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AJCommittee Proposes Guidelines for Schools Accepting Arab Money

March 8, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Concerned by efforts of Arab countries to influence American institutions of higher learning, the American Jewish Committee has sent a proposed guideline to 187 leading colleges and universities aimed at preventing these schools from agreeing to discriminatory practices or biased courses when accepting foreign money.

The AJCommittee had originally become involved in the issue because of concern that Arab sponsored programs could be used to spread anti-Semitism or anti-Israel biases on college campuses, Melvin Marians, chairman of the AJCommittee’s National Committee on Special Projects, told a pass conference today. But he said as the issue was studied it was "not safely a Jewish problem" but one for all Americans since the "integrity of our colleges and universities" are of "great importance" to this country.

Ira Silverman; director of special programs for the AJCommittee, said there were no objections to "legitimate" programs of study of the Arab or Islamic world. He said there were objections to programs which displayed a definite anti-Israel slant as could be seen in their courses and lecturers.

Silverman pointed specifically to the $750,000 received by Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. from Libya for an Arab studies center and the $1 million given the University of Southern California by Saudi Arabia for Arab studies, both with the proviso that Middle East studies would not include Israel.

On Georgetown, Silverman noted that not only was that university honoring Muammar Qoddafi who was the "underwriter" of terrorist activities throughout the world as well as the university program but was also being asked to accept a pro-Arab slant in its courses. He said that Georgetown said it was willing to receive Jewish an Israeli funds for a program on the other side.

Silverman stressed that Jewish groups would not be "sucked in" to trying to match Arab programs, since the important point was that no course should be slanted but be based on academic standards. He stressed, however, that Georgetown, a Catholic university, was not anti-Jewish was creating a good Judaic studies program and had many professors close to Israel on its faculty.


Another concern expressed by Silverman and Merians, was the requirement that colleges accepting Arab funds exclude Jews from their programs. They noted that a group of Midwestern universities as well as such schools as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had rejected programs for this reason.

Silverman said the AJCommittee program had been worked out in consultation with university presidents and professors and the staff of the American Council on Education. He said AJCommittee chapters throughout the country would be contacting the schools on the guidelines as well as monitoring any discriminatory programs in their areas.

The proposed guidelines would have the university or college state that it will not discriminate on grounds of race, sex, religion or national origin in hiring or assigning personnel or in the administration of grants, contracts or other agreements with foreign entities and will not allow these entities to discriminate against the school’s personnel.

Also, the school will not discriminate in the admission of students to the programs. It will not accept any grant, contract or other agreement with a foreign entity which would require cancelling programs or contacts with other countries. The A JCommittee recommends that all potential donors be given a copy of the guidelines and that a university official be given the responsibility for monitoring compliance with the guidelines.

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