Anti-Israel Protests Are a Form of “Performative Art”

Anti-Israel protesters are just engaging in a form of performance art, says Citadel CEO Ken Griffin.”Freedom of speech does not give you the right to storm a building or vandalise it,” Griffin said.Griffin said he was pausing his donations to Harvard over its approach to on campus antisemitism.

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Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin, 55, isn’t a fan of the anti-Israel protesters that have taken over American college campuses.”The protests on college campuses are almost like performative art, and we’re not actually helping Palestinians or Israelis with these surreal protests,” the hedge fund billionaire told the Financial Times in a story published Saturday.Pro-Palestinian protests have rocked American colleges like Columbia University and UCLA since April, with students calling upon their schools to sever any financial ties with Israel.The ensuing chaos prompted officials to quell the protests by shutting down encampments and conducting mass arrests. More than 2,800 people have been arrested or detained, according to data collected by The New York Times.”Freedom of speech does not give you the right to storm a building or vandalize it. That’s not freedom of speech. That’s just anarchy,” Griffin said of the student protesters.The US, Griffin said, has “lost sight of education as the means of pursuing truth and acquiring knowledge.” Instead, US colleges were now seized by a narrative that sees the country as one that is “plagued by systemic racism and systemic injustice,” he added.”What you’re seeing now is the end-product of this cultural revolution in American education playing out on American campuses, in particular, using the paradigm of the oppressor and the oppressed,” Griffin said.Representatives for Griffin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent outside regular business hours.

This isn’t the first time Griffin has weighed in on the anti-Israeli sentiment that has gripped US colleges. Back in January, Griffin said he was pausing his donations to his alma mater, Harvard University over its approach to on campus antisemitism.Griffin, who donated over $500 to Harvard over four decades, is one of university’s most generous donors, per The Harvard Gazette.”Are we going to educate the future members of the House and Senate and the leaders of IBM?” Griffin said while attending the Managed Funds Association Network Miami conference in January.”Or are we going to educate a group of young men and women who are caught up in a rhetoric of oppressor and oppressee and, ‘This is not fair,’ and just frankly whiny snowflakes?” he continued.When asked about what Harvard should do next, Griffin told the FT that the Ivy League institution should “embrace our Western values” and get their students to “manifest these values throughout the rest of their life.”Representatives for Harvard didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent outside regular business hours.Griffin’s criticisms of student protesters highlight the huge influence that Corporate America has on higher education. Besides withholding donations, corporate leaders also hold immense power over the career prospects of college graduates.Last month, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods told CNBC that the oil giant “wouldn’t be interested” in hiring students who took part in the anti-Israel protests.In fact, student protesters will soon find that they are “screwed” when it comes to landing a job, “Shark Tank” host and investor Kevin O’Leary told Fox News’ “The Five” earlier this month.”Here’s your résumé with a picture of you burning a flag. See that one. That goes in this pile over here, cause I can get the same person’s talent in this pile that’s not burning anything,” O’Leary said.

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