Recently, billionaire and graduate of Columbia University Leon Cooperman announced he would be ending his donations to the Ivy League school following anti-Israel demonstrations from the student body. In the wake of the horrific attack on Israel, a wave of antisemitic, pro-Hamas sentiment has plagued college campuses around the country.
The successful investor and CEO of Omega Advisors slammed the anti-Israel attitudes shared by the college students at his alma mater, claiming they have “s*** for brains.” Cooperman defended Israel, lauding the nation for its Democracy and tolerant attitudes while explaining the strategic importance of the U.S.’s relationship with the country.
“These kids at the colleges have s— for brains,” Cooperman told “The Claman Countdown” host Liz Claman last week. “We have one reliable ally in the Middle East. That’s Israel. We only have one democracy in the Middle East. That’s Israel. And we have one economy tolerant of different people, gays, lesbians, etc. That’s Israel. So they have no idea what these young kids are doing.”
The billionaire noted the vast amount of wealth he has gifted the school, to the tune of tens of millions over the years. Cooperman explained he would be diverting his funds to other organizations, presumably more in line with his values. “Now, the real shame is, I’ve given to Columbia probably about $50 million over many years,” he said. “And I’m going to suspend my giving. I’ll give my giving to other organizations.”
Cooperman emphasized his disgust for the comments made by members of the University who refused to condemn Hamas’ terrorism, where some allegedly praised the group after it claimed the lives of thousands. “I told [Columbia] that they should fire this professor that made the comments he made. I mean, war is hell. This war is not good for anybody,” Cooperman stated. “But to praise what Hamas did is disgraceful. Disgusting.”
Columbia University President Minouche Shafik released a statement taking a stance for both sides of the violent conflict between Israel and Hamas. “Unfortunately, some are using this moment to spread antisemitism, Islamophobia, bigotry against Palestinians and Israelis, and various other forms of hate,” she said. “Especially at a time of pain and anger, we must avoid language that vilifies, threatens, or stereotypes entire groups of people….It is antithetical to Columbia’s values and can lead to acts of harassment or violence,” Shafik added. “When this type of speech is unlawful or violates University rules, it will not be tolerated.”
Cooperman praised other successful business leaders for taking a similar position as him and refusing to financially support institutions that contradict their personal values. “Listen to what Marc Rowan has to say and what he’s written. He’s on the right track. He’s done a very good job for Apollo in running the business. He’s been very outspoken about his views, and he’s a very generous guy and a good person. And so look at some of these other academic institutions, how they’ve responded,” Cooperman proclaimed. “I think people like Bill Ackman and Marc Rowan and others, Ronald Lauder, are on the right track. You shouldn’t support organizations that are detrimental or in opposition to your views.”
Featured image credit: InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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