Leftist students at various prominent American universities blamed Israel for the savage attacks it suffered at the hands of Hamas terrorists over the weekend.
Four days into the war, in which over 1,000 Israelis and at least 22 Americans have been killed, some students are now waking up to the prospect that in their rush to denounce Israel and equate the mass murder of civilians by Islamist militants to “resistance,” they may have jeopardized their future career plans. Others have already begun to reap the whirlwind.
Angry and jobless
Ryna Workman, the president of the New York University Student Bar Association, refers to herself as a gendered plurality and claims to be “nonbinary.” She recently made clear to her comrades that she believed the terrorism perpetuated by Hamas on civilians was “necessary.”
In a statement obtained by Yair Rosenberg of the Atlantic, Workman said, “This week, I want to express, first and foremost, my unwavering and absolute solidarity with Palestinians in their resistance against oppression toward liberation and self-determination. Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life.”
“This regime of state-sanctioned violence created the conditions that made resistance necessary. I will not condemn Palestinian resistance,” she continued. “Instead … I condemn the violence of apartheid. I condemn the violence of settler colonialism. I condemn the violence of military occupation.”
After issuing several more condemnations, the student bar association president concluded by saying, “Palestine will be free.”
Responding to Workman’s angry missive, one freshman told the New York Post, “It just struck me as inappropriate, especially considering the death count and the fact that so many Israelis are being held captive. … You’re free to have an opinion, but to voice it so publicly and so unequivocally without even acknowledging that a literal massacre took place seems, at the very least, insensitive.”
A sophomore stressed that Workman’s views did not represent the whole of the NYU student body, stating, “There’s no interpretation of the events that occurred Saturday morning outside of that terrorists carried out a planned attack on civilians and started a war. There’s no justification for it. It’s shameful, and embarrassing that I have to be associated with it.”
It turns out, just as the NYU sophomore wanted nothing to do with Workman or her pro-terror views, neither did the law firm where she was set to make a small fortune as a lawyer.
Winston & Strawn LLP issued a statement on Tuesday revealing it had rescinded Workman’s offer of employment.
“Today, Winston & Strawn learned that a former summer associate published certain inflammatory comments regarding Hamas’ recent terrorist attack on Israel and distributed it to the NYU Student Bar Association. These comments are profoundly in conflict with Winston & Strawn’s values as a firm,” said the firm.
The firm added, “We remain outraged and deeply saddened by the violent attack on Israel over the weekend. Our hearts go out to our Jewish colleagues, their families, and all those affected. Winston stands in solidarity with Israel’s right to exist in peace and condemns Hamas and the violence and destruction it has ignited in the strongest terms possible.”
Troy McKenzie, the dean of the law school, similarly attempted to distance the school from Workman’s pro-terror remarks, noting she did not speak for the school or its leadership, reported Reuters.
Megyn Kelly suggested Workman might be able to get a job at the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has long been critical of Israel.
Christina Pushaw, the rapid response director for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign, suggested Workman might alternatively “end up in a high ranking position at Biden’s State Department.”
Workman is not the only student who may be facing consequences for blaming Israel for the murders, maiming, rapes, and kidnappings its people have suffered in recent days.
TheBlaze previously reported that over 30 student organizations at Harvard University collectively published a letter entitled, “Joint Statement by Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups on the Situation in Palestine.”
The letter, originally penned by the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, began, “We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”
“The apartheid regime is the only one to blame,” it continued, issuing no condemnation for Hamas. “The coming days will require a firm stand against colonial retaliation. We call on the Harvard community to take action to stop the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians.”
Among the groups that reportedly sponsored the letter were the Harvard Islamic Society, the Society of Arab Students, the Harvard Jews for Liberation, the Harvard Kennedy School Muslim Caucus, the Harvard Kennedy School Bangladesh Caucus, the Harvard Undergraduate Arab Women’s Collective, the Sikhs and Companions of Harvard Undergraduates, and the Harvard Divinity School Muslim Association.
Lawrence Summers, president emeritus of Harvard, responded, “In nearly 50 years of @Harvard affiliation, I have never been as disillusioned and alienated as I am today. … Harvard is being defined by the morally unconscionable statement apparently coming from two dozen student groups blaming all the violence on Israel. I am sickened. I cannot fathom the Administration’s failure to disassociate the University and condemn this statement.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote, “What the hell is wrong with Harvard? Given the choice between standing with Israel or supporting terrorists who are raping, kidnapping & killing thousands of women & children…31 student groups choose the terrorists. Their blazing hatred & antisemitism utterly blinding.”
On Tuesday, Harvard President Claudine Gay issued a statement, saying, “As the events of recent days continue to reverberate, let there be no doubt that I condemn the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one’s individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region. … Let me also state, on this matter as on others, that while our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership.”
The damage appears to have already been done, especially to the prospects of those behind the letter.
Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman noted on X that he had been asked by a number of CEOs if Harvard would release a list of the members of the student organizations who sponsored the letter “so as to insure that none of us inadvertently hire any of their members.”
“If, in fact, their members support the letter they have released, the names of the signatories should be made public so their views are publicly known,” continued the CEO of Pershing Square.
According to the collective student letter, names of the signatories were omitted for “student safety.”
Ackman added, “One should not be able to hide behind a corporate shield when issuing statements supporting the actions of terrorists, who, we now learn, have beheaded babies, among other inconceivably despicable acts.”
Other business leaders responded to Ackman’s post, suggesting they similarly will avoid hiring the signatories.
Among them was Jonathan Newman, the CEO of the restaurant chain Sweetgreen, who said, “I would like to know so I know never to hire these people.”
John Hasson of Townhall has since identified the leaders of various groups behind the letter.
The Harvard Crimson reported that as of Tuesday night, at least five of 34 student groups had withdrawn their endorsements amid the backlash.
One group, Act on a Dream, told the Crimson the group had signed the letter as “a result of miscommunication and a lack of due diligence in sharing the statement with the entirety of the board. … Our board members were not made aware that AOD as an organization had signed on to the PSC statement, so the endorsement of their statement in no way reflects their individual opinions about the ensuing violence in Palestine and Israel.”
The Harvard Undergraduate Nepali Student Association similarly backtracked on its endorsement, stating, “We regret that our decision to co-sign the latest PSC statement to call attention to historical injustices against Palestinians, with an earnest desire for peace, has been interpreted as a tacit support for the recent violent attacks in Israel. … To ensure that our stance on the condemnation of violence by Hamas and support for a just peace remains clear, we retract our signature from the statement.”
Danielle Mikaelian, a board member of one of the sponsoring groups and a law school student, was among those issuing panicked apologies on X, claiming, “The statement is not representative of my values and my heart is with those impacted.”
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