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Audio Recording of the 3rd IAM Conference "Who Sponsors Israel's Delegitimization on Campus?"

Click to listen

From the left: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Ofira Seliktar, Clemens Heni, Dana Barnett



Op-Ed: Who Funds the “Academic Scholarship” that Delegitimizes Israel?

Universities, Institutes, journals, Aramco, foundations, academic chairs are all funded by Arab money - and truth plays no role in their scholarly endeavors.



Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Ofira Seliktar

“The issue of who finances the so-called ‘academic scholarship’ that delegitimizes the State of Israel, and of who supports the various campus activities against it, is extremely complex and multifaceted. The partial initiatives to study this subject are far from adequate.

“Yet we know certain facts concerning this topic. Various foundations, mainly with Arab and Muslim donors, play a leading role in funding Middle East and Israel scholarship throughout the world. Many donations are dispersed through foundations set up by royal families.”

Ofira Seliktar is professor of political science (emerita) at Gratz College, Pennsylvania, and a former scholar in residence at the Middle East Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of nine books and scores of articles on American intelligence.

Seliktar gives a number of examples. “The Saudi Prince Waleed Al Talal Foundation stands out with regard to the size of its donations in the United States. It has funded, for instance, Middle East centers in elite universities, including Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, and Berkeley.

“The Sultan bin Abdul Aziz ibn Saud Foundation is another prominent Saudi foundation. It has donated large sums of money to the Middle East center at Berkeley as well as to a number at other American universities. The Saudi Khalid Bin Abdullah, Bin Abdul Rahman al Saud Foundation has endowed a chair at Harvard University.

...The Mustazafeen Foundation...the largest parastatal conglomerate in Iran, created by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 has given grantsto more than thirty universities across North America.
“The Sultan of Oman Foundation has also endowed a chair at Harvard University. Qatar is a relative newcomer to the field. It is developing a highly ambitious program to shape Western higher education. A foundation has been set up by the country’s Ibn Kahlifa Al Thani ruling family. It has already become a major player in Middle Eastern and foreign policy scholarship.

“Iran is promoting the Shi’ite version of Islam and Iranian foreign policy. Its funding is funneled through the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Culture and Guidance, the Ministry of Information and Security -- which is responsible for intelligence -- as well as a multitude of religious foundations. A very prominent one is the Alavi Foundation, which, in turn, is run by the Mustazafeen Foundation. The latter is the largest parastatal conglomerate in Iran, created by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The Alavi Foundation has given grants to more than thirty universities across North America. The sanctions designed to roll back Iran’s nuclear program did not impact the Mustazafeen Foundation, which, as a parastatal group, has its own budget.

“Many prominent institutes and journals have also received large donations from Arab sources. These include the Middle East Policy Council and its Middle East Policy Journal. This journal published, for instance, the initial essay of John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt on the Israel Lobby, which was later published as a book.

“Yet another institute subsidized by Arab donors is the Institute for Palestine Studies. Its publication, The Journal of Palestine Studies, pioneered the academic studies of ‘Israel as a Colonial State’ and ‘Israel as an Apartheid State’. The Qatar Foundation bought the printing giant, Elsevier Press. It publishes, inter alia, Lancet, a very prestigious medical publication. Lancet has published, for instance, an inflammatory op-ed on alleged Israeli atrocities during the Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014.

“A second source of anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian scholarship are free-standing foundations. Much publicity was given in the early 2000s to the activities of the Ford Foundation. In 2003, Edwin Black published a series of articles for the Jewish Telegraph Agency in which he outlined how the foundation funded anti-Israel activism. One among the many issues he unveiled was the funding of anti-Israel activism at the UN World Conference against Racism, which was held in 2001 in Durban, South Africa. When this became known, the US Congress ordered the Ford Foundation to refrain from making grants to those that promote hostility to the image of Israel.

“Yet another category of donors to anti-Israel activities are oil companies and large conglomerates with extensive ties to the Middle East. The largest contributor is the oil company, Aramco. An article in Aramco Worldexplains: ‘The Middle East is the only area study that is not really geographically based…Any intellectual subject that involves either the Arabs or Islam, contemporarily or historically, is a legitimate subject for scholars to take on.’ The article continues, saying that Aramco will support ‘paving the way to greater interregional understanding’ by investing in Middle Eastern centers in American universities.

“A subject which requires extensive and detailed study is the funding by various German foundations of scholarship that is critical of Israel. This has to be seen as being within the general framework of funding by German foundations of studies in Israel.”

Seliktar concludes: “Systematic research on the subject of the funding of the delegitimization of Israel is beyond the capacity of even an entire team of scholars. It would require the resolve and the resources of the State of Israel. One can only wonder why this national security threat has not been addressed by the Israeli government.”

