From the Left



Qatar Connection: American Universities Have Some Explaining To Do

Jeff Robbins on

Columbia may be the gem of the ocean, but the Ivy League university in New York that bears its name has become known as American academia's preeminent breeding and stomping ground for antisemites posing as progressives. As a House Committee put it last Monday in a document demand served on Columbia University administrators, "An environment of pervasive antisemitism has been documented at Columbia for more than two decades before the October 7, 2023, terrorist attack" that slaughtered 1,200 Israelis.

Since Oct. 7, Columbia's campus has more nearly resembled 1930's Berlin than an institution of higher learning. Jewish students have been widely victimized by assaults, harassment, intimidation, invective, bullying and ostracism. As the Committee noted, "social media platforms (have been) flooded with antisemitic messages by Columbia students." Columbia Professor Joseph Massad pronounced the decapitation, dismembering, burning alive, blowing to pieces and raping of Israelis "innovative Palestinian resistance," to say nothing of "astonishing," "awesome," "astounding," "incredible" and inspiring "jubilation and awe."

In a recent piece in Tablet Magazine entitled "What Happens When You Teach at Columbia and Reject Hamas," Shai Davidai, a Jewish assistant professor at Columbia Business School, and his wife, both outspoken critics of Benjamin Netanyahu's government, described how they have been subjected to torrential venom since speaking out against the Hamas slaughter. "Every morning, as we sift through the hundreds of hateful emails and online comments that Shai receives each day, we are reminded that life will never be the same again," they write. "From memes of rats with big, curving noses to threats of physical violence, from the publicizing of our personal information to the dissemination of egregious lies about Shai and his parents ... to conspiratorial antisemitic rants, we believe we've seen it all."

"Shai is regularly called a Nazi, a Zionist pig, a genocidal baby murderer, a kike," they write. "Thousands have called for his death."

The U.S. Department of Education has added Columbia to the list of universities it is investigating for potential civil rights violations. Columbia may be in a class by itself in the Vicious Bigotry Department, but it isn't alone. What is happening there is playing out at colleges and universities across America.

Some pronounce themselves aghast at what they regard as the sheer effrontery of Congress for investigating whether or not prominent universities look the other way at rampant abuse and violence in order to placate left wing students and faculty. They shouldn't: American taxpayers pay these institutions tens of billions of dollars a year in subsidies and tax breaks. Congress -- which doles out this financial support -- is hardly required to stick its head in the sand, or be a potted plant.

Americans aren't the only ones funding these schools. Document Request No. 23 in the House Committee's document demand of Columbia requires evidence of "all donations and funding to Columbia from Qatari sources since January 1, 2021." This is going to engender some queasiness in Doha as well as Morningside Heights. Since Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza in 2007, Qatar has strategically donated almost $6 billion to 61 American schools, including Ivy League ones.


This is not oh-so-generous interest in American education on the part of Qatar, which has all of 313,000 citizens. There may just be a bit of an agenda here, with grateful recipients of Qatari largesse more than happy to be helpful.

After Iran, there is no government on Earth more responsible for Hamas' atrocities than Qatar. Since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007, Qatar has given Hamas some $1.8 billion. It provides safe harbor to Hamas' top leadership, who live in Qatar in luxury while Gazans live in squalor. Its state-owned media mouthpiece, Al Jazeera, glorifies Hamas and amplifies its messages worldwide. On Oct. 7, the very day of Hamas' massacre, Qatar issued a statement holding "Israel alone responsible" for the massacre of Israelis.

Louis Brandeis famously pointed out that "sunlight is the best disinfectant." The House Committee investigation that Columbia and its fellow Ivy League universities face, and fear, seems very likely to shed light on an insidious infection, one that has festered for far too long.


Jeff Robbins, a former assistant United States attorney and United States delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, was chief counsel for the minority of the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. An attorney specializing in the First Amendment, he is a longtime columnist for the Boston Herald, writing on politics, national security, human rights and the Mideast.

Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.




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