What is hidden in plain view:
The Geek has posted a timely question, one that I've been pondering myself:
Why doesn't anyone talk about the Saudi Lobby?
Some call the Saudi gift Arab generosity and gratitude for the years American universities have educated the elite of the Arab world. Others say the sheer size of the donations amounts to buying influence and creating bastions of noncritical pro-Islamic scholarship within academia.
"There's a possibility these campuses aren't getting gifts, they're getting investments," said Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "Departments on Middle Eastern studies tend to be dominated by professors tuned to the concerns of Arab and Muslim rulers. It's very difficult for scholars who don't follow this line to get jobs and tenure on college campuses.
"The relationship between these departments and the money that pours in is hard to establish, but like campaign finance reform, sometimes money is a bribe. Sometimes it's a tip."
The $40 million gift from the Saudi donor, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was the latest in a tradition that started in the 1970s — Muslim donors pumping millions of dollars into American universities to fund Islamic studies, hire faculty specialists in Islam and fund books and seminars on the world's second-largest religion.
This summer, Harvard appointed its Islamic history professor, Roy Mottahedeh, to head its Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program. Harvard is hiring the first of four endowed chairs in the program and is using some of the $20 million to preserve a collection of Islamic documents.
Harvard would not provide additional details about the disbursement of the funds, nor would Mr. Mottahedeh respond to numerous requests for an interview.
The Israel on Campus Coalition, a group of Jewish organizations, released a study earlier this year saying out of about 4,000 American institutions of higher learning, only nine have Israel studies centers, nine have Israel studies chairs, and 16 have visiting professors teaching about Israel.
There are 17 federally funded centers on American college campuses devoted solely to Middle Eastern studies centers and another 30 to 40 that do not receive federal aid... at least 10 chaired professorships currently funded by Saudis at major universities.
"With all the talk of the Israel lobby, no one talks about the Saudi lobby," Mr. Meyers said. "There is no counterweight to Saudi influence in American higher education."
Indeed, Ain-al-Yaqeen reported that King Fahd has spent "billions of Saudi riyals," around the world.
"In terms of Islamic institutions, the result is some 210 Islamic centers wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia, more than 1,500 mosques and 202 colleges and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia," the paper reported.
Saudi money is an investment in academic studies that promote such movements as promote divestment from Israel.
I sure hope someone in Israel is working over time to develop an alternative to oil, before the Saudis manage to take over all universities. Judging by the way they managed to get Condi rice to force the Israeli delegation to enter the conference building from a side door, at Annapolis, would it be really paranoid to fear that the time is soon approaching when Jews are restricted in attaining academic studies?
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
What is hidden in plain view: