May 10, 2024

What is Qatar’s Endgame with University Funding?

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by Liza Ashley, Director of the Charles Malik Institute

The mayhem at college campuses should cause us all to reevaluate Qatar’s funding of American education and consider whether this is the return on investment they aimed for.

Jewish students have been blocked from campus, chants of “We are Hamas” have reverberated across Ivy League quads, and Qatar is helping to foot the bill.

Qatar has long had a complicated relationship with the United States, situating itself as the host of the terror group Hamas and a key mediator in recent, hitherto immaterial, negotiations with Israel. After Hamas ousted the Palestinian Authority in Gaza in 2007, Qatar—alongside Turkey—was one of two countries to back the group. In 2011, Barack Obama formally requested the country provide a home base for Hamas to ease practical constraints in negotiations.

Qatar, officially an American ally, has played a fraught inside-outside game with the United States since 1992, maintaining American forces while giving Hamas $1.8 billion. Their recent moves to influence American schools and universities raise new concerns and color the current debate over higher education in America.