Rowover sheikh’s £2.5m LSE do­na­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page -

THE STU­DENTS’ Union of the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics has at­tacked the LSE’s ac­cep­tance of a £2.5 mil­lion do­na­tion which will en­tail the nam­ing of a new lec­ture the­atre af­ter the late ruler of the United Arab Emi­rates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sul­tan Al Nahyan.

Har­vard Uni­ver­sity re­fused a sim­i­lar do­na­tion in 2004 due to the al­leged ties of the Sheikh Zayed Cen­tre to an­tisemitism and Holo­caust de­nial.

The Cen­tre is un­der­stood to have spon­sored lec­tures and pub­li­ca­tions on Holo­caust de­nial and an­ti­semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries.

In 2004, Har­vard re­turned $2.5 mil­lion it re­ceived from Sheikh Zayed, af­ter it emerged that his Zayed In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for Co-or­di­na­tion had spon­sored lec­tures and pub­li­ca­tions claim­ing that Zion­ists were re­spon­si­ble for the Holo­caust and that the US mil­i­tary had car­ried out the Septem­ber 11 at­tacks in 2001.

The LSE and the UAE’s cur­rent ruler, Sheikh Ab­dul­lah bin Zayed al Nahyan, signed an agree­ment in De­cem­ber 2006 to cre­ate a new Cen­tre for Mid­dle East­ern Stud­ies at the uni­ver­sity.

The Cen­tre has not yet been set up. But a few weeks ago, it was an­nounced that the main lec­ture the­atre, in the LSE’s new aca­demic build­ing open­ing this month, will be named af­ter Sheikh Ab­dul­lah’s fa­ther, the late Sheikh Zayed, who died in 2004. This is in re­turn for a do­na­tion of £2.5 mil­lion that is ex­pected to cover about 20 per cent of the costs of the new build­ing.

The plan was dis­cov­ered by the LSE’s stu­dent union a few weeks ago. The union’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee this week con­demned the de­ci­sion to ac­cept the do­na­tion, say­ing that “to ac­cept a do­na­tion from a state with such a well­doc­u­mented his­tory of hu­man-rights abuses is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able. Fur­ther, to name a new lec­ture the­atre af­ter a dead dic­ta­tor with sus­pected links to Holo­caust de­nial and an­tisemitism is com­pletely be­yond the pale.”

A stu­dent state­ment notes that the LSE had a sur­plus of £26 mil­lion last year. The union in­sists: “Stu­dents have a right to know why an in­sti­tu­tion with a Cen­tre for the Study of Hu­man Rights was will­ing to ac­cept this money. The School should re­name the lec­ture the­atre im­me­di­ately and re­turn all do­na­tions re­ceived from the Emi­rates Foun­da­tion [the body through which the do­na­tion was made].”

Aled Dil­wyn Fisher, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the union, said: “We think that it’s very con­tro­ver­sial to name a the­atre af­ter such a coun­try’s ruler. There doesn’t seem to have been a vet­ting process.”

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Dan Shel­don, who ini­tially brought the mat­ter to the union’s no­tice, said: “We un­der­stand that the chan­cel­lors are very wor­ried about this and that it might ruin their fundrais­ing ef­forts, but we just don’t be­lieve they should be ac­cept­ing such do­na­tions.”

Mr Shel­don was ac­tive last year in pro-Is­rael ad­vo­cacy on cam­pus. Joseph Brown, the union’s anti-racism of­fi­cer, who worked for the Pales­tine So­ci­ety on cam­pus, sup­ported the con­dem­na­tion, say­ing: “This is a valu­able hu­man­rights cam­paign. Re­gard­less of our dif­fer­ences on other is­sues, tak­ing money from such a source is an abom­i­na­tion on an­other level.”

No-one at the LSE was avail­able for com­ment. But its di­rec­tor, Howard Davies, was quoted in the union’s news­pa­per, The Beaver, as say­ing that, in the 21 months since the agree­ment be­tween LSE and the UAE was an­nounced, they had not re­ceived any ob­jec­tions of any kind, and that other aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions, such as Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity, had ac­cepted do­na­tions and named cen­tres af­ter Sheikh Zayed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.