Indeed, why not?




Who funds the BDS Movement against Israel?
Many Palestinians have come to the realization that they can only destroy Israel via soft asymmetrical conflict rather than waging war or committing terrorist acts. Who is funding the BDS Movement that stands at the forefront of Palestinian soft asymmetrical conflict attempts?

May 15, 2015, 09:30AM | Rachel Avraham

Many Palestinians have come to the realization that waging wars and implementing terrorist attacks won’t lead to the destruction of the State of Israel.   Therefore, they have implemented a new method of warfare known as soft asymmetrical conflict.   According to Professor Ofira Seliktar, “It’s an asymmetrical war of ideas which is used to delegitimize a target country and in this case, Israel.  Since the Oslo peace process and the terror attacks that followed, they created a new type of war, which is fought in the academia and the media but especially in the academia.”

Manfred Gerstenfeld, the former chair of the Steering Committee at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JerusalemOnline: “The BDS Movement started really as a concept in 2001 in Durban, South Africa. There, the UN World Conference against Racism took place. At the same time also in Durban, a NGO forum was held. This conference, instead of promoting anti-racism, transformed into an anti-Israel hate movement. There, the idea of systematically promoting boycotting Israel was raised in many fields including the academic world, culture, sports, politics, etc. These people understood that the real impact would not be on Israel on itself but is that it would draw attention. It was a public relations idea that would bring the Palestinian issue into the public domain People were shocked by the incredible hate that burst out from that conference. This was a major explosion of pro-hate activities against Israel.”

Seliktar noted that the BDS Movement and other anti-Israel activities seek to paint Israel as an apartheid state or colonial construct that needs to be boycotted. Although they have not had much solid cases of success, the BDS Movement is more about creating public awareness than anything else and on this, they have been very successful: “Even if the initiatives do not pass, there is an opportunity for students and faculty to have a debate. During these debates, so-called evidence is produced stating that Israel is an apartheid state. Many don’t know much about Israel. This is an educational opportunity to educate students and faculty about the occupation regime in the West Bank and other problems. That is the core of delegitimization, creating an image of Israel that is negative and thus needs to be boycotted. It is a long term process and we don’t even know what the end will be as we have new generations of academics and students that are being taught and when they assume positions of influence, they may be influenced by that negative view.”


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Ces fondations qui financent la délégitimation d’Israël


Qui finance les bourses d’étude qui tentent de délégitimer Israël?

 “Le problème qui consiste à savoir qui finance les soi-disant “bourses d’étude” universitaires qui délégitime l’Etat d’Israël, et savoir qui soutient les diverses activités contre lui sur les campus, est extrêmement complexe et à multiples facettes. Les initiatives partielles qui étudient ce sujet sont encore bien loin d’être appropriées.

 “Pourtant nous avons connaissance de certains faits concernant ce sujet. Différentes fondations, dépendant principalement de donateurs arabo-musulmans, jouent un rôle predominant dans le financement des études universitaires sur le Moyen-Orient et Israël à travers le monde. De nombreuses donations sont dispersées, grâce à des fondations mises sur pied par des familles royales”.

Ofira Seliktar est professeure (émérite) en sciences politiques au Collège de Gratz, en Pennsylvanie et ancienne enseignante en residence à l’Institut de Recherche sur le Moyen-Orient à l’Université de Pennsylvanie. Elle est l’auteure de neuf livres et de multitudes d’articles sur les renseignements américains.

Seliktar apporte un certain nombre d’exemples à ce propos. “La Fondation du Prince saoudien Waleed Al Talal se distingue, en ce qui concerne l’ampleur de ses donations aux Etats-Unis. Il a finance, par exemple, des Centres sur le Moyen-Orient d’universités d’élite, tells qu’Harvard, Yale, Georgetown et Berkeley.

 “La Fondation du  Sultan bin Abdul Aziz ibn Saud est une autre foundation saoudienne prédominante. Elle a offert de vastes sommes d’argent au Centre sur le Moyen-Orient de l’université de Berkeley, autant qu’à un grand nombre d’autres université américaines. La foundation saoudienne Khalid Bin Abdullah, Bin Abdul Rahman al Saud a doté d’une chaire l’Université d’Harvard.

 “La foundation du Sultan d’Oman a aussi offer tune chaire à l’Université d’Harvard. Le Qatar est relativement, un nouvel arrivant dans le domaine. Il est en train de developer un programme très ambitieux pour façonner à sa main l’enseignement supérieur occidental. La famille régnante du pays, les Ibn Kahlifa Al Thani, dirige une foundation. Elle est, d’ores et déjà, devenue une actrice de premier plan dans tout ce qui concerne les études des politiques étrangères sur le Moyen-Orient.

 “L’Iran fait la promotion de la version chiite de l’Islam et de la politique étrangère iranienne. Ses financements sont acheminés grâce au Ministère des Affaires étrangères iranien, au Ministère de la Culture et de la Guidance,le Ministère de l’Information et de la Sécurité – qui est, bien sûr, responsabledes renseignements – aussi bien que grâce à une multitude de fondations religieuses. L’une, particulièrement prédominante, est la foundation Aléavi, qui, en retour, est dirigée par la Fondation  Mustazafeen. Cette dernières est le plus important conglomérat paraétatique d’Iran, créé par l’Ayatollah Khomeiny en 1979. La Fondation Alavi a offert des recompenses à plus de trente universités, à travers toute l’Amérique du Nord. Les sanctions conçues afin de réduire le programme nucléaire iranien n’ont aucun impact sur la Fondation Mustazafeen qui, en tant que groupement paraétatique, dispose de ses propres financements.

 “De nombreux instituts de haute voltage et de journaux ont aussi bénéficié de vastes donations de la part de sources arabes. Ils comprennent le Conseil en Politiques du Moyen-Orient et son journal, le Middle East Policy Journal. C’est ce journal, par exemple, qui a publié l’original de l’essai de John Mearsheimer et Steven Walt sur le “Lobby pro-Israélien”, qui a ensuite été publié sous forme de livre.

 “L’Institut d’Etudes Palestiniennes est encore un autre organisme subventionné par les donateurs arabes. Sa publication : The Journal of Palestine Studies, s’est avérée pionnière dans le domaine des études “universitaires” sur “Israël en tant qu’Etat Colonial” et “Israël, comme Etat d’Apartheid”. La Fondation du Qatar s’est achetée le géant de l’imprimerie, les Presses Elsevier. Elle publie, entre autres, le Lancet, une publication médicale très prestigieuse. Le Lancet, a publié, par exemple, un editorial incendiaire sur les prétendues atrocités israéliennes, qui auraient été commises au cours de l’Opération Bordure Protectrice à Gaza, en 2014.

 “Une deuxième source d’études anti-israéliennes et pro-palestiniennes repose sur les fondations soi-disant “indépendantes”. On a donné une publicité énorme au début des années 2000 aux activités de la Fondation Ford. En 2003, Edwin Black a publié une série d’articles pour la Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), dans lesquels il soulignait de quelle façon cette foundation finance l’activisme anti-israélien. L’un des problèmes parmi tant d’autres qu’il a dévoilés concerne le finnancement du militantisme antisionsite au sein de la Conférence de l’ONU contre le Racisme, qui s’est tenue à Durban, en Afrique du Sud, en 2001. Lorsque toute l’affaire a été révélée, le Congrès américain a ordonné à la Fondation Ford de suspendre ses remises de recompenses à ceux qui promeuvent l’hostilité envers l’image d’Israël.

 “Il y a encore une autre catégorie de donateurs aux activités antisionistes, qui concerne les companies pétrolières et de vastes conglomérats ayant des liens étendus au Moyen-Orient. Le plus généreux contributeur est la compagnie pétrolière Aramco. Un article dans Aramco World l’explique comme suit : Le Moyen-Orient est le seul domaine d’étude qui n’y est pas réellement basé… tout sujet intellectuel qui concerne soit les Arabes, soit l’Islam, sous un angle contemporain ou historique, est un sujet légitime que les érudits doivent prendre en charge”. L’article se poursuit, en disant qu’Aramco soutiendra “toute recherché qui pavera la voie en vue d’une meilleure compréhension interrégionale” en investissant dans les centres sur le Moyen-Orient au sein des universités américaines.

 “Un sujet qui requiert une étude approfondie et détaillée concerne le financement réalisé par diverses fondations universitaires allemandes qui s’avèrent virulentes envers Israël. On doit l’envisager comme faisant partie intégrante du cadre general de financement, par des fondations allemandes d’études sur Israël”.

Seliktar conclut : “La recherché systématique au sujet du financement de la délégitimation d’Israël va bien au-delà des capacités mêmes d’une équipe entire de chercheurs. Cela exigerait la resolution et les ressources de l’Etat d’Israël”.

On peut seulement se demander pourquoi cette menace constante contre la sécurité national n’a pas encore trouvé de réponse organisée de la part du Gouvernement israélien…

Manfred Gerstenfeld interviewe Ofira Seliktar

Le Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld est membre du Conseil d’Administration du Centre des Affaires Publiques de Jérusalem, qu’il a présidé pendant 12 ans. Il a publié plus de 20 ouvrages. Plusieurs d’entre eux traitent d’anti-israélisme et d’antisémitisme.

Adaptation : Marc Brzustowski


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