Patriots owner Robert Kraft hints at ending donations to Columbia University amid anti-Israel protests - Hindustan Times
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft hints at ending donations to Columbia University amid anti-Israel protests

ByShweta Kukreti
Apr 22, 2024 10:57 PM IST

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has hinted that he will no longer be donating to Columbia University as anti-Israel protest continued on campus.

Following massive protests and arrest of over 100 protestors, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has hinted that he will no longer be donating to Columbia University as anti-Israel protests continued for a sixth day on campus.

In a statement issued through his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) and its #StandUpToJewishHate campaign, Robert Kraft expressed sadness over virulent hate that continues to rise on campus and throughout the United States.(AP)
In a statement issued through his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) and its #StandUpToJewishHate campaign, Robert Kraft expressed sadness over virulent hate that continues to rise on campus and throughout the United States.(AP)

In a statement issued on Monday through his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) and its #StandUpToJewishHate campaign, Kraft expressed sadness over virulent hate that continues to rise on campus and throughout the United States.

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“I am no longer confident that Columbia can protect its students and staff and I am not comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken,” he said in the statement.

“It is my hope that Columbia and its leadership will stand up to his hate by ending these protests immediately and will work to earn back the respect and trust of the many of us who have lost faith in the institution.”

After graduating from Columbia in 1963, Kraft made millions of donations to the university. In 2000, Columbia established the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life and named an athletic field after Kraft's name for his generous contributions to the university.

Also Read: Columbia University cancels in-person classes after rabbi warns Jewish students to go home amid anti-Israel protests

Columbia ‘no longer an institution I recognise’, says Kraft

In the statement, Kraft said he hope Columbia will ensure safety and security of all Jewish students amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

"It was through the full academic scholarship Columbia gave me that I was able to attend college and get my start in life and for that I have been tremendously grateful," Kraft stated. "However, the school I love so much - the one that welcomed me and provided me with so much opportunity - is no longer an institution I recognize."

Meanwhile, reacting to Kraft's post, one X user wrote: “Words are not enough, Mr. Kraft. Stop donating money to@Columbia. Close down the Kraft Center. Get out of NYC. This is an existential threat to the existence of us Jews.”

“Statements mean nothing, stop giving them your $$. Why should students of any religion, race etc be forced to stay in one particular building to be safe,” another user chimed in.

Also Read: Columbia University rabbi asks jewish students to go home over safety concerns

Police have arrested over 100 people after the protests started on or around campus, demanding for a cease-fire in Gaza. Some protestors even camped out in tents on university property.

Jewish students at Columbia raised concerns over their safety as demonstrators continue to chant antisemitic slogans like "Resistance is glorious". Meanwhile, rabbi Elie Buechler warned Jewish students and recommended them to stay away from the varsity until safety conditions have improved substantially.

Meanwhile, Columbia President Minouche Shafik announced a temporarily end to in-person classes to resolve the tense situation.

According to Kraft, she is hopeful that Columbia's administration "will stand up to this hate by ending these protests immediately."

NY Governor condemns antisemitism threats against Jewish students

In an X post published overnight on Sunday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul denounced what she saw as antisemitic threats against Jewish students and glorifying the horrors of October 7. "The First Amendment protects the right to protest but students also have a right to learn in an environment free from harassment or violence," the Democrat wrote.

"At Columbia or on any campus, threatening Jewish students with violence or glorifying the terror of October 7 is antisemitism," she added.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden and White House also denounced the ongoing protests and violence at the university.

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