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Hedge fund manager has blunt advice for Harvard students involved with pro-Hamas groups

Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman advised students in groups that blamed Israel for Hamas' terror attack they're accountable for damage to their own reputations.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman took to social media on Thursday to offer some advice to Harvard students whose membership in student groups that signed on to a pro-Hamas letter following the terror group’s attack on Israel could cost them job opportunities.

Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, received both his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Harvard and on Tuesday called for the university to release the names of members of student groups that signed the letter, which stated that the "Israeli regime is entirely responsible for all unfolding violence." Ackman said that he and other CEOs want to know who is in those groups so the business leaders won’t "inadvertently hire any of their members."

In his reply to a Harvard Law student who had said that she and other group members "had no say" and "weren’t even notified" about whether the groups signed on to the letter, Ackman said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, "If an organization of which you are a member puts out a public statement you disagree with, you have a few choices."

"You can: Stay silent and have the entire world conclude that you stand by the statement. Convince the other members of the group to withdraw or otherwise modify the statement so that it can reflect the views of all members. Or you can resign in protest," Ackman wrote.

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The Harvard Palestine Solidary Committee’s letter was initially signed by more than 30 student groups. Though the Committee’s website states that it is "dedicated to supporting the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, justice, and equality through raising awareness, advocacy, and non-violent resistance," the controversial letter neither condemned the violence of Hamas’ terror attacks nor offered any expression of remorse for the murder of scores of civilians.

Some of those groups have since withdrawn from the letter, with members stating that they hadn't been consulted before their groups signed it. A Google Docs version of the letter that was circulated by the committee was updated Tuesday to remove the names of the groups, and on Thursday it had been deleted or removed from public access.

"Claiming that you had no involvement or knowledge of the statement, but remaining a member of the organization without it withdrawing the statement is perhaps the worst of the alternatives, as it appears to simply be an attempt to avoid accountability while continuing to be a member of the organization," he added.

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Ackman then explained that students should put themselves in the position of a business leader considering whether to hire an applicant who had engaged in behavior that reflects poorly on their character.

"If you were managing a business, would you hire someone who blamed the despicable violent acts of a terrorist group on the victims? I don’t think so. Would you hire someone who was a member of a school club who issued a statement blaming lynchings by the KKK on their victims? I don’t think so," Ackman wrote. 

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He then explained that contrary to the Harvard Law student’s suggestion that it is harassment for a prospective employer to consider a job applicant’s connection to controversial student groups, it is actually their responsibility to consider aspects of their character, given that applicant, once hired, becomes a representative of the company.

"It is not harassment to seek to understand the character of the candidates that you are considering for employment. In fact, as CEO, it is your obligation to do so on behalf of all of the other employees in your company, the clients and customers it serves, and all of your other stakeholders," he added.

Ackman wrote that while he’s heard that some members of the groups that signed on to the letter feel "unsafe," those students should consider "how unsafe it would feel in Israel beginning Saturday early morning and how unsafe it feels now. Ask yourself how unsafe your Jewish classmates feel when 32 clubs published a statement assigning sole responsibility for the heinous, deathly acts of terrorists to Israel and the Jews?"

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