scorecardBillionaire who gave $25m+ to Columbia says students are stupid for not supporting Israel, threatens to stop donating
  1. Home
  2. Education
  3. news
  4. Billionaire who gave $25m+ to Columbia says students are stupid for not supporting Israel, threatens to stop donating

Billionaire who gave $25m+ to Columbia says students are stupid for not supporting Israel, threatens to stop donating

Joshua Zitser   

Billionaire who gave $25m+ to Columbia says students are stupid for not supporting Israel, threatens to stop donating
EducationEducation2 min read
Supporters of both Israel and Palestine engage with each other at Columbia University on October 12, 2023, in New York City.    Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • A billionaire Columbia grad said college students have "shit for brains" for not supporting Israel.
  • The hedge fund boss said he gave millions to Columbia, but he may now stop his donations.

A billionaire who gave more than $25 million to Columbia University said students had "shit for brains" for not supporting Israel, and he may have to donate elsewhere unless he sees a "change.'"

Leon Cooperman, the chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors and a 1967 graduate of Columbia Business School, made the comments during an appearance on "The Claman Countdown" on Fox Business on Wednesday afternoon.

Cooperman told the show that he thinks students attending pro-Palestinian protests at US colleges are foolish, using strong language to describe them.

He was primarily referring to a walkout at Columbia University on Wednesday, where students stepped out of their classes to support Palestinians amid worsening violence in Gaza.

Students across the US held similar protests.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, at least 5,791 Palestinians died in Israeli retaliatory strikes to the terror attack by Hamas on October 7.

Cooperman told Fox Business: "We have one reliable ally in the Middle East, that's Israel. We only have one democracy in the Middle East, that's Israel. We have one economy tolerant of different people, you know, gays, lesbians, etc."

He added: "So, they have no idea what these young kids are doing."

The hedge fund boss said he has given "probably about $50 million over many years" to Columbia University.

According to the university, he pledged a gift of $25 million in 2012 to support the construction of a new building on campus. Other donations he may have made are not public.

However, in light of recent events, he said he may "suspend" his donations.

"Unless I see a change," he said, adding: "I told them that they should fire this professor that made the comments he made."

Joseph Massad, a professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University, wrote in an article on October 8 that Hamas' "astounding" and "incredible" offensives against Israel on October 7 were a "stunning victory."

Some 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, the vast majority in the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7, which saw militants attack people at a music festival and in kibbutzim.

A petition for the removal of Massad, following his comments on the attacks, has garnered some 59,000 signatures at the time of reporting.

Cooperman told Fox Business: "War is hell, war is not good for anybody, but to praise what Hamas did is disgraceful. Disgusting."

In a statement provided to Insider, a Columbia University spokesperson said it is "grateful to Mr. Cooperman for his years of generosity and service to Columbia Business School."

The spokesperson added: "This is a time of crisis for many members of our community and we are focused on providing the support they need while keeping our campus safe."




Advertisement