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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Qatari Paymasters and the Hijacking of American Democracy

Filed under: Operation Swords of Iron, Qatar, Radical Islam

Qatari Paymasters and the Hijacking of American Democracy
Pro-Hamas demonstrator directed Hamas’s al-Qasam’s terrorists to Columbia Jewish and pro-Israel students. (Inside Edition, Youtube, screenshot)

Ever since Hamas’s brutal pogroms of October 7, 2023, on Jewish communities in southern Israel, which sparked the ongoing war in Gaza, there has been a drastic surge in antisemitic incidents in the West, namely, the United States, Canada, and Europe.

We have witnessed hundreds of thousands of people marching in western capitals and cities – not in support of the 1,200 Israeli victims who were slaughtered in cold blood, but rather in support of Hamas terrorists. However, in the past few weeks, we have seen a new alarming development: the blast of Jew-hatred on American campuses, home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities. American campuses have been turned into breeding grounds of Jew-hatred and hatred of Western values and democracy. Campuses have turned into a second front for Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), plainly calling for violence and glorifying the Oct. 7 massacres. Protesters, many not students, burn American flags and chant “Down with the U.S.,” “We are all Hamas,” and “Burn Tel Aviv to the ground.”

Keffiyeh-clad students in a pro-Palestinian rally at Columbia University harassed Jewish students and, in some cases, prevented them from entering the university and shouted at them, “We don’t want Zionists here.” Other keffiyeh-clad students yelled, “Remember the 7th of October,” “Never forget October 7,” and “Are you ready? October 7 is about to be every day. Every Day.”1

These vile harassments and intimidations are also aimed at other non-Jewish students who do not share the ideals of the so-called pro-Palestine camp. They consciously or unknowingly support the Ideals of the cancerous ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is an offshoot.

The support and appeal for Islamist extremism and Jew-hatred among some diaspora Muslim communities and their far-left supporters is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on for years, with Western leaders well aware of it, yet they let it fester unrestricted.

But we are witnessing a new warning on American campuses: universities should be bastions for learning and debating without fear or intimidation.

Burning American and Israeli flags and chanting “We are all Hamas” and “Down with the U.S.” are traditional choruses on university campuses in Gaza, Tehran, Damascus, Sana’a, and Islamabad. The annihilation rhetoric calling for the extermination of Israel, the hate speech, and the violence coming from U.S. campuses should not be seen as the exercise of students’ right to freedom of expression. Calling for “Globalizing the Intifada,” “Burn Tel Aviv to the Ground,” or “Al-Qassam (missiles) are on their way” is nothing but the normalization of hate and violence.

The True Meaning of the Campus Unrest

What we are witnessing are not civilized debates or students criticizing the Israeli government or Israeli operations in the war between the IDF and Hamas. What we are seeing is antisemitism, bigotry, hatred, and the glorification of jihadism—led by mobs of Islamists who successfully managed to recruit a group of privileged-woke-white leftists to hijack American democracy and replace it with a culture of fear and intimidation. A mob may chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” yet they cannot identify which river or sea they chant about.

The situation has so deteriorated in some universities, including Columbia, that many Jewish students are frightened to attend their classes, and others refrain from being “openly Jewish” wearing a kippah or Star of David. This is the United States of America and not Khan Yunis or Islamabad.

Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School, argues that what we are witnessing is a form of a “new respectful antisemitism,” adding, “The core of this new antisemitism lies in the idea that Jews are not a historically oppressed people seeking self-preservation but instead oppressors: imperialists, colonialists, and even white supremacists.”2

Qatari Billions Buying up Universities, Influence, Chairs, and Fellowships

We are no longer talking about Neo-Nazi or Islamist thugs but rather a sophisticated well-coordinated campaign of infiltration and persuasion of American academia aimed to pursue the agenda of specific political ideals. One of which is the idea that Israel, “Zionism” personified, is inherently evil and must be eradicated. To the “new respectful antisemitism” belong a group of professors who are suited and booted, like Professor Joseph Massad, who praised and glorified Hamas’s Oct 7 attacks against Israeli civilians, calling it “an awesome, stunning victory of the Palestinian resistance.” Massad is not the only professor who openly and proudly supports U.S.-designated terror organizations. His colleague and fellow Arab, Professor Mohamed Abdou, doesn’t hide either his admiring support to Hamas and Hizbullah. Just four days after the October 7 massacres, he wrote, “I am with the resistance be it Hamas and Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad but up to a point – given ultimate differences over our ethical-political commitments; that is the difference between a strategy and tactic too.”3

Furthermore, Abdou sees Hamas as a “resistance against Israel and the West” and described Hamas terrorists as a “dedicated few” who managed to defeat a “larger enemy” in “stealth mode” on Oct 7.4

These very professors tutor thousands of students across the United States, turning American campuses into incubators of terrorism. They and like-minded instructors got their positions thanks to the influence of the billions of dollars being poured into educational facilities by foreign governments, in this case, Qatar. We reached this point due to years of neglect by the U.S. government and unchecked foreign investment in America’s academia.

