Victoria’s Secret Founder Leslie Wexner Severs Financial Ties with Harvard Over Its “Dismal Failure” to Condemn Hamas Attacks

Last week, following the attack on Israel by Hamas, student groups at Harvard immediately signed a letter blaming the whole thing on Israel, an act many of these students already regret.

Harvard’s president released a statement condemining Hamas later, but the damage was already done.

Now, a major foundation and funder, the Wexner Foundation, has cut ties with the school.

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Leslie Wexner, the founder of Victoria’s Secret and chair of The Wexner Foundation, has severed all financial and programmatic ties with woke Harvard University and its Kennedy School of Government.

The decision comes in the wake of what Wexner describes as Harvard’s “dismal failure” to condemn the recent Hamas attacks on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 Jews, including 20 Americans.

The Wexner Foundation has been a long-standing partner of Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), providing scholarships and leadership training to Israeli public service leaders for over three decades.

In a letter to the Harvard Board of Overseers, Wexner and other leaders of the Foundation expressed their deep disappointment in the university’s lack of moral clarity.

“We believed that at its core, HKS was a school with moral purpose, matching the core values we embrace in our own work,” the letter read.

“We are stunned and sickened at the dismal failure of Harvard’s leadership to take a clear and unequivocal stand against the barbaric murders of innocent Israeli civilians by terrorists.”

Read the full letter below obtained by Judah Ari Gross:

More than three decades ago, The Wexner Foundation identified Harvard Kennedy School as the ideal university setting for developing and educating Israel’s Public Service leaders. Central to our choice was Harvard’s rigorous academic standards and the Kennedy School’s steadfast commitment to honoring diversity. We aspired to place emerging leaders among global peers sincerely interested in each other’s perspectives. We were confident our Fellows would be educated by world class faculty uniquely prepared to foster meaningful exchange in the pursuit of deep understanding across cultures and societies. We believed that at its core, HKS was a school with moral purpose, matching the core values we embrace in our own work.

We have observed that this cherished tolerance for diverse perspectives has slowly but perceptibly narrowed over the years. A disappointing consequence of this trend is that our Wexner Israel Fellows are increasingly marginalized, their voices and views even shouted down. Disappointingly, HKS has been slow to craft a strategy to enable Israeli students to engage in productive – even if difficult – dialogue within the school. We believe this is an unfortunate trend for the entire MPA student community.

We are stunned and sickened at the dismal failure of Harvard’s leadership to take a clear and unequivocal stand against the barbaric murders of innocent Israeli civilians by terrorists last Saturday, the Sabbath and a festival day. Since then, many of our Israel Fellows no longer feel marginalized at HKS. They feel abandoned. That feeling is shared by our HKS Israeli Alumni, Foundation staff, and our chairmen. Other university presidents have said precisely what we should have heard immediately from President Gay: “What Hamas did is evil and there is no defense for terrorism. This shouldn’t be hard.” [Ben Sasse, President, University of Florida]. Harvard’s leaders were indeed tiptoeing, equivocating, and we, like former Harvard President Larry Summers cannot “fathom the administration’s failure to disassociate the university and condemn the statement” swiftly issued by 34 student groups holding Israel entirely responsible for the violent terror attack on its own citizens. That should not have been hard. In the absence of this clear moral stand, we have determined that the Harvard Kennedy School and The Wexner Foundation are no longer compatible partners. Our core values and those of Harvard no longer align. HKS is no longer a place where Israeli leaders can go to develop the necessary skills to address the very real political and societal challenges they face.

While we intend to develop new strategies and initiatives to develop Israel’s civil service leaders, The Wexner Foundation is formally ending its financial and programmatic relationships with Harvard and the Harvard Kennedy School. The current class of Wexner Israel Fellows, Class 34, will be the last to complete the MPA Program and we will no longer send Wexner Senior Leaders for the Executive Program.

We make this decision with an unwavering commitment to our Israel Alumni, to Israel’s civil service and to the State of Israel.

The Wexner Foundation’s decision comes after 31 Harvard University student groups signed a letter blaming Israel as “entirely responsible” for the recent attacks by Hamas, a terrorist organization.

The letter was particularly shocking given the gruesome nature of the attacks, which included the killing of 260 young adults at a concert on a Saturday morning.

Adding fuel to the fire, it was revealed that Josh Willcox, 22, a student leader from the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee—one of the groups behind the letter—is the son of wealthy perfume tycoon Jo Malone.

This revelation has led many to question whether the views of these student groups are influenced by personal or financial interests rather than a genuine concern for human rights.

The Wexner Foundation’s bold move serves as a wake-up call for other academic institutions that may be compromising their moral integrity for the sake of political correctness or fear of backlash.

Photo of author
Mike LaChance has been covering higher education and politics for Legal Insurrection since 2012. Since 2008 he has contributed work to the Gateway Pundit, Daily Caller, Breitbart, the Center for Security Policy, the Washington Free Beacon, and Ricochet. He has also written for American Lookout, Townhall, and Twitchy.

You can email Mike LaChance here, and read more of Mike LaChance's articles here.

 

Thanks for sharing!