Israeli millionaire Idan Ofer and his spouse, Batia, have resigned from the Kennedy School of Government governing board at Harvard, citing insufficient reactions from school administrators to the recent attacks on Israel by Hamas. The decision was made in the middle of escalating controversy at the university over a statement that a coalition of student organizations produced that was anti-Israel.
With a fortune estimated at about $20 billion, Idan Ofer, who ranks 80th on Bloomberg’s billionaire index, has made the decision to resign from his position at the Kennedy School. The Kennedy School is supported financially by a prominent advisory board made up of luminaries in business and philanthropy. The university’s general response to the latest developments in the Israel-Palestine conflict is more significant than the anti-Israel letter when it comes to the Ofers decision.
Motives behind Resignation:
The Ofers revealed their lack of confidence in Harvard’s administration in a statement to CNN, saying, “Unfortunately, our faith in the University’s leadership has been broken, and we cannot in good faith continue to support Harvard and its committees.” The pair made a point of criticizing attempts to hold the Israeli people accountable for the deeds of the acknowledged terrorist group Hamas.
Harvard, according to the Ofer, has failed to demonstrate its support for Israel in the wake of the recent sad events and appears unwilling to acknowledge Hamas as a terrorist organization. Their resignation is a result of their wish for Harvard and other universities to speak out clearly and unequivocally in the face of widespread misinformation.
Regarding the resignation and condemnation from the Ofer, Harvard University has remained silent. Claudine Gay, the president of the university, however, issued a video statement reiterating the school’s opposition to both hate and terrorism. President Gay underlined Harvard’s dedication to freedom of speech and denounced harassment or intimidation on the basis of ideas, while understanding that supporting a range of opinions might be difficult.
Ofers’ departure adds to a string of controversy at Harvard, which also included student groups’ anti-Israel stance and public calls for the revelation of names connected to the groups. A “doxing truck” bearing the names and photos of students associated with the declaration went around close to Harvard’s campus, escalating the discussion about responsibility and freedom of speech.