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Billionaires like ex-CEO of Starbucks, Dell fund crackdown on pro-Palestine campus protests

Billionaires like ex-CEO of Starbucks, Dell fund crackdown on pro-Palestine campus protests

A recent report by the Washington Post has revealed that a group of powerful businessmen, including Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and Dell CEO Michael Dell pressured New York City Mayor Eric Adams to intensify police action against pro-Palestinian student protesters at Columbia University.

The revelations, based on leaked WhatsApp conversations, indicate that billionaires, including the CEOs of Starbucks and Dell, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, Joshua Kushner (brother of Jared Kushner, who served as a Middle East advisor during Donald Trump's presidency), Daniel Lubetzky (founder of a snack company), hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, billionaire Len Blavatnik, and real estate investor Joseph Sitt, coordinated to influence public perception and policy regarding Israel’s conflict with Gaza.

They sought to sway Mayor Adams and the president of Columbia University to suppress the protests, which drew criticism for the heavy-handed response by law enforcement.

The effort, aimed at curbing demonstrations against Israel’s military actions in Gaza, involved significant financial contributions to the mayor and offers to fund private investigations.

One participant in the chat group reportedly donated the maximum legal amount of $2,100 to Mayor Adams, reflecting a broader strategy of leveraging financial influence to shape political actions.

Some members of the group also proposed financing private investigators to assist the New York Police Department (NYPD) in managing the protests, a suggestion that was allegedly accepted by Adams, although city officials have denied that private investigators were deployed.

The crackdown at Columbia University aligns with a broader national trend where universities are employing forceful measures against pro-Palestinian activism. These actions have raised concerns about the suppression of political expression on campuses.

In some instances, universities have managed to negotiate with student protesters, who are calling for divestment from companies involved in the Gaza conflict and advocating boycotts of Israeli institutions.

Despite the police interventions, the spirit of pro-Palestinian protesters has not been dampened. In many cases, the forceful responses have galvanized additional support from faculty and fellow students.

Proponents of the crackdown argue that such measures are necessary to ensure the safety of Jewish students, some of whom have expressed discomfort over anti-Israel sentiments at the protests. However, many pro-Palestinian activists, including Jewish students, have been the primary victims of violence during these protests, often without receiving significant concern from authorities.

The tension between supporters and opponents of the protests has led to significant unrest on campuses. In California, a union representing approximately 48,000 graduate student workers recently authorized a strike in response to the treatment of student protesters.

At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a pro-Israel group attacked a pro-Palestine encampment with metal pipes and mace while police allegedly did not intervene, resulting in the hospitalization of several activists. The following day, police cleared the pro-Palestine encampment, escalating the conflict further.

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TAGS:HamasGenocideStarbucksIsrael Palestine ConflictIsrael War on Gaza
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