Following the Hamas terror attacks in Israel last Saturday, a coalition of student groups at Harvard University released a statement that blamed Israel for the terrorism. In turn, hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman shared that CEOs of major corporations were looking for a list of the students in those organizations to avoid hiring them in the future.
This so-called ‘blacklist’ caught the attention of 2024 GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy who tweeted that it is “not productive” to hold the students accountable for making “dumb political statements on campus.”
On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Emily Jashinsky, culture editor for The Federalist, and Eliana Johnson, co-host of Ink-Stained Wretches, to discuss those on the right who are defending the Harvard students and why Megyn would not hire them.
The Anti-Israel Letter
Just hours after the Hamas terror attacks in Israel, the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) published a letter co-signed by more than 30 other Harvard student organizations that stated they “hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence” and “the apartheid regime is the only one to blame.”
It went on from there. “Today’s events did not occur in a vacuum,” the statement reads. “For the last two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open-air prison… The coming days will require a firm stand against colonial retaliation. We call on the Harvard community to take action to stop the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians.”
The statement claims it was “co-authored by a coalition of Palestine solidarity groups at Harvard” and, “for student safety, the names of all original singing organizations have been concealed at this time.”
On X (formerly known as Twitter), Ackman condemned the anonymity. “One should not be able to hide behind a corporate shield when issuing statements supporting the actions of terrorists,” he tweeted. The CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management said the names of the signatories “should be made public so their views are publicly known” so his company and others can make sure they don’t “inadvertently hire” the students. Leaders of FabFitFun, EasyHealth, Dovehill Capital Management, Sweetgreen, and more echoed Ackman’s call.
Cutting the Students Slack
The Harvard letter is but one example of anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses in the wake of the terror attacks, and Megyn said it remains shocking. “You expect terrorists to terror… that’s their bread and butter,” she said. “I don’t expect Americans to back it… We’re gonna back Hamas in the wake of its murder of families, and children, and innocents, and seniors? That piece of it I truly don’t get.”
Despite the rhetoric and actions of pro-Hamas protests at universities around the U.S., Ramaswamy suggested the students deserve leniency. On Saturday, he tweeted that, while the Harvard student groups who co-signed the anti-Israel letter are “simple fools,” colleges “are spaces for students to experiment with ideas” and “sometimes kids join clubs that endorse boneheadedly wrong ideas.”
Ramaswamy said that, as someone who has been “as vocal as anyone in criticizing left-wing cancel culture,” he said “it’s not great now if companies refuse to hire kids who were part of student groups that once adopted the wrong view on Israel.” He surmised that those calling for the list of students will eventually move past their “place of understandable hurt” to see “the wisdom of avoiding these cancel-culture tactics.”
‘I am Pro-Blacklist’
Over the weekend, Megyn responded to Ramaswamy’s tweet on X. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” she tweeted. “They sided with terrorists who murdered children and old women. You’re not clear on this as someone who wants to be president?”
This is not the same, she shared, as growing out of being pro-Greenpeace or pro-choice. “These are young people who are out there demonstrating and writing letters as the murdering is going on of children… siding with terrorists,” she said. “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t want anything to do with any of them.” This is why she considers herself “100 percent pro-blacklist.”
In Megyn’s view, this is not a ‘cancel culture’ issue. “I don’t associate with terrorists, I don’t hire their sympathizers, and I don’t recommend you do it either,” she said. “If you want to hire these terrorist sympathizers, go for it. Good luck.”
As Johnson explained, ‘blacklist’ is the wrong term for this situation. “If [Ramaswamy] thinks these are kids who want to take in silly ideas, he’s free to hire them,” she shared. “There is no blanket blacklist – each private company is free to do what it so chooses.”
Ultimately, Jashinsky said these “kids” are, in fact, adults who are going to need to learn to take responsibility for their actions. “I don’t care what your professors are telling you, and I don’t care what the media is telling you,” she concluded. “If in the hours after a targeted slaughter that’s how you are talking, you have problems that will not be fixed just by maturing and getting older when you’re already an adult human being.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Jashinsky and Johnson by tuning in to episode 648 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.