Deborah Solomon of the New York Times tries to hold Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s feet to the fire, without success. $20 million to Harvard and Georgetown? Sure, but without any strings at all! And as if that Brooklyn Bridge sale weren’t enough, check out this bit of fancy footwork, at which Solomon almost catches him:
You became notorious in New York when Mayor Giuliani declined to accept a $10 million donation from you to victims’ families after you suggested that the U.S. was too friendly with Israel.
By the way, my check was taken to the bank and cashed. The problem was with my statement. I accepted that. Subject closed.
Subject reopened. The money was returned to you. Have you told Harvard, as you told the City of New York, that the U.S. needs to “adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause”?
Let me tell you my position. We need to have good relations between the Arab world and Israel. When I sold my Plaza Hotel in New York, it was sold to Elad, which is an Israeli company.
Doing business with the citizens of a country is not the same thing as believing in that country’s right to exist.
We are doing so many things to bridge the gap between Christianity and Islam and Judaism. For example, at my hotel in Paris, George V, you are going to find the Christian Bible, the Jewish Bible and the Islamic Koran in each single room.
That’s a wonderful idea, but a luxury hotel in Paris is a long way from Saudi Arabia, where you could surely spend more money on Judeo-Christian studies.
Look. You have to understand that the population of Saudi Arabia has zero Christians.
That’s the point. Why shouldn’t you should spend your millions educating your own students before you educate kids at Harvard?
Obviously, it could be something we are contemplating.
It could be, but it isn’t. Do you think the Prince is contemplating opening Saudi Arabia to Christianity even the tiniest bit? If so, email me: I have some lovely waterfront property that will no doubt interest you.