Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Jewish foundation cuts off millions in funding to Columbia over pro-Palestine protests

The Russell Berrie Foundation, a major donor to Columbia University, has suspended its funding for the Ivy League institution in the wake of pro-Palestine protests on campus, the New York Times reported on Friday.

The Jewish foundation—run by Angelica Berrie and named after her late husband— halted its donations to Columbia in late April, three months after warning in an email that its continuing financial support would depend on the university administrators creating a “tolerant and secure environment” inside the campus by taking adequate action against the protesters.

Columbia president Minouche Shafik in her response to the email did not explicitly address the foundation’s threat of cutting the funds, only stressing that it was her “highest priority” to create “a safe and respectful environment” for students. 

The pro-Palestine encampments and protests seeking for a ceasefire in Gaza and demanding the university authorities to divest from alliances favouring Israel’s genocidal war has been termed as ‘anti-semitism’ by the foundation.

“An unrelenting string of incidents since October 7th shows that the University’s leadership has failed to uphold these principles, confront antisemitism with moral clarity, and demonstrate the resolve to reverse the climate of hate and fear that Jewish members of its community must navigate,” the foundation alleged.

It has reportedly given the Ivy League university a total of around $86 million over the years. With the current decision, a scheduled transfer of more than $600,000 and all future donations to Columbia will be suspended.

The protests spread across US universities against the Washington’s complicity in Israel’s war crimes accounting to a clear-cut case of genocide, was met with a heavy police crackdown.  

Since the first mass arrests at Columbia on April 18, at least 2,600 demonstrators have been detained at more than 100 protests in 39 states and Washington, D.C., according to The Appeal, a nonprofit news organisation.  

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,904 Palestinians have been killed, and 78,514 injured in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

According to Palestinian and international organisations, the majority of those killed and injured are women and children.


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