Northwestern’s support from Qatar is under scrutiny after student protests

Amidst the presence of pro-Palestinian protesters on its campus and financial backing from Qatar, Northwestern University’s president, Michael Schill, openly acknowledged the existence of an antisemitism problem within the college.

Schill testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce on Thursday.

According to a statement released by the committee, Schill acknowledged that Northwestern University, like many other universities, is facing an issue with antisemitism. He emphasized that as the President of Northwestern, it is his fundamental duty to protect the Jewish students from any form of antisemitism.

According to Schill, he urged the Northwestern community to oppose any statements or banners that promote murder and genocide. Specifically, he mentioned the slogan “from the river to the sea” as an example of such expressions that should not be tolerated within the community. Schill emphasized that these types of statements or banners have no place in their community.

Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman, Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, expressed her dissatisfaction with the college presidents, including Schill.

According to a statement released by the committee, Foxx criticized Mr. Schill, accusing him of making a disgraceful deal with the encampment that led to the resignation of seven Jewish members of his own Antisemitism Advisory Committee.

Congresswoman Foxx questioned President Holloway about the agreements made that ensure jobs and admissions for Palestinians, which she believes may violate federal antidiscrimination law. She expressed her concern about universities negotiating with pro-terror protestors and emphasized that taxpayer dollars should not fund institutions that do not align with the principles of the country. Foxx criticized the university leaders for failing to enforce their own rules, maintain campus safety, and protect Jewish students.

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Northwestern University administrators, including Schill, announced on April 29th that they had reached a settlement with the student protesters. The agreement stated that the University would allow peaceful demonstrations until June 1st, when spring classes end. In the fall, Northwestern will revise its Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility and include students and faculty on the committee. The protesters are advocating for Northwestern to divest from Israel. As part of the settlement, Northwestern also pledged to support visiting Palestinian faculty and students facing risks. The university will fund two faculty positions for two years and cover the full cost of attendance for five Palestinian undergraduates throughout their undergraduate careers.

According to a report by OpenTheBooks on May 20, Northwestern University has received a total of $689.6 million in funding from Qatar since 2007. It is worth noting that Northwestern has a campus located in Qatar.

Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of OpenTheBooks, expressed his concern about the actions of university leadership in allowing terrorist-sympathizing demonstrations on their campus. He believes that such demonstrations have created a hostile environment for Jewish students. Moreover, Andrzejewski pointed out that Northwestern University provided the occupiers with “negotiated concessions,” which he finds troubling considering the university’s $700 million foreign funding from Qatar. He suggests that this foreign involvement and the resulting domestic chaos should be subject to scrutiny from Congress, the press, and the American people.

Andrzejewski posed the question: “Is Northwestern truly working in the best interest of the public, or are they enabling bigotry, discrimination, and anti-Semitism for their own personal gain?” He emphasized that the congressional hearing served as an initial measure towards holding the school accountable. Northwestern University has received substantial funding from U.S. taxpayers, with Congress granting over $4 billion in federal contracts and grants since 2018. Therefore, it begs the question: Is Northwestern still a genuinely American institution? Following the hearing, there remains a multitude of unanswered questions.

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According to the Anti-Defamation League’s research in 2021, it was found that Qatari school textbooks allegedly propagate the notion that Jews are treacherous.

According to a blog post by David Andrew Weinberg, the Washington Director for International Affairs at the ADL, Qatar’s curriculum continues to assign sole blame to Jews and Israel for the Arab-Israeli conflict. This approach, he argues, has the potential to fuel hatred and even terrorism.

Northwestern University’s Middle East and North African Studies Program has released a statement expressing their support for the ongoing student protests on campus.

The statement emphasized the importance of supporting diverse student perspectives, particularly in light of ongoing efforts to silence voices critical of the State of Israel’s policies. The Middle East and North African Studies Program also expressed their support for Palestine in May 2021.

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