New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is withdrawing funding from his alma mater, Columbia University, because of what he believes is an inadequate response to student protests over Israel.

Saying that he is disturbed by the “virulent hate” spreading throughout the country, Kraft said in a statement on X, “I am no longer confident that Columbia can protect its students and staff, and I am not comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken.”

He is the latest philanthropist to withhold financial support from a university because of its handling of student protests over the war between Israel and Hamas.

Kraft, who is Jewish and founder of the nonprofit Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, has long been outspoken about antisemitism and hate, saying at the 2023 NAACP convention in Boston, “It starts with the Jewish people. It will go to every other minority group. We have to stand together and stand proud, and push back on this to keep the vibrancy of this country.”

Those remarks were delivered on July 30, eight days before the Hamas terror attacks on Israel provoked the war in Gaza and seething unrest in some quarters of America. While some student protests were quickly shut down last fall, others have proliferated. At Columbia, protestors set up a sprawling tent city and more than 100 people were arrested last week as the university called in police to help shut it down.

One Orthodox rabbi told Jewish students they should return home in advance of Passover, which began tonight. Columbia’s president cancelled in-person classes Monday. Meanwhile, the arrests led to protests at other schools including Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford. The New York Times reported that protestors were also arrested at Yale and New York University on Monday.

What I learned from Robert Kraft at the NAACP convention

As Kraft spoke to Sean Hannity on Fox News Monday night, the network was showing live scenes of protestors marching down the streets of New York City. “I never thought I’d see what’s going on America right now, what’s happening right now. It pains me to see it,” said Kraft, whose name is on Columbia’s football field, as well as the school’s Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life.

“When I went Columbia, it was a place where people listened, were empathetic and had compassion. Now we have professors who, instead of teaching how to think, they’re trying to tell young people what they should think,” Kraft said.

He did not specify what “corrective action” the university could take to regain his support, but said that he would continue to support the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life because it is a haven for Jewish students and faculty.

Deseret contributor Theresa Dear, an NAACP board member who heard Kraft speak in Boston, wrote last year that he spoke of the need for unity amid rising incidents of harassment, vandalism, antisemitic tropes on social media and Holocaust denial.

“Additionally, Kraft introduced us to the hashtag #standuptoJewishhate as well as the blue box emoji. The intention is to unite all of us in solidarity and support of the Jewish community,” Dear wrote.

The blue square emoji, which even made it to an episode of “The Voice” last year, shows support for Jewish people, as NBC reported.