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MICHAEL BEKESHA And MARC GREENDORFER: Is Foreign Cash Turning Our Kids Into Terrorist Sympathizers?

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Shortly after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, a Harvard CAPS-Harris X poll found that 48% of Americans ages 18-24 supported Hamas over Israel. This is in direct contrast to 95% of Americans 65 years of age and older who sided with Israel. This stark difference begs the question: why do half of young Americans support a group that has been designated by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization since October 1997? Our ongoing fight for transparency suggests at least some of the answers lie in Qatar’s pocketbooks.

Judicial Watch and the Zachor Legal Institute spent more than five years successfully fighting the Qatar Foundation in Texas courts for access to information that neither the Foundation nor Texas A&M University wanted to give us about the funding or donations made to Texas A&M by the government of Qatar and agencies and subdivisions of the government of Qatar. In the end, we learned that over $522 million flowed from Qatar to Texas A&M from Jan. 1, 2013, to May 22, 2018, including more than $485 million from Qatar Foundation’s coffers. (RELATED: ALAN DERSHOWITZ: What If Hamas Wins?)

Texas A&M is not alone in receiving money from Qatar and its affiliates. Based on reporting from our friends at the Daily Caller News Foundation, we know the Qatar Foundation gave more than $1 billion to elite American universities from 2011-2017, including Georgetown University, Northwestern University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan, and Harvard. Although we can assume the money continues to flow in the hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more, what we don’t know is how this money is being spent and what Qatar and its affiliates are getting in return. This should concern all Americans.

Besides infusing billions of dollars in our institutions of higher education. Qatar and its affiliates support and fund terror-aligned groups, like Hamas, as well as antisemitic and anti-Israel media organizations, such as Al Jazeera. Therefore, while we applaud Texas A&M’s decision to close the Doha Campus, we remain concerned that Texas A&M did not take strong enough action. It did not cut ties entirely with Qatar and its affiliates, like the Qatar Foundation.

When Texas A&M University recently announced its decision to shut down its campus in Doha, Qatar, it explained that the Board of Regents “decided that the core mission of Texas A&M should be advanced primarily within Texas and the United States” and that Texas A&M “will not necessarily need a campus infrastructure 8,000 miles away to support education and research collaborations.” Based on reporting, we know that Qatar Foundation gave Texas A&M approximately $76 million in 2016 to operate its Doha Campus. So where did the other $400 million go? What is it being used for? And how many more hundreds of millions of dollars will the Qatar Foundation give to Texas A&M to be used “within Texas and the United States”? We continue to seek answers to these questions through ongoing public records requests but, not surprisingly, Texas A&M and Qatar Foundation continue to stonewall us.

Until Texas A&M and the other universities reject all money from Qatar and its affiliates, it is entirely likely that Qatar’s influence will contribute to Generation Z’s and all future generations’ continued support of terrorist organizations over American allies. We will likely continue to see pro-Hamas rallies on campuses and university presidents refuse to condemn antisemitic speech. A hundred million dollars here and another hundred million dollars there goes a long way to ensuring your message is being spread. In the case of Qatar and its affiliates, that message is not just anti-Israel but anti-America. Let’s hope our universities decide to put patriotism before profits.

Michael Bekesha is a senior attorney at Judicial Watch and Marc Greendorfer is Founder and President of Zachor Legal Institute.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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