, not that BtB readers will be surprised, they’re most likely aware:

    “Bill, take it from someone who has been a professor for 28.5 years. DEI, in practice, has never been about “inclusion” etc. It was a way to give a power base inside university, government, and corporate bureaucracies to a radical leftist identitarian agenda that includes only a limited group of identities deemed politically useful, and only for those who adopt radical politics. People who haven’t been paying attention until now are finally noticing that (with occasional exceptions of good-hearted people who take DEI literally) DEI not only doesn’t include Jews, DEI-types are more likely to be on the side of the antisemites.”

    Another comment stuck out to me. This reply to the activists’ statement that Israel cannot remain the state of the Jewish people:

    “Ethnostates are antithetical to western values. Majorities exist but they are not enshrined in law like they are in Israel.”

    This reminds me of what I’ve heard since years from the radical left. They call Israel the “last remaining White colonial project.”
    Regarding Harvard et al., it looks like there are dedicated Palestinian and Arab groups that are explicitly focused on Israel (anti-Semitic), and the mobilized mob of wokes who think it’s rather part of the usual anti-Western struggle (anti-White).

  • Calvin Dodge

    Ivy League universities were discriminating against Jews 100 years ago. They’re simply honoring their traditions.

  • Phill O

    Sounds like poison ivy to me.

  • Ian C.

    “Since Hamas’s October 7 massacre, it has been hard to miss the explosion of antisemitic hate that has gripped college campuses across the country. (…) Whole narratives have been constructed to dehumanize Israelis and brand Israel as a “white, colonial project” to be “resisted.” The students you see in the videos circulating online have been marinating in this ideology, which can be defined best by what it’s against: everything Western.

    Today, after months of research, the NCRI released a report (comprising four separate studies) following the money. The report finds that at least 200 American colleges and universities illegally withheld information on approximately $13 billion in undisclosed contributions from foreign regimes, many of which are authoritarian. (…) Overall, authors of the report write, “a massive influx of foreign, concealed donations to American institutions of higher learning, much of it from authoritarian regimes with notable support from Middle Eastern sources, reflects or supports heightened levels of intolerance towards Jews, open inquiry and free expression.”

    So who’s doing this concealed funding? Qatar, the country where Hamas’s leadership currently resides, is far and away the largest foreign donor to American universities (…) the NCRI report found that a reliable predictor of the intensity of campus antisemitism was the amount of undisclosed money a given university received from Middle Eastern regimes. Middle Eastern regimes [could be] sponsoring professorships held by, or programs run by, professors or administrators who hold anti-Israel views and use their platform to spread them.”

    On the page is a graphic that shows that the top four sources of undisclosed funds are Qatar, England, China, and Saudi Arabia. (And one should look into funds from the UK as well as it’s a known hub for Arab money.)

    Qatar and Saudi Arabia are sponsoring mosques and Quran schools in Europe since many years and “encourage” local politicians to allow and protect them. I’m unaware of academic programs but I wouldn’t be surprised. Why shouldn’t they do similar stuff in the US?

  • Ian C: 1. I also suspected Ackman was being diplomatic.

    2. As for the second comment about Israel as a ethnostate, I refer you to my 2013 essay series about Israel:

    The last essay especially discusses that exact point.

  • Ian C.

    Bob — I think you’ve pointed me to it before. We agree(d) that the image of Israel is a rather demonized one. And many people don’t question it — “everybody knows.” Most people have no deeper involvement and rather follow a loose narrative. Being critical of Israel is fashionable in many circles as it was fashionable to be casually anti-Semitic in, say, early 1900s Europe. That’s why I emphasize to look for those who finance, coordinate, and profit from trouble from the background, often it’s not organic.

  • Johann Amadeus Metesky

    “Ethnostates are antithetical to western values. Majorities exist but they are not enshrined in law like they are in Israel.”

    I suppose it depends on how you define ethnostate. I’m pretty sure the status of France as French is enshrined in French law. Canada seems to tolerate Quebec. A housemate of mine in college couldn’t visit family in Greece after he turned 18 because all four of his grandparents were Greek and the Greek government considered him Greek enough to want to draft him.

    As for Israel, my daughter was showing me a video of IDF soldiers doing a call and response chant with their commander and as the camera panned the circle of soldiers you could see a rainbow of skin colors, from Ethiopian and Yemeni Jews who are darker than Barack Obama to olive skinned Mizrachim and paler Ashkenazim. There was even an Asian looking soldier.

    There are multiple “ethnicities” within worldwide Jewry. I think it’s most accurate to call Jews a nation that is defined by the rules of a religion. It’s a lot like being an American citizen. Some are born into it, some are naturalized, and it’s all according to a list of rules. My grandchildren are considered fully Jewish by orthodox standards and attend a mainstream orthodox yeshiva, but I’m their only grandparent who has two Jewish parents. Both of their grandmothers are converts to Judaism and their other grandfather has only one Jewish grandparent. By DNA, they’re maybe 34% Jewish or something like that. While they aren’t ethnically Jewish, they’d qualify for Israeli citizenship under Israel’s Law of Return.

  • Larry Weber

    It is a short trip from “having and unrivaled reputation” to “having an unraveled reputation”.

  • BLSinSC

    Phill O – As I read the headline I was thinking it’s time to ADD to the “Ivy League” name and make it the POISON IVY League! Nice to know there are so many people who see those indoctrination chambers as what they are – a POISON to the minds of so many young people! And the irony is most of them are from very RICH and powerful families! Hope you have a great day!

  • Phill O


    Yup, the Poison Ivy League

    That is a tough PIL to swallow!

  • Larry R

    My alma mater signed the anti-Hamas letter – the University of Texas at Austin. I’m glad to see it, but must warn that UT was trending woke when I went there 30 years ago, and much of the university today is just a charnel house of leftist destruction. Even the hard sciences and my own college of engineering are increasingly succumbing to DIE and other hateful leftist shibboleths. There is substantial alumni pushback, so I wouldn’t say the issue is quite decided and UT forever lost but people need to know the full picture before sending their kids there. You can get a good education at UT and avoid leftist indoctrination, but you have to be very careful to do so.

  • roger

    This is the pro Palestine rally in the campus of my alma mater:

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