Report: Pro-Israel billionaires urge New York crackdown on Gaza protests

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Leaked WhatsApp messages reveal that a group of powerful businessmen discussed pressuring officials to crack down on pro-Palestine protesters at Columbia University. According to the Washington Post, these businessmen, including Howard Schultz, Michael Dell, Bill Ackman, and Joshua Kushner, donated to New York City Mayor Eric Adams and offered to pay for private investigators to help break up the demonstrations.
Despite their efforts, the protests were eventually cleared last month amid criticism of the heavy-handed police response. The businessmen also held a video meeting with Mayor Adams, where they discussed ways to end the protests.
However, the use of force against pro-Palestine activism has raised concerns over the repression of political expression at universities. Student protesters have called for divestment from companies involved in Israel’s war in Gaza and boycotts of Israeli institutions, leading to clashes with pro-Israel groups.
While some argue that cracking down on the protests is necessary to ensure the safety of Jewish students, others point out that pro-Palestine students – many of whom are Jewish themselves – have faced violence at demonstrations across the country with little support from authorities.
In response to the treatment of student protesters, a union representing graduate student workers in California authorized a strike over the violence at universities like UCLA, where pro-Israel individuals attacked pro-Palestine activists with metal pipes and mace. Despite the violence, police moved in to clear the pro-Palestine encampment, further escalating the situation.

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