Is Qatar bankrolling U.S. colleges for BDS support? Watch group joins probe

Judicial Watch's petition is just the latest in an ongoing battle that Zachor Legal Institute has filed to access funding or donations records from Texas A&M.

May 15, 2019 11:10
1 minute read.
Doha, Qatar

Doha, Qatar. (photo credit: FADI AL-ASSAD/ REUTERS)


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A conservative watch group, Judicial Watch, has joined Zachor Legal Institute in its attempt to discover where Texas A&M receives its funding on Monday.

Zachor Legal Institute, an anti-BDS legal think tank, filed a lawsuit to compel Texas A&M University to share information regarding its funding earlier in the year. 

The institute believes, "that foreign entities are actively recruiting American students to provide support to anti-Semitic campaigns, including the terror-backed “BDS” movement, and further believes that these hate groups are financially supported by Qatar."

Judicial Watch filed a petition under the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA), hoping to obtain information about Qatar's potential influence on the university. This is not the Judicial Watch's first petition under the Freedom of Information Act. In fact, according to the New York Times, the watch group bombards the court with freedom act lawsuits. The group has sued Hillary Clinton repeatedly, yet according to the report, the vast majority of them have been dismissed. 

Judicial Watch's petition is just the latest in an ongoing battle where Zachor Legal Institute has filed to access funding or donations records from Texas A&M. 

In May 2018, the think tank filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Texas A&M to disclose its funding sources, specifically those from Qatar or its proxies. Instead of complying with the request, Qatari lawyers from the Qatar Foundation, a state-supported NGO, intervened. 

Qatar has given US $1 billion to American universities since 2011, and Zachor hopes to make a connection between Qatari funds and the “fondness for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" on college campuses.

The legal institute is focused on waging “a legal battle against anti-Israel movements in America,” specifically BDS.

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