July 20, 2024

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Sullivan & Cromwell will scan new hires for anti-Israel protest activities

2 min read

For months, some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the U.S. have been battling with students as the war between Israel and Hamas has raged on. In the midst of campus protests, schools like Harvard, Columbia, and NYU have tried—and often failed—to uphold longstanding free speech traditions on one hand, while condemning antisemitism on the other. 

Now, one of the country’s preeminent corporate law firms is stepping into the fray, declaring that colleges have failed to protect Jewish students from hateful and antisemitic rhetoric. 

Sullivan & Cromwell, whose recent clients include Amazon, BP, and Goldman Sachs, has employed background check company HireRight to root out job applicants who have participated in recent anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses, according to a recent report from the New York Times

Under the new policy, applicants who have taken part in antisemitic protests, or in demonstrations in which phrases that might be “triggering” to Jews have been uttered, could potentially be disqualified, according to Joseph Shenker, a senior chair at the firm. 

“People are taking their outrage about what’s going on in Gaza and turning it into racist antisemitism,” Shenker told the Times.

According to the Times, the policy could disqualify applicants from the hiring process even if they didn’t participate in controversial chants or rally cries. Simply being present at a protest could warrant scrutiny, and an applicant found to have been at a protest may have to explain to the firm whether they did anything to moderate the behavior of those around them, according to the Times

Gadeir Abbas, an attorney at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Fortune that the new policy was “objectionable.”

“What Sullivan & Cromwell is doing is they’re creating the foundations for future blacklists that will say more about Sullivan & Cromwell than it will about the kids and students that they’re…

Seamus Webster

2024-07-10 17:53:44

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