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There are plenty of non-baby-beheading groups militating in various ways against Israel, and Harvard’s now-notorious Group of 33 could have affiliated itself with any of them.

However, it chose Hamas.

And now the Group of 33 is being blacklisted by corporate America, a place a lot of them probably assumed would welcome them with open arms.

[Bill] Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, tweeted he has been approached by “a number of CEOs” asking for the names of the student organizations to ensure “none of us inadvertently hire any of their members,” arguing students “should not be able to hide behind a corporate shield when issuing statements supporting the actions of terrorists.”

Jonathan Neman, the CEO and co-founder of healthy fast casual chain Sweetgreen, responded to Ackman’s post on X, saying he “would like to know so I know never to hire these people,” to which healthcare services company EasyHealth CEO David Duel responded: “Same.”


Here’s how UD thinks of it. Go ahead and publicly affiliate yourself with the fifth century. But don’t then expect to step smoothly into the twenty-first.

Margaret Soltan, October 11, 2023 8:38AM
Posted in: How We Learn

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8 Responses to “There are plenty of non-baby-beheading groups militating in various ways against Israel, and Harvard’s now-notorious Group of 33 could have affiliated itself with any of them.”

  1. Total Says:

    Nothing scarier than CEO-bros suddenly deciding they have a conscience. And they shall be led by a hedge fund.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Total: It’s not just hedgies. But of course I agree Wall St types are far from moral exemplars.

    But talk about a sliding ethical scale.

    Plus it’s a matter of pragmatics. They’re right to blackball terror-symps.

  3. Total Says:

    I can write some dialogue they can use in interviews: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a group that supported Hamas”?

    Maybe they can get a list from Joe McCarthy.

    If we blackball college students every time they did something stupid like this, nobody would be hireable.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Total: I somewhat but only somewhat agree. I agree that college students are young and do dumb shit and shouldn’t be made to suffer because of it. Some of the pro-Hamas Harvard groups have already pulled back from the statement, and I assume some individual members of the groups that signed on are doing the same.

    BUT. Some of the signees are grad students/activists of various ages, and some of these I think should be held to account. Obviously those who really are degenerate assholes should be made to feel that at least some of civilized – even semi-civilized – society wants nothing to do with them.

    And even there, in an age of global capitalism, most of the true degenerates can simply work in offices outside of NYC… I don’t, in other words, share your outright McCarthyism worries. But I agree that it’s easy – under the influence of current outrage – to go too far.

  5. Rita Says:

    These students groups have been trotting out this same script for every clash between Israel and the Palestinians since back when I was in college. Literally the same rhetoric – “open air prison,” “settler-colonial occupation,” etc. Most of these groups have about 10 members, who are hardcore, and the broader liberal majority of students is just reflexively accustomed to viewing “the Palestinian cause” as part of their “team” and hitting the like button for them. I think they were basically operating on autopilot on Monday, issuing their standby “statements” without any thought that the changed circumstances would alter anyone’s response and not imagining that the indifferent applause to which they’re accustomed would not be forthcoming. Now that they see it’s not, they’re walking it back. But there is a certain braindead rote-ness about this ritual already, as is so often the case with student activism on every side. Everyone just playing their roles and phoning in their dueling “position statements.” Depressing.

  6. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Rita: Along these lines, even David Lodge couldn’t have conjured Derron Borders.

  7. Rita Says:

    Well, could he have imagined all the satirical gold to be mined in 2020s university admin offices everywhere? You got your DEI guy promoting mass murder in the name of equity and inclusion, your lady at Vanderbilt last year mass-emailing a statement of condolence about the MSU shooting with “Generated by ChatGPT” in the signature, your trauma-informed puppy petting pedagogies everywhere. Pure gold.

    But I just wonder about the extent to which campus politics (and social media politics, which resembles it) isn’t even trying to engage with the real world anymore, but is just the repeated recitation of canned scripts for every occasion. It was suddenly jarringly noticeable this time b/c the world itself veered off-script – Israel’s security failed catastrophically, resulting in the massacre that is always threatened by its enemies but usually prevented. The script suddenly sounded off. (I’m pretty sure that once the casualties in Gaza surpass the Israeli ones, the script will re-assert its role and we can all tune out of reality again and comfortably return to chanting the accustomed slogans.)

  8. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Rita: The “repeated recitation” you describe reminds me that the vaunted concept of “performativity” pertains much more interestingly, I think, to one’s political performance these days than to any other social behavior.

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