The campus-protest explosion phenomenon is neither spontaneous nor organic but coordinated with multiple actors working together. Data shows that pro-Palestine organizations, including Samidoun, Our Lifetime, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), etc., have appeared on numerous campuses and, in some cases, their people lead the student chants.

What Research Has Revealed

NGO Monitor, a research institute promoting democratic values, good governance, and transparency, recently released a report titled “The NGO Network Orchestrating Antisemitic Incitement on American Campuses.” The report highlights some alarming facts: all the above-mentioned pro-Palestine NGOs support and justify Hamas’s Oct 7 massacre, and many of these NGOs have direct links with designated Palestinian terror groups like Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Another interesting dominator they all share is their “non-transparent and structure.” Two other significant facts to take from the NGO Monitor report are that many of the Pro-Palestine activists in Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) are not Jewish, but “a major component of JVP’s strategy is exploiting the ‘Jewish’ label to deflect evidence of blatant antisemitism within anti-Israel campaigns.” This tactic has been used for decades by Arabic-speaking media outlets, especially by Qatari media, who would often put on their payroll a few Jewish scholars like Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim, some Jews from the ultra-Orthodox fringe Neturei Karta, parading them on the TV screen to give the impression “look even Jews agreeing with us.” The second fact to reflect on is that Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) founder Hatem Bazian is also the co-founder of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).5

The Executive Director of the Lawfare Project, Brooke Goldstein, stated in a recent interview with Fox News: “The fact that we have pro-Hamas, pro-terror Islamist mobs running rampant in our streets and on our campuses has nothing to do with Israel. Israel is just a decoy. The problem we face is subversive; it’s so deep that we must look at what’s happening. On the macro level, the Biden administration is paying Iran billions of dollars to murder Americans and to kill Israelis. We have the same administration turning a blind eye to the billions of dollars coming into this country from Qatar radicalizing our students.”6

Goldstein’s Fox interview was aired on April 29, 2024. She talked about the danger posed by Iran and Qatar. Hamas’s main financial backer and political supporter, Qatar, has provided refuge to Hamas leaders and pledged more than $1.1 billion to Hamas since 2012. Iran, Qatar’s close ally, funds and trains terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah.

For years, Arab leaders from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and Jordan have warned leaders in the United States and Europe to wake up to the threat of Islamic extremism and the threats Iran and Qatar pose. In 2017, UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah Zayed Al-Nahyan, speaking at the Tweeps Forum in Riyadh, warned Western leaders that their countries will become incubators of terrorism: “There will come a day when we see far more radicals, extremists, and terrorists coming out of Europe because of a lack of decision-making, trying to be politically correct or assuming that they know the Middle East, Islam or the others far better than we do. But I am sorry; that is pure ignorance,” said Zayed Al-Nahyan.7

The Abraham Accords countries, alongside Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have done far more than Western leaders in fighting Islamists and the hands that fed him, namely Iran and the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, Qatar. A tiny but ultra-rich monarchy, Qatar has long been accused by its neighbors of sponsoring terrorism and incitement. In 2017, Dr. Anwar Gargash, then the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, described Doha as the “main sponsor” of terrorism and a “safe haven” of extremism. Qatar’s refusal to behavioral change led four Arab states, Saudia Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt, to cut their diplomatic ties with it and impose a blockade on all land, sea, and air contact with Qatar, a blockade that lasted for three-and-a-half years (June 2017 to January 2021). Back then, Donald Trump was in the White House, and he came out fully supporting the sanctions, stating that Qatar has historically been a sponsor of terrorism “at a very high level.”8

Though Qatar did not change its behavior, the Saudi-led sanctions terminated on Jan. 5, 2021, fifteen days before Joe Biden entered the White House. According to some regional observers, the decision to reconcile with Doha could be that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wanted to show the newly-elected U.S. president that the boycotting nations were open for dialogue and cooperation. The lifting of the blockade should not be seen as if the crisis is over for good; it’s far from it and may erupt again in the foreseeable future.

Doha is the home to some of Hamas’s most influential figures: Ismail Haniyeh, Moussa Abu Marzuk, and Khaled Mashal. In January 2015, the then-Qatari Foreign Minister referred to then-Hamas leader Mashal as Qatar’s “dear guest.”9

Another antisemite for whom Doha became his home was the late spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who was banned from entry into the United States, France, UK, UAE, Saudia Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and many other countries. Qaradawi was a Jew-hater to the core, and in his Friday sermons, he would call believers to “kill them, down to the very last one” and repeatedly said, “the last punishment [upon the Jews was] carried out by Hitler . . . the next time will be at the hand of the believers.”10

Sheikh Qaradawi and the Qatari Sheikha Mozah, and Tariq Ramadan
Sheikh Qaradawi and the Qatari Sheikha Mozah. On the right is Swiss Professor Tariq Ramadan, now on leave from Oxford University. He was arrested and imprisoned in France in January 2018 on charges of rape. (Screen capture, Youtube, 2012)

Qatar is the Largest Foreign Donor to U.S. Universities

For the past two decades, Qatar’s enormously wealthy rulers have sought several ways to acquire influence, buy allies, improve its image, and spread and promote its political agendas. Doha has positioned itself as a champion of sport, culture, health, and education, strategically pumping billions of dollars into American academics and making it the most significant foreign donor to U.S. universities. These donations allow Qatar to reach a broad spectrum of students, academics, and decision-makers. Doha’s billions of dollars in investments in universities across the United States helped to advance its political agendas, which are typically pro-Islamism and anti-Israel.

Since 2012, the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism & Policy (ISGAP) and the U.S. Department of Justice have been working on a joint project called “Follow the Money” to examine illicit funding of U.S. universities by foreign governments and donors. Their 2019 report discovered, “For the first time, the existence of substantial Middle Eastern Funding (primarily from Qatar) to U.S. universities that had not been reported to the Department of Education, as required by law.” In fact, ISGPA’s research uncovered billions of dollars of unreported funds, which, in turn, led to the launch of a federal government investigation in 2019.”11

The ISGAP 2024 report has revealed that Qatar is one of the most significant donors to American academia. The report also sheds light on the correlation between Qatari donations and rising levels of antisemitic discourse.

Between 2001 and 2023, Doha donated $4.7 billion to U.S. academia.12 It successfully inserted itself in numerous elite universities, including Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Georgetown, Fordham, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cornell University.

Cornell University has received an eye-watering fund from Qatar: from 2001 to 2023, it has received over $1.95 billion in donations, making “Qatar the largest direct foreign donor to the university, some 30 times higher than the next largest, Hong Kong, which has donated just $69 million USD since 1995.13

Georgetown University in Doha, Qatar
Georgetown University in Doha, Qatar. (YouTube)

Between 2001 and 2021, other universities received donations from Qatar: Carnegie Mellon $1.4 billion; Harvard $894 million; MIT $859 million; Texas A&M just over $500 million; Yale a bit under $500 million; Johns Hopkins $402 million; and Georgetown University $401 million.14 In addition to universities, Qatar contributes generously to American “think tanks,” such as the Brookings Institute, which Members of Congress accused of serving as a foreign agent for the monarchy.15

Six American universities maintain campuses in Doha’s Education City: Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Virginia Commonwealth, Cornell, Northwestern, and Texas A&M. The state-run Qatar Foundation finances the campuses and personnel.16

It has been proven that there is a direct connection between Qatari donations and the presence of pro-Palestine movements, such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), on campuses. With the antisemitic discourse on campus comes inflammatory rhetoric against Israel and support for terrorist organizations on campuses.17

In the past years, Qatar has many times made headlines with its support for several criminal terror organizations and its inflammatory rhetoric against Israel. As recent as April 22 (on the Jewish Passover holiday), Qatar representative Essa Al Nassar spoke at the Arab League session and uttered the vilest antisemitic trope, that the Jews were “the killers of prophets.”18

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  4. Ibid↩︎





  9. – page. 15↩︎

  10. Ibid page. 17↩︎



  13. – page. 9↩︎


    YouTube, Georgetown University in Qatar.↩︎



  17. Ibid↩︎