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September 05, 2003 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Harvard's Tainted Money

Boston

gainst the backdrop of Arab
anti-Semitism — the most
virulent Jew-hatred since the
Hitler years — the closing of
a single anti-Semitic institute in the
Middle East barely registers as a blip
on the screen. But it's a blip worth
noting, for it shows what can be
achieved when. one gutsy individual
decides to push back against bigotry.
The story begins in July 2000, when
Harvard's Divinity School accepted
$2.5 million from the ruler of the
United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed
bin Sultan al-Nahyan. The money was
to endow an academic chair, the Sheik
Zayed Al Nahyan Professorship in
Islamic Religious Studies. It was a wel-
come shot in the arm for the divinity
school, one of Harvard's smallest and
least affluent. The university expressed
its gratitude, and praised Zayed for his
liberality with an article in the

A

Harvard Gazette.
"Islamic social justice asks every
Muslim to respect others," the Gazette
quoted him as saying. "Islam is the
religion of tolerance and forgiveness ...
of dialogue and understanding."
But Harvard wasn't the only recipi-
ent of Zayed's largesse. And tolerance
wasn't all he paid for.
The sheik was also the fonder and
namesake of the Zayed Center for

Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for the

Boston Globe, in which this column
appeared on Aug. 31. His e-mail
address is jacoby@globe.com

military advantage and hamper the Israel
Defense Forces' ability to conduct
counter-terror operations.
If you doubt this, flash back to last
year's IDF assault on the terror nest in
Jenin and other Palestinian towns.
Would American troops have done a
better job than the Israelis? Given the
Israeli advantage in intelligence and
training for these missions, that is
unlikely.
More to the point, American troops
wouldn't be doing much to protect Israel
from the waves of murderous Palestinian
suicide bombers. Ironically, it is far more
likely that they would wind up protect-
ing the terrorists from the Israelis.
Had American troops been in the ter-
ritories, not only would they have been
less successful at stopping the terrorists,
but also their presence would effectively
prevent any Israeli counterattack. And,
once in place, they would be stuck in a
no-win situation, besides being an easy

Coordination and Follow-Up, a think
tank established in 1999 in his capital,
Abu Dhabi. Describing itself as "the
fulfillment of the vision of Sheik
Zayed," the center quickly became one
of the Arab world's leading arenas for
anti-Jewish and anti-American poison.
Examples mushroomed.
In 2002, the Zayed Center pub-
lished a report on the Holocaust that
said Zionists — not Nazis — "were
the people who killed the Jews in
Europe." It hosted a lecture by Saudi
professor Umayma Jalahma, who was
famous for claiming that Jews cele-
brate the holiday of Purim by killing
innocent victims and eating pastries
baked with their blood.
The Zayed Center honored French
author Thierry Meyssan, whose book,
The Appalling Fraud, says that U.S.
military officers staged the 9-11
attacks. It published an Arabic transla-
tion of the book and hosted a lecture
in which he said the "legend" of the 19
hijackers "was not true" and that no
plane had crashed into the Pentagon.
Yet another guest was Sheik Ikrama
Sabri, the mufti of the Palestinian
Authority known for such vile ser-
mons as the one in which he pleaded:
"Oh, Allah, destroy America, for she is
ruled by Zionist Jews." In the opening
speech of a conference last August, the
director of the Zayed Center declared:
"Jews claim to be God's most preferred
people, but the truth is they are the
enemies of all nations." And in one of
many anti-Semitic tracts offered on its
Web site, the center extolled "those

faculty — a faculty that normal-
who challenged Israel,"
ly prides itself on its social con-
including David Irving and
science and its commitment to
Roger Garaudy, two infamous
human rights. An online peti-
Holocaust deniers:
tion urging the university to
Harvard officials probably
decline Zayed's money drew
knew none of this when
thousands of signatures. But the
Zayed made his gift three
administration seemed in no
years ago.
hurry to move.
JE FF
But that changed in
Fish refused to give up. With
December, when the founder of
JAC OBY
the help of the David Project,
the David Project, an organiza-
Spe cial
tion created to combat global
Comm entary she contacted the media. By the
end of May, Harvard's tainted
anti-Semitism, spoke at Harvard
money was drawing attention, and not
and mentioned the link between the
just in Boston: It was covered on CBS
$2.5 million windfall and the hatred
and NPR, in the Washington Post and
peddled by the Zayed Center.
the Wall Street Journah on scores of Web
In the audience that day was Rachel
sites and on talk shows.
Fish, an Islamic Studies student at the
Last month, Fish's persistence finally
divinity school. What she heard dis-
paid off — sort of The United Arab
tressed her and she set about research-
Emirates, stung by the bad publicity,
ing the issue. The more she learned
announced that the Zayed Center
about the Zayed Center, the more
would be shut down. In time, it may
convinced she became that Harvard
resurface under a different name, but
should have nothing to do with the
for now, it is out of business, its Web
man for whom it was named.
sites are closed and its anti-Semitic out-
In March, Fish took her evidence to
put has been turned off. Because one
the divinity school's dean, William
young person refused to back away
Graham, and asked that Zayed's money
from a fight, the plug has been pulled
be returned. Her argument was simple:
on a leading purveyor of hatred.
Harvard would never accept money
Oh, and Harvard? It announced on
from a Ku Klux Klan financier. The hate
Friday that it would need another year
funded by the sheik is no less abhorrent.
to decide what to do about Sheik
Graham, who had first heard about
Zayed's money. Rachel Fish's work isn't
the Zayed Center's anti-Semitic and
finished.
anti-American output in January, told
Fish he would have an independent
The Web address for Rachel Fishs project
researcher look into the issue. He prom-
is www. moralitynotmoney. corn; for
ised to get back to her within six weeks.
the David Project, the Web address
Six weeks passed. Graham said noth-
is www.d.avidprojectorg
ing. Nor did most of the divinity school

target of Arab terror themselves.
One of the cardinal points of the
alliance has always been Israel's insistence
that it would never ask Uncle Sam to do
their fighting for them.
Once American forces are deployed on
Israel's borders, the Jewish state's current
dependence on American good will
would cease to become a matter of
finance and politics, and become a bleed-
ing sore on both ends of the equation.

right are coming to accept that there is
embedded in Palestinian culture. But
no long-term solution to the conflict
like all international deadbeats, the
in sight. Until something fundamental
peace processors have turned to the
changes on the Arab side, they know
American taxpayer and to the U.S.
they must hunker down and defend
military to bail them out. They would
-themselves as best they can without
also like American power to force
any illusions about the future. That's
Israel to accept policies its voters have
why the idea of the security fence is so
rejected overwhelmingly when they
overwhelmingly popular.
elected Ariel Sharon as prime minister
Unfortunately, President Bush helped
in the last two elections.
sell the world on the notion that top-
The latest atrocities launched by the
pling Saddam might sap the determina-
Palestinians against Israeli women and
tion of Palestinian rejectionists.
babies have brought home the utter
Sadly, that turned out to be wrong.
futility of the current process. Hopes
But rather than accept this defeat and
for peace are based on the idea that
the Palestinian desire for independence concentrate on problems that can be
solved, some in Washington and on the
and prosperity can outweigh their
Jewish
left believe that even more
hatred and desire to spill Jewish blood.
American intervention will prevent them
But as difficult as it is for some to
from having to face this grim reality.
accept, the latter is still more impor-
American friends of Israel should
tant than the former.
not be deceived. U.S. troops have no
Sensible Israelis who are not addict-
ed to the hopeless naivete of the left or place along Israel's borders. That's one
the head-in-the-sand philosophy of the bad idea that doesn't deserve a try. ❑

A Bankrupt Process

What's behind this embrace of an idea
that is doomed to failure? The answer is
that it's a last-ditch attempt to bail out
a diplomatic process that has led from
Oslo to one catastrophe after another.
Though all sides are loath to admit
it, the peace process has failed — and
there is no solution in sight. Arafat
will never allow Abbas to make peace,
and the terrorist mindset is thoroughly

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9/ 5
2003

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