(December 13, 2019 / JNS) Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) has called on the U.S. Department of Education to investigate whether Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies violated Title VI of the 1965 Higher Education Act for allegedly having an anti-Israel agenda.
“While any university is free under the First Amendment to pursue any academic course it deems worthwhile, no matter how unwise, it does not authorize the university to spend federal grant money for programs not in accordance with the intent of the grant program and counter to America’s interests,” he wrote in a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Riggleman cited a Middle East Forum report that stated “Georgetown University’s various Middle East Studies (MES) faculty have a reputation as the most intolerant, ideological, anti-Israel and pro-Islamist in the United States.”
The congressman claimed that the center, which received $484,558 from the U.S. Department of Education under Title VI to provide funding for foreign-language and international-studies centers in higher education institutions in the United States, “is run by openly pro-BDS faculty,” such as CCAS director Osama Abi-Mershed, who has pledged “not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions” and Judith Tucker, who is the president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).
Riggleman said MESA has “adopted a consistently anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Israel perspective on scholarship and political issues; under Tucker these trends have accelerated.”
Additionally, the letter decried the CCAS board of directors, which includes Qatari Minister of State Abdulrahman bin Saud Al-Thani, whose country’s “nefarious activities in support of terrorism and the spread of Salafist ideology has continued unabated.”
Referring to combating the anti-Israel BDS movement, Riggleman wrote: “Support for academic boycotts of American allies and foreign-sovereigns on advisory boards may be acceptable with other funds, but not with taxpayer-directed dollars designated for American national security funding.”
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