The notion that international actors are attempting to interfere in the U.S. elections has been written about extensively. Whether Iran, China or Russia are planting fake news stories, leaking classified documents or even hacking the voting system itself has passionately engaged politicians, the security industry and the media. Yet other forms of international interference get either scant attention or are readily dismissed.
Here are a few.
Foreign Funding of American Universities
Many of America’s leading universities have taken in billions of dollars from foreign governments, corporations and individuals, which has altered course curricula as well as the student bodies.
Qatar, which openly funds Hamas, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, has contributed over $1 billion to American universities since 2011, with the vast majority going to Georgetown, Northwestern, and Texas A&M. All three universities set up satellite campuses in Qatar. There are reports that the dean of Georgetown University’s Qatar campus Ahmad Dallal is a proud promoter of another terrorist organization, Hizbollah.
According to a Financial Times analysis of the US education department’s Foreign Gifts and Contracts Report, Persian Gulf countries gave $2.2 billion to U.S. universities. Saudi Arabia paid hundreds of millions of dollars to fund an estimated 110,000 scholarships for Saudis to attend American universities. The number of Saudi students peaked under the Obama administration and have come down during the Trump administration.
A Department of Education investigation concluded that in excess of $6.6 billion of funding since 1990 went unreported from Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates into American universities. The investigation led to ten schools, including Cornell University, Yale University, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, Texas A&M University, and Carnegie Mellon University reporting approximately $3.6 billion in previously unreported foreign gifts.
This foreign funding is often used to promote extremism and anti-Semitism, by funding particular anti-Israel programming and groups as well as placing tens of thousands of students with illiberal backgrounds onto campuses.
Consider that in July 2000, the president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, donated $2.5 million to the Harvard Divinity School to endow the Sheik Zayed Al Nahyan Professorship in Islamic Religious Studies. Within a short period of time, the Zayed Center became a noxious fountain of anti-Semitic screed complete with Holocaust denials and blood libels.
The Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy (ISGAP) has tracked a direct correlation between universities which accept donations from Gulf countries, and the presence of Students for Justice in Palestine, an extremist anti-Israel group. Anti-Semitism is much more pronounced on those campuses.
Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar. It entered the United States market by buying former Vice President Al Gore’s CurrentTV for about $500 million in 2013. It has since rebranded that channel Al Jazeera America. It is available in many US households while its hip AJ+ channel can be found on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
In 2014, the Al Jazeera gave special airtime to various members of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The main media channel, Al Jazeera Arabic, routinely posts anti-US and anti-Semitic pieces. But those posts are beyond the capabilities and reach of most Americans, so they believe that watching Al Jazeera America is simply watching a news channel that represents an Arab point of view. In truth, they are supporting a media company that broadcasts propaganda for terrorists, which is owned by a government that funds those same terrorists.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are designed to be civil organizations which alleviate humanitarian needs. They might help communities fighting poverty, people addressing disabilities or supporting global stability. USAID states that NGOs “are critical change agents in promoting economic growth, human rights and social progress. USAID partners with NGOs to deliver assistance across all regions and sectors in which we work and to promote inclusive economic growth, strengthen health and education at the community level, support civil society in democratic reforms and assist countries recovering from disasters.“
International NGOs are suppose to be non-profit groups, and have operating budgets of billions of dollars. Groups like CARE, Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision International are major examples. The names and goals are seemingly charitable.
The reality paints a much grimmer picture.
NGO Monitor tracks many of these non-profit organizations. Many stray far from their mission of alleviating poverty and hunger and insert themselves directly into conflicts such as between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Over 30 NGOs tracked by NGO Monitor advocate for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel. The outline of the BDS strategy is:
Boycotts of products, culture, and academics – BDS activists lobby stores not to carry Israeli products and encourage others not to purchase them. They send letters to artists, musicians, authors, and academics, imploring them not to perform and appear in Israel or cooperate with Israeli institutions and pro-Israel individuals.
Divestment from companies that do business with Israel – Distorting the concept of ethical investing, NGOs accuse companies that conduct business in Israel of involvement in war crimes and violations of international law.
Sanctions against self-defense measures – Anti-Israel activists demand that the international community enact comprehensive sanctions against Israel – treating Israel as a pariah state. Other forms of sanctions include arms embargoes, which are premised on baseless charges of war crimes.
The NGOs also engage in “lawfare” which include lawsuits and campaigns in foreign, domestic, and international courts, against Israeli officials and companies, and governments that have relations with Israel. They also organize provocations such as flotillas and violent demonstrations under the guise of humanitarian operations and international law.
The vast majority of the funding for these activities come from European governments including Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. In many instances, this is in direct contradiction to the foreign policies of these countries, which explicitly oppose boycott efforts and support a two-state solution.
In December 2015, the Israeli government passed a bill which would provide transparency regarding those NGOs which receive a majority of their funding from foreign governments. The left-wing Pro-Palestinian group J Street came out strongly against the bill it claimed was “aimed at restricting the work of progressive non-governmental organizations which monitor human rights and oppose the occupation,” because most of the BDS NGOs are funded by governments while other NGOs operating in the region are supported by foreign companies and individuals.
The United Nations
The UN was founded on the principle of promoting world peace and stability but has strayed far from its mission. As the global body became more populated over the decades with dozens of non-Democracies, the UN and its various bodies became hotbeds of intolerance. The organizations have used considerable efforts to undermine Israel, the sole Jewish State.
UN Watch noted that “its absurd & morally obscene” that groups like the UN Human Rights Council elected some of the worst human rights offenders onto the committee including China, Cuba, Pakistan and Russia, especially as China “herded 1 million Uighurs into camps.“
This UNHCR assembled a “BDS Blacklist” listing 112 Israeli and foreign companies with the false charge of human rights violations because they operate in the West Bank. As noted by NGO Monitor, “the UN has repeatedly claimed that Israel is an occupier and responsible for carrying out economic and social obligations, yet at the same time seeks to punish Israel and companies doing business with Israel for carrying out the very duties specified under the law of occupation.” Further, these companies act in concert with the Oslo Accords signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, making the UN an enemy of the only agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The UN also created a unique agency, UNRWA, to help Palestinian refugees from Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. That organization continues to exist today to not only deal with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of internally-displaced people, but tens of thousands of others who might need care. These “refugees” in Gaza and the West Bank live next door to cousins who are not considered refugees as their grandparents were born in Gaza and the West Bank. UNRWA keeps these wards distinct from actual global refugees fleeing wars served by UNHCR, so as to compel Israel to absorb the Palestinian Arabs and cease to be a Jewish democracy.
US Actions to Change Governments
To return to the original complaint that Iran, China and Russia may be meddling in American politics is a bit too rich in hypocrisy. The Obama administration gave funds to a group trying to defeat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015. More forcefully, the Obama administration backed the killing of Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya which completely destabilized the country as it has descended into a haven for terrorists.
Foreign governments – particularly from the Persian Gulf – have infiltrated American universities and the media and advanced narratives and organizations which promote anti-Semitism. Those same governments and many from the European Union are actively assisting groups with ties to terrorists and those engaged in economic warfare against Israel.
And the momentum continues, as those countries are pushing all member states of the United Nations to join in their efforts against the Jewish State.
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