Who is funding the Edward Said Chair in Middle East Studies at Columbia University? An anonymous dhimmi? Or more ominous figures?
Reports Jonathan Calt Harris at FrontPage magazine: “Columbia University”s newly established Edward Said Chair in Middle East Studies is noteworthy for several reasons. The position is named for the recently deceased professor best known for his defense of Palestinian ‘resistence.’ And Rashid Khalidi, an overt supporter of Palestinian violence and — according to a just-published biography of Yasir Arafat from Oxford University Press — a former PLO press spokesman, has joined Columbia to fill the post.
“But there is something even more objectionable about this chair: It is anonymously endowed and Columbia University — perhaps against the law — refuses to disclose the donors. According to Columbia, the donors” names are confidential. ‘We don’t disclose them without their permission,’ said spokeswoman Katie Moore, adding that Columbia has ‘the same policy that every school would have.'”
Neverheless, “several donors to the chair’s endowment fund have been identified. The Hauser Foundation, headed by New York philanthropist Rita Hauser, is one of them. Ms. Hauser’s former law firm, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, has been registered as recently as 2001 with the Justice Department as an agent for the Palestinian Authority.
“Another donor is the Olayan Charitable Trust, a New York-based charity affiliated with the Saudi-based Olayan Group. The vice president of corporate communications at Olayan’s New York offices, Richard Hobson, has said that while the trust does not publicize its donations, that he believed it is, ‘one of the lead donors but not the lead donor.’
“And Martin Kramer, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, reports he has a list of contributors to the chair that includes a foreign government.
“Hiding the donors goes against Columbia’s own rules, which stipulate that a ‘principal investigator’ involved in any university grant or contract is mandated to release information for ‘dissemination to members of the University community’ when such requests are made. An endowed chair is not specifically a university grant or contract, but neither is it that different.
“‘It is highly unusual, to say the least, for the donor or donors of an academic chair to hide their identity,’ says Columbia’s Awi Federgruen, a former dean of the graduate business school. ‘In the face of various precedents,’ he continues, ‘at Berkeley, Michigan and most recently the Zayed chair donated by the United Arab Emirates to the Harvard Divinity School, one cannot blame the public for being concerned.'” Indeed.