A bit of common sense somehow lodges at Harvard. From the New York Times, with thanks to Seymour Payne:
Harvard University is returning a controversial $2.5 million gift to its donor, the president of the United Arab Emirates.
Harvard said in a statement Monday that the president, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, recently asked to withdraw the gift, which was to endow a chair in Islamic religious studies, before it was subjected to a formal deliberation this summer by the university.
Abdulla Alsaboosi, a spokesman at the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington, said negotiations between the university and Sheik Zayed’s representatives had been going on for several months. “The negotiations were conducted in an atmosphere of cordiality and mutual respect,” Mr. Alsaboosi said, “but in the end, since no decision was taken by the university, we felt regretfully that we had no option but to retract the gift.”
Students and Jewish organizations had criticized the Harvard Divinity School for accepting the donation, which was made in 2000, because they objected to the sheik’s support for a policy research organization, the Zayed International Center for Coordination and Follow-Up in Abu Dhabi, one of the seven states in the United Arab Emirates.
Speakers at the center had included an Arab scholar who has written that Jews use human blood to make pastries and a French author who claims that Israel masterminded the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 as well as American officials like former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Vice President Al Gore. It was closed last summer by the government of the United Arab Emirates, which said that the center had engaged in a discourse that “contradicted the principles of interfaith tolerance” espoused by Sheik Zayed.
You can say that again.