Penn Loses Billionaire Donor Over ‘Silence’ Regarding Israel

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The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) has lost a major donor over its response to the terrorist group Hamas’ attack on Israel, according to an email obtained by The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Jon Huntsman Jr., a Penn alumnus and former U.S. ambassador with an estimated net worth of $1 billion, sent an email to Penn President Liz Magill condemning the university’s “silence” regarding Hamas’ attack against Israel, the outlet reported Sunday. He accused the university of taking new and troubling ideological directions in recent years. (RELATED: Harvard President Responds To Student Groups Blaming Israel For Hamas Attacks)

“To the outsider, it appears that Penn has become deeply adrift in ways that make it almost unrecognizable. Moral relativism has fueled the university’s race to the bottom and sadly now has reached a point where remaining impartial is no longer an option,” the message reads. “The university’s silence in the face of reprehensible and historic Hamas evil against the people of Israel (when the only response should be outright condemnation) is a new low. Silence is antisemitism, and antisemitism is hate, the very thing that higher ed was built to obviate.”

“Consequently, Huntsman Foundation will close its checkbook on all future giving to Penn — something that has been a source of enormous pride now for three generations of graduates. My siblings join me in this rebuke,” he added.

Huntsman’s family has reportedly donated millions to the school for decades. The main building for Penn’s Wharton School of Businesses — Huntsman Hall — holds Huntsman’s namesake.

In an email sent to the Penn community Oct. 10, Magill and Provost John L. Jackson said Penn administrators were “devastated by the horrific assault on Israel” launched at daybreak Oct. 7.

“These abhorrent attacks have resulted in the tragic loss of life and escalating violence and unrest in the region,” the administrators said. “Many members of our community are hurting right now. Our thoughts are especially with those grieving the loss of loved ones or facing grave uncertainty about the safety of their families and friends.”

Magill condemned the violence in another statement Sunday, calling Hamas’ attack a “terrorist assault,” the Pennsylvanian reported. Huntsman sent his email to the president prior to her more recent statement, according to the outlet.

Liberal student groups blaming Israel for the Hamas attack, paired with initial silence by elite university leadership, has sparked outrage by donors and caused several to distance themselves from their respective institutions. Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer and his wife resigned from the executive board of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government over the school’s response to over 30 student groups signing off on a letter condemning Israel in the wake of the attack.