Qatar’s Unreported Donations to American Universities May Feed Campus Anti-Zionism

February 25, 2020 | ISGAP
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On February 12, the Department of Education announced that it suspects Harvard and Yale of failing to report millions of dollars received from China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and elsewhere. The department has also accused several other schools of similar violations, and one professor has been arrested in the course of the investigation. Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy has for years been researching Middle Eastern countries’ donations to American institutions of higher education, and believes there is a connection between these donations, especially those from Qatar, and campus anti-Semitism:

Autocratic Middle Eastern regimes, organizations, foundations, and affiliated private corporations have funneled billions of dollars of unreported funding to American universities in order to demonize Israel on campus. . . . With the bulk of all Middle Eastern donations emanating from Qatari donors (75 percent), and the Qatar Foundation accounting for virtually all of the donations from Qatar, these funds significantly impact attitudes, anti-Semitic culture, and activities of the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS).

Gulf funding of universities and think tanks, especially when such institutions are concerned about future revenue streams, can be a hedge against criticism of the governments providing the funding. . . . However, there is more to such funding than cultivating political influence. Our research has found a correlation between the funding of universities by Qatar and the Gulf states and the presence of groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and a [campus] environment that fosters an anti-Semitic atmosphere, aggressive [toward Jews and supporters of Israel].

While a direct causal link has yet to be established, the correlation is too significant to ignore, especially given the horrendous human-rights records and state-sponsored extremism and anti-Semitism of the countries involved. Research indicates other countries, including Iran, also engage in this sort of funding activities.

Qatar has long been an important source of funds for the Palestinian terror organization Hamas and has forged relationships with Islamist groups from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Taliban. It maintains a Western enclave known as Education City on the outskirts of its capital, Doha, which is home to a number of satellite campuses of prominent American universities, such as Georgetown, Northwestern, and Cornell. Education City is funded by the Qatar Foundation, which maintains close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood-linked theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, . . . who has “called for the destruction of America and for the annihilation of the Jews.”

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