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Said & Terror Money


Is funding of academic “area studies” giving foreign countries undue influence over our college campuses? A little while ago, I reported that Saudi Prince Alwaleed–the man whose ten million dollar gift was returned by Rudy Giuliani for blaming 9/11 on America’s Israel policy–had started funding colleges and universities. Martin Kramer reports that the upcoming conference of the Middle East Studies Association has 25 scheduled papers on the Palestinians, yet not a single paper on Saudi Arabia. American scholars understand that writing about Wahhabism and terror would scuttle any hope of Saudi funding. Now the New York Sun reports that the newly established “Edward Said Chair” in Middle East studies at Columbia University may have been funded, directly and indirectly, by Palestinian and Saudi money. The Sun also reveals that Rashid Khalidi, the new and first occupant of that chair, has advocated Palestinian violence. Foreign countries are free to donate money, and Americans are free to speak their minds. But in fields of area studies that front directly on American security interests, universities ought to reveal foreign sources of funding. And centers of Middle East studies that are funded by American sources ought to receive priority for federal grants under Title VI.


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