Billionaire founder of Victoria’s Secret withdraws funding from Harvard University, accusing the school of ‘miserable failure’ in taking a stand in favor of Israel


Les WexnerGuy Labrete/AP

  • The Jewish charity founded by a retail billionaire Les Wexner It severed ties with Harvard University.

  • The Wexner Foundation accused Harvard University of “miserable failure” to condemn Hamas attacks last week.

  • Other wealthy alumni and donors have criticized the elite schools for insufficient support of Israel.

Wexner, the billionaire retailer and founder of Victoria’s Secret, is not The latest to withdraw funding from the elite school Following last week’s attacks.

The Wexner Foundation, a Jewish charitable foundation founded by the retailer, cut ties with Harvard University, citing the university’s response last week to the matter. Hamas attacks in Israel. The move is made by investors, executives and donors They invited Ivy League schools To be more vocal in standing with Israel and condemning anti-Semitism.

“Harvard’s leaders were actually tiptoeing and evasive,” he said. statement It was posted on X, and signed by Leslie and Abigail Wexner, as well as Wexner Foundation President Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson and the Director General of Israel, Raanan Avital.

A representative of the organization confirmed the authenticity of the statement to Insider.

“In the absence of this clear ethical position, we have determined that the Harvard Kennedy School and the Wexner Foundation are no longer compatible partners. Our core values ​​and those of Harvard are no longer compatible,” the statement said.

Beyond last week’s developments, the statement noted that the Kennedy School of Government’s tolerance for diverse viewpoints has waned “slowly but significantly” in recent years, and that Wexner’s colleagues have seen “even their own voices and viewpoints cry out in silence.”

“Many of our Israeli colleagues no longer feel marginalized at Hong Kong College. They feel abandoned,” the statement read. The Foundation supports a fellowship for government and public service professionals from Israel who are pursuing a one-year degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.

The Kennedy School did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story.

Wexner built his fortune as a founder From companies including Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. He launched the Wexner Foundation in 1983 with the goal of “promoting leadership for the Jewish people,” according to a foundation report. website.

The mogul resigned from leadership at the retail brands after the revelations “Close Personal Friends” with Jeffrey Epstein, Who was convicted of sexual assault. A spokesperson for Wexner said in 2019 that the businessman had cut ties with Epstein years earlier.

Monday’s announcement ends a partnership that has spanned more than three decades and provided management and leadership training for Israeli government employees at the Ivy League’s School of Public Affairs.

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