BY GABRIEL DIAMOND, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR – 11/28/23 8:00 AM ET
Over the last seven weeks, anti-American, anti-Israel and antisemitic activity has consumed higher education. College administrations, flush with foreign cash and taxpayer dollars, continue to give Hamas sympathizers free rein.
Universities must stop hiding behind the cash flowing in from anti-American autocrats. Taxpaying Americans must start asking for a refund.
During the early 20th century, Jewish immigration to the U.S., and subsequent admission of Jews into higher education, skyrocketed. Afraid that wealthy Protestant families would pull their donations, universities established quotas to limit Jewish and Catholic admissions. The Jewish student population plummeted. At the height of these quotas, the percentage of Jewish students was capped at 10 percent or 15 percent of the student body.
The doors began to reopen after World War II, and by 1967, Ivy League universities were admitting Jews at the highest rates in their history. From the 1990s onward, however, there has been a steady decline in Jewish student populations. The coming years will mark another departure — but this time, university inaction may accelerate the decline.
Professors celebrate the massacre of Jewish civilians and justify terrorism. Universities such as Yale defend such behavior by faculty in the name of free speech, and some even reward it with paid leave, as Cornell has done.
Student groups, particularly Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (don’t let the name fool you), threaten Jews and sow hatred. Columbia stands as one of the few outliers in suspending these two organizations, albeit for just six weeks. Other universities that seek to regain the respect they lost by remaining silent in the face of pro-terrorist campus demonstrations would be wise to follow suit.
But why does higher education protect those who actively threaten both Jews and the U.S.? Everyone knows universities are beholden to their massive endowments. So, follow the money.
Immediately following the September 11 terror attacks, Qatar began pumping money into American universities, delivering $4.7 billion over two decades (over $200 million on average each year). At the same time, six major American universities established “foreign campuses” within Qatar. Qatar has made headlines for facilitating the recent hostage release from Gaza, but it has acted for years as a safe haven for Hamas political leadership and is one of Hamas’ most prominent financial backers.
According to the Department of Education, universities also accept massive funding from China, the nation that threatens our economic and security interests, exploits Tibetans for forced labor and abuses Muslim minorities in “reeducation” camps.
Why do today’s funders of American higher education include countries whose values and interests are antithetical to our own?
A 2020 study by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism & Policy reveals a direct correlation between donations to universities by Qatar and other Gulf States and the presence of SJP groups on campus. In the wake of Oct. 7, SJP chapters have organized rallies across college campuses, many of which have glorified Hamas terrorists as “martyrs,” called for a “globalization” of terrorist violence, and demanded the elimination of the Jewish state.
The founder of SJP, Hatem Bazian, also founded American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), and SJP continues to receive training and funding from AMP. AMP’s leadership is intimately linked with the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and its financial wing, the Holy Land Foundation. The IAP has been found civilly liable for Hamas terror attacks, and HLF has sent millions of dollars directly to Hamas.
Given that Qatar funds Hamas, and Hamas is closely tied to SJP, it naturally follows that university administrations sitting on cash piles from Qatar would take a hands-off approach to SJP. It should come as no surprise that students who justify terrorism enjoy greater university protection than the students they terrorize.
Universities beholden to malign foreign actors operate on American soil. And they do so with your money.
Public colleges, by definition, receive funding from the state or federal government. The small print does not tell you that private universities do too. In the last five years, ten universities have collected $33 billion in federal grants and contracts. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn, Stanford and Northwestern — schools whose endowments range from $6.5 billion to $50.9 billion — have collectively received $6.6 billion each year from taxpayers. The vast majority of this money, 88 percent, comes in the form of grants rather than contracts, meaning the federal government and taxpayers receive nothing in return.
Money flows in from terror-sponsoring regimes. More cash gets delivered in grants from the government. Students and professors freely intimidate, harass, and express terrorist sympathies. University administrators are nowhere to be found. If they allow the students and professors to continue, more money will flow from Qatar or China, and federal funding will persist.
The monetary interests governing universities stand in direct contradiction to this nation and its hard-working inhabitants. Jewish students, once fighting to enter these campuses, are now fleeing from them. Until the money moves, taxpayers should ask for theirs back.
Gabriel Diamond is a senior at Yale University studying political science and a research assistant at Yorktown Institute. Talia Dror is a junior at Cornell University studying industrial and labor relations, business, and legal policy. Jillian Lederman is a senior at Brown University studying political science and economics.