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McKinsey says it canceled sponsorship of Arab Conference at Harvard

The consulting giant was a major corporate sponsor of the weekend gathering before learning of the antisemitic views of one of the speakers

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Harvard University,Boston.

The consulting giant McKinsey & Company announced on Monday that it “stepped away” from last weekend’s Arab Conference at Harvard after learning of antisemitic views of one of its speakers. 

The firm’s statement followed a Jewish Insider report from the McKinsey-sponsored conference, where speakers including former Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) urged students to protest “apartheid” Israel. 

“When we learned late last week that a speaker at an event our recruiting team was sponsoring at Harvard University had a history of anti-Semitic comments, we immediately stepped away from the conference, canceled our in-person recruiting meeting and withdrew two speakers from the program,” the statement said. “We condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms and stand for inclusion and tolerance everywhere.”

As of Tuesday evening, McKinsey is still listed as a “close circle sponsor” of the conference — the highest level of sponsorship — on the conference website. The recruiting session still appears on the schedule, and a page listing the time and place of the McKinsey recruiting session, which was set to take place on Sunday, is still active. (A revised schedule sent to attendees on Sunday morning did not list the McKinsey session. JI reached out to conference organizers to ask whether the session took place, but they did not respond.) 

McKinsey’s statement does not specify which speaker the company was referencing, and a spokesperson declined to comment further. DJ Carella, the firm’s global director of media relations and corporate communications, did not respond to questions about the speaker or why the organization was still listed as a sponsor on the conference website. 

In a Tuesday night email to students and donors, Harvard Hillel’s executive director, Rabbi Jonah Steinberg, lamented Sarsour’s message that Zionists are trying to silence her and “our Arab peers and colleagues at Harvard.” Jewish students at Harvard, Steinberg wrote, experience such accusations “as painful and prejudiced.” 

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