How Middle Eastern Governments Encourage Anti-Semitism on Campus

June 30, 2020 | Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy
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While the subject of anti-Semitism at American universities has attracted significant attention, relatively little has been paid to the financial role played by countries where anti-Semitism is pervasive. Researchers at the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) have tied the problems faced by Jewish students to the phenomenon of undisclosed donations from foreign governments, often hostile ones:

Between 1986 and 2018, Middle Eastern Muslim countries donated a total of $6.5 billion to U.S. universities, but only $3.6 billion was reported to the federal government. Out of nearly $5 billion donated by Qatar to various institutions, less than $2 billion was properly reported.

ISGAP’s 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), which foster an anti-Semitic and aggressive atmosphere on campus. SJP, which is one of the main organizers of the annual Israel Apartheid Week on college campuses across the country, [is] an organization whose members “regularly demonize Jewish students who identify as Zionists or proud supporters of the state of Israel” and insist that “one cannot be a good Jew while still being a Zionist.”

With the bulk of all Middle Eastern donations emanating from Qatari donors, and the [state-funded] Qatar Foundation accounting for virtually all of the donations from Qatar, these funds have a significant impact on attitudes, anti-Semitic culture, and boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) activities. While a direct causal link has yet to be established, the correlation is too significant to ignore. . . . Research indicates that other countries, including Iran, also engage in such funding activities.

Qatar, the report goes on to note, is the major funder and supporter of Hamas, and of the Muslim Brotherhood across the globe; it also has given a prominent position to the highly influential preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who “calls on all ‘true believers’ to finish the work of Hitler, i.e. to carry out genocide against the Jewish people.”

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