Middle East studies in the News
The Saudi Fifth Column On Our Nation's Campuses
by Lee Kaplan
From Riyadh to Ramallah to the Ivy League, the Saudi Wahhabi lobby and money machine is funding the goals of radical Islam and undermining America's efforts to prosecute the War On Terror.
The press recently reported new closures by the Department of Justice of Saudi "charitable" fronts like the Muslim World League, the Al-Haramain Foundation, the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), and others which raised money for Al Qaeda, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But the government has so far ignored an even larger network of Saudi front groups working toward parallel ends.
This network is embedded deep within our system of higher education, including many of our most prestigious universities. The Saudis have steadily infiltrated American educational institutions, using vast infusions of money to turn the American educational system against US support for Israel and in favor of the Saudi vision of a global Muslim state in which not only Jews but Christians and all infidels will have subordinate status to the followers of the "true faith." At the same time they look to affect American policy in the Middle East and public opinion in the US in a way to aid their Wahhabist goals.
Saudi Wahhabism fuels a particular hatred for the West and its liberalism regarding religious tolerance and human rights. It views attempts by the West to promote democratic reforms in the medieval Arab monarchy of the Saudi royal family as an affront to Islam. In other words, it shares the religious and political views of its wayward-but not forgotten- son, Osama Bin Laden.
Accordingly, the Saudi royal family has been waging its own quiet jihad of ideas and disinformation to advance its goals. It has also financed terrorist activities of Al Qaeda and Palestinian radicals. The US Senate Judiciary Committee recently heard testimony from fellow senators and terrorism experts that the Bush administration has failed to recognize the dangers of Saudi influence, having left the Kingdom in control of most of the Muslim organizations in the United States. For instance, 80% of the mortgages on mosques in the US are paid for by the Wahhabist Saudis.
Over the last 30 years the Saudi Royal Family has contributed upwards of 70 billion US dollars to infiltrate worldwide institutions with propaganda against the West and Israel. This sum, it has been observed, makes the one billion dollars per annum spent by the Soviet Union during the Cold War for Communist propaganda pale by comparison.  The Saudis see donations to our universities as a way of promoting their political and religious propaganda. To quote their English language daily, Ain Al Yaqueen: "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz has positively shouldered responsibility and played a promising role in order to raise the banner of Islam all over the globe and raise the Islamic call either inside or outside the kingdom."
The new head of Middle East Studies at UC Santa Barbara, Stephen Humphreys, holds a chair named after Aziz himself. The head of the Muslim American Society , W. Deen Muhammed, has stated that Saudi gifts require the receiver to prefer the Saudi "school of thought." While Humphreys denies there are strings attached, one wonders how likely a thesis on Saudi misogyny or their educational system teaching hatred of Americans, Jews and Christians would go over in Saudi funded departments if someone hoped to advance or be tenured.
One wonders why a theocratic totalitarian regime where 30% of the population is illiterate and where PhDs teach that Jews use the blood of gentile children to make matzoh would take such interest in the American educational system instead of their own.Yet the money the Saudis are pouring into our universities and colleges as gifts and endowments is alarming: King Fahd donated $20 million dollars to set up a Middle East Studies Center at the University of Arkansas; $5 million was donated to UC Berkeley's Center For Mideast Studies from two Saudi sheiks linked to funding Al Qaeda;  $2.5 million dollars to Harvard; $8.1 million dollars to Georgetown including a $500,000 scholarship in the name of President Bush; $11 million dollars to Cornell; $1.5 million dollars to Texas A&M; $5 million dollars to MIT; $1 million dollars to Princeton; Rutgers received $5 million dollars to endow a chair as did Columbia which tried to hide where the money came from. Saudi largesse included UC Santa Barbara; Johns Hopkins; Rice University; American University in Washington, D.C.; University of Chicago; Syracuse University; USC; UCLA; Duke University; and Howard University among many others.
Saudi infiltration works on several levels. By creating new Middle East Studies Centers and such endowed chairs on campuses across the US, the Saudis are able to influence the curriculum taught to the next generation of American students about the Middle East situation as taught at Saudi-funded madrassas both here and abroad. That curriculum is decidedly anti-Western and full of incitement against Christians and Jews. Based not on truth as much as the agenda of the totalitarian regime in power, it "molds" the next generation to hate Israel and to hate America as an "imperialist" or "racist" nation.
For example, according to Middle East historian Martin Kramer, Columbia University has become the "Bir Zeit (University) on -the- Hudson". Bir Zeit is a university built for the Palestinians by Israel in the West Bank. Instead of its being a source for educational prosperity and peace, it is a breeding ground for totalitarian terrorist ideologues and their ilk. Faculty write scholarly works about Middle East history against the US and Israel as a matter of course. At Columbia, Palestinians dominate the teaching of the modern Middle East and do not encourage a diversity of approaches in doing so.  When a chair is endowed by Saudi money it is filled by academics known for their Palestinian or Saudi activism less than for their scholarship.
Thus Columbia's new chair was given to Rashid Khalidi, a University of Chicago historian and Palestinian activist. Khalidi took over the "Edward Said Chair Of Arab Studies." Said, who died recently, and who was raised in Egypt, was a member of the Palestine National Council and anti-Israel activitist thought the Oslo peace process was a "sellout."  He was an English literature professor, whose expertise was Jane Austen, yet his anti-American and anti-Israel writings dominate the perspectives of Middle East Studies departments across the nation.
Khalidi is on record defending the killing of Israeli soldiers: "Killing civilians is a war crime, whoever does it, but resistance to occupation is legitimate in international law".  Khalidi is an obsessive Israel basher and has stated Americans are "brainwashed" by the Middle East's only democracy. He also considered US popular support for overthrowing Saddam Hussein an "idiots' consensus". 
Another Palestinian professor in Columbia's Middle East Studies program is Joseph Massad, who also rails against the US and Israel. Massad likes to denigrate American democracy by alluding to early 19th century history when slavery was a worldwide institution, and accuses America of nuclear genocide for using the atomic bomb to end World WarII. He has also characterized Israel as an "imperialist" and "colonial" concoction of the Europeans. 
With Khalidi's appointment as chair and Massad as the main teacher of politics and history of the Middle East at Columbia, what students will be exposed to with no alternative views isn't hard to imagine. Even Lisa Anderson, head of International Studies at Columbia has conceded publicly that Middle East Studies at Columbia are not balanced, nor are they at other Middle East Studies centers nationwide. What is more telling is that Columbia tried to conceal where the money came from to fund Khalidi's chair until pressure from outside academics and even the state of New York required it. Daniel Pipes has remarked that choosing Khalidi for the Columbia chair is "particularly egregious because he is one of a team of Palestinian falsifiers who are all giving us this propagandist, non-scholarly interpretation of the Middle East" and that Columbia's cover-up of the donors "doesn't smell right". Steve Emerson, who reports to Congress frequently on terrorism issues, has stated publicly that "Khalidi's statements raise serious questions about his attitudes on violence" 
But Columbia is not alone. Such departments and professors are now found in Middle East Studies programs nationwide.
UC Berkeley's Center For Middle East Studies website boasts of receiving a $5 million dollar grant courtesy of Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Sheikh Salahudin Yusef Hamza Abdeljawad, another major donor. Both are linked to Islamic charities which the US government says are front groups for funding Al Qaeda and both are now part of a $1 trillion dollar lawsuit by the families of the victims of 9/11.
Their contributions link through a labyrinth of front banks and charitable institutions which ultimately finance terrorism against the West. Al-Saud gives generously to the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, the Muslim League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth—all established fronts for terrorist funding named by the US State Department. And Abdeljawad is linked to the Saudi Dar-Al_Maal-Islami Bank founded by Osama Bin Laden and managed by Osama Bin Laden's brother that is known by the State Department to also fund terrorism as well. Did the Sultan Al-Saud give money knowingly to charity that made its way to Bin Laden? 
A visit to the Sultan's foundation website in Saudi Arabia tells much more. It lists a "Higher Council" or board of directors which includes one Abdulrahman bin Ali Jeraisy who has been openly funding Al Qaeda according to a report to Congress. UC Berkeley's Saudi funded academics have more than satisfied Saudi goals of using US campuses to teach hate for America and Israel. The Israel divestment petition was begun at UC Berkeley and has been promoted by faculty there.  A Jewish student who complained to her Arabic instructor about the anti-semitic Protocols Of the Elders Zion was told that the ficitious "protocols" were indeed written by Jews. She was then attacked by the instructor's supervisor, who openly called her a liar and threatened her with a libel suit. He even lied to the press claiming an investigation had been conducted of the student's claims when the student was never interviewed. The instructor held so firm to his comment about Jews being authors of the forgeries that the campus newspaper believed afterward that the "protocols: were actually written by Jews. 
Saudi endowed chairs and departments have produced faculty at the college level in America who spout the propaganda provided to 8th graders in Saudi Arabian schools, where textbooks claim that Jews "are people of treachery and betrayal." At Connecticut State University, Norton Mezvinsky, has declared Judaism a religion of "racism" whose followers believe that "the blood of non-Jews has no intrinsic value" and that the killing of non-Jews does "not constitute murder according to the Jewish religion" and that Judaism teaches "the killing of innocent Arabs for revenge is a Jewish virtue." While textbooks in Saudi Arabia claim "the Zionist Jews are the enemies of Islam and supporters of the modern Crusaders" Joel Beinin, Middle East Studies professor at Stanford and former head of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), rails against America's "Zionist lobby" that controls the US government by blocking democracy and economic development in the Arab world" and uses power "to make and unmake regimes". 
The University of Arkansas Middle East Studies department, set up under King Fahd, offers an Arabic language program. A sample newsletter published by the department contains a full-page poem translated by some of the studnet body's Arabic language students entitled "A Letter To A Faraway Friend (from inside the occupied territory)". The poem subtly demeans Israel and praises martyrdom and death.  The sole guest lecturer to the department mentioned on its site is Joel Beinin.
Examples abound on campuses all over the country. Harvard received a $2 million dollar grant from Sheik Khalid Al Turki. For its graduation ceremony it chose a student, Zayed Yasin, for commencement speaker. His speech? "My American Jihad." Yasin has voiced his support for Hamas and says suicide bombers should be paid. He also has raised money for the Holy Land Foundation, one of the Islamic charities shut down by the Bush administration as a front for Al-Qaeda. Prince Alaweed Bin Talal recently donated $500,000 to Georgetown University for a scholarship program in President Bush's name. Alaweed also recently donated $27 million dollars to Hamas. Martin Kramer's book "Ivory Towers On Sand: The Failure Of Middle East Studies" illustrates many other similar situations on US campuses to show how pervasive this has become. 
Saudi money sets up these academic departments with anti-American and anti-Israel agendas, but U.S. taxpayers underwrite the programs themselves. This is done through Title VI funding mandated by Congress. Originated in the late 1950's during the Cold War, Title VI received an additional $86 million dollars after 9/11 as part of the Education Act. This allowed the creation of 118 Middle East Resource Centers at US colleges and universities where Arabic would be taught and security analysis developed in the War On Terror. Yet the program has been seriously abused. The idea was that the universities would provide an understanding of the Middle East and Arab language experts for the military and intelligence services. But most Middle East Studies departments let their students slide by with minimal Arabic instruction. The focus is on research articles which serve the worldwide cause of jihad when they have any contemporary relevance. It goes also for "outreach" programs to secondary schools which are little more than propaganda efforts against Israel and the United States.
At Georgetown University such an outreach program is provided for teachers from kindergarten level through the 12th grade. Seminars are packed with Arab anti-war activists opposed to the removal of Saddam Hussein by the US military. One of these "academics" was in fact once a public relations consultant for Saddam Hussein and blamed the oppression of Iraq's people by Saddam Hussein on the United States. No opposing views were presented.
Once the Saudi endowments are complete, matching funds are then provided by the US taxpayer, who refreshes the Saudi investment with matching funds through Title VI. One "scholar" who lobbied for the continuation of such funding to the State Department recently was Hussein Ibish, a non-academic and leader of the radical American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. 
Besides paying the salaries of academics who advance the Saudi "point of view", Title VI money goes to what could be considered the Saudis' "foot soldiers" on campus, activists who will spread the word beyond the scholarly community. Co-mingled funding for Middle East centers goes into stipends, scholarships and fellowships for Arab students to support them in their work as activists spearheading Muslim and Palestinian groups on campus. While handpicked Arab professors and sympathizers "reeducate" the student body to the proper "point of view," these student activist groups carry it forward, creating an atmosphere that permeates campuses with anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda. A tour of any major campus will reveal the prevalance of professionally produced flyers posted against Israel and "Zionists" (the new euphemism for Jews) or against American policy in Iraq, and "film festivals" and lectures devoted to crude attacks on alleged Israeli "massacres" and other alleged atrocities.
All this is made possible by the Title VI funding of stipends to Middle East Studies students. Arab students may train overseas during the summer in "activism" then return to campus to ply their skills. As a result, anti-Semitic attacks are on the increase on our college campuses. Not long ago Jewish students at San Francisco State needed to be escorted to safety by off-campus city police during a pro-Israel rally, causing one professor to remark it was like Germany in the 1930's. At Concordia University, 1,500 "students" showed up to create a riot and prevent former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from speaking about terrorism on that campus and ticket holders needed a police escort off campus as well.
This tide of abuse needs to be addressed. Academic departments with political agendas is a new phenomenon on American campuses and directly violates the principles of Academic Freedom established by the American Association of University Professors and long recognized by accrediting institutions. Congress has recently taken a needed step to oversee the way it provides Title VI needs to take a hard look at the way it provides money to underwrite these programs. University trustees and administrators need to do likewise.
 Source: US Dept. of Education (figures may be higher due to more current donations).
 www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=5101 also: www.wrmea.com/backissues/1188/8811050.htm (note discussion of American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee touring Saudi information minister) also: http://kyl.senate.gov/legis_center/subdocs/091003_epstein.pdf also: www.us-israel.org/jsource/US-Israel/lobby.htmlNote: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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