Fox attacks Kagan for Harvard's acceptance of grant by major News Corp. shareholder

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

FOXNews.com and WorldNetDaily reported Sen. Jeff Sessions' attack on Elena Kagan for a donation to Harvard from a Saudi prince that -- according to Sessions -- established a center for Sharia Law. In fact, the gift was given to Harvard University, not Harvard Law School, it did not establish a center for "Sharia Law," and the prince is a major shareholder of Fox News' parent News Corp.

FOX, WND uncritically reported Sessions' attack over Harvard Islamic Studies program

On June 16, Sessions attacked Kagan on Senate floor over Harvard Islamic Studies program. From Sessions' floor speech:

SESSIONS: Now information has come to light suggesting that Ms. Kagan may even have been less morally principled in her approach than has been portrayed. Around the same time that Dean Kagan was campaigning to exclude military recruiters--citing what she saw as the evils of don't ask, don't tell--Harvard University accepted $20 million from a member of the Saudi Royal family to establish a center for ''Islamic Studies'' and Sharia law. An Obama State Department report concerning Saudi Arabia and the Sharia law concept noted:

"Under Shari'a as interpreted in [Saudi Arabia] sexual activity between two persons of the same gender is punishable by death or flogging."

Ms. Kagan was perfectly willing to obstruct the military, which has liberated countless Muslims from the hate and tyranny of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, but it seems she was willing to sit on the sidelines as Harvard created a center funded by--and dedicated to--foreign leaders presiding over a legal system that would violate what would appear to be her position. [emphasis added]

WND report: "'Hypocrisy? Elena Kagan is your name': Protests 'anti-gay' military, accepts $20 million from Saudis." From a June 16 World Net Daily report:

'Hypocrisy? Elena Kagan is your name'

Protests 'anti-gay' military, accepts $20 million from Saudis

The leader of an effort to reject the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan joins Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., in pointing out her vehement protests of U.S. military recruiting on Harvard University's campus while accepting a $20 million donation from Saudi Arabia.

What incensed Kagan about the military was its "don't ask, don't tell" policy on service by homosexuals, said Joseph Farah, WND chief executive officer and the organizer of the Stop Kagan Campaign, which delivers personalized, individually addressed anti-Kagan letters to all 100 U.S. senators by Fed Ex for $24.95. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's homosexual policy is the death penalty.

"Ms. Kagan was perfectly willing to obstruct the U.S. military - which has liberated countless Muslims from the hate and tyranny of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban," Sessions said. "But it seems she sat on the sidelines as Harvard created an Islamic Studies Center funded by - and dedicated to - foreign leaders presiding over a legal system that violates what would appear to be her position."

Farah added: "Hypocrisy? Your name is Elena Kagan."

FOXNews.com report: "Senate Republican Accuses Kagan of Staying Silent on Saudi Gift to Harvard." From a June 16 FOXNews.com report:

Senate Republican Accuses Kagan of Staying Silent on Saudi Gift to Harvard

A Senate Republican is accusing Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan -- who protested the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as an influential dean at Harvard -- of remaining silent about the university receiving $20 million from a Middle East country that sanctions the oppression of gays.

The accusation comes as the both sides in Senate gear up for the start of confirmation hearings for Kagan, as Republicans opposed to her confirmation seize on "anti-military" fodder.

On Wednesday, during a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted Harvard University accepted a $20 million gift from Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz in 2005 that was used to establish a center for Islamic Studies in his honor.

Sessions cited an Obama State Department report that noted that homosexual acts are a crime in Saudi Arabia under Sharia law and punishable by death or flogging.

At around the same time the university was accepting the gift, Kagan, as dean of the Harvard Law School, was actively seeking to exclude military recruiters from the campus for banning gays from serving openly in the military.

"Ms. Kagan was perfectly willing to obstruct the U.S. military - which has liberated countless Muslims from the hate and tyranny of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban," Sessions said. "But it seems she sat on the sidelines as Harvard created an Islamic Studies Center funded by - and dedicated to - foreign leaders presiding over a legal system that violates what would appear to be her position."

Gift was accepted by Harvard University, not Harvard Law School

Prince's gift to Harvard University established university-wide program at Harvard - not the Law School. Kagan did not "accept" the gift, as WND alleged. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal's 2005 gift to Harvard University established the Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University. According to the university, the program "bring[s] together faculty, students, and researchers from across the University and coordinat[es] their activities through one Program housed within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences."

Harvard has reportedly rejected gift from donor it believed was tied to "anti-American and anti-Jewish" sentiment. From a December 13, 2005, Boston Globe article:

Gifts to Harvard from wealthy Arabs also have been controversial in the post-9/11 environment.

Donations during the 1990s to the schools of law and design from relatives of Osama bin Laden were criticized after 9/11. But the money had no known ties to bin Laden or terrorism, and Harvard kept the gifts. Last year, Harvard Divinity School returned a $ 2.5 million gift from the president of the United Arab Emirates because of the president's ties to an Arab League think tank with alleged anti-American and anti-Jewish leanings.

But problems with the Alwaleed donation do not seem probable. The prince, who is a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, is widely known for his pro-American views and for his major investments in the United States.

WND and Fox did not cite any evidence of discrimination resulting from program established by gift

Neither Fox nor WND cited any discrimination as a result of Harvard's Islamic Studies program. The FOXNews.com and World Net Daily reports on Sessions' attack did not cite any discrimination that resulted from the creation of Harvard University's Islamic Studies Program.

Islamic Studies Program is not a program in "Sharia Law." Though Sessions claimed that "Harvard University accepted $20 million from the Saudi Royal Family to establish a Center for Islamic Studies and, uh, Sharia Law," the Islamic Studies Program is not a program for "Sharia law." Rather, it offers a wide variety of courses, including "Religion in Global Politics," "Early Iranian Civilizations," and "Christianity Along The Silk Road."

Saudi prince's Kingdom Holdings "largest shareholder" of Fox's parent, News Corp., "outside the Murdoch family"

Financial Times: "Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holdings" "largest shareholder" of News Corp. "outside the Murdoch family." According to a January 22, 2010 Financial Times article, "Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holdings owns a 7 per cent stake, or 56m shares, of News Corp and is the largest shareholder outside the Murdoch family. The prince is not on News Corp's board of directors." The Times, which reported the prince "will back James Murdoch as Rupert Murdoch's successor at News Corp when the elder media tycoon is ready to retire," also noted:

Prince Alwaleed's backing of Mr Murdoch's youngest son from his second marriage comes as he explores deeper alliances with News Corp.

Last week, the Saudi billionaire met Mr Murdoch senