Taxpayer-Funded Universities Take Billions from the Middle East

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: A new report from Network Contagion Research Institute uncovers billions of dollars elite universities have received, and some subsequently withheld information about, from foreign governments — most of which are America’s enemies.

The findings: Universities that received money from Middle Eastern countries from 2015 to 2020 — nations such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — had 300% more antisemitic incidents on campus than those that did not accept Arab funds.

  • Authoritarian money: Universities that received money from any authoritarian state had 250% more antisemitic incidents on campus than those that did not accept foreign funds.

  • There’s more: Universities that withheld information about donations were approximately 85% more likely to have campaigns looking to censor, investigate, or fire (ie. “cancel”) academics.

Zoom out: Section 117 of the Higher Education Act requires any taxpayer-funded university to publicly report, twice each year, gifts from any foreign entity that exceed 250,000 dollars.

  • Billions: Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was among the first to raise the flag on lax law enforcement and unreported foreign donations in 2020. A DeVos-initiated investigation yielded more than 6 billion dollars in previously unreported foreign funds.

Why it matters: While this money is not the sole culprit behind anti-Israel sentiment on too many campuses, it raises important questions universities must answer when they take money from Hamas-supporting countries in the Middle East and then seem to be too soft on pro-terrorism demonstrations on their campuses.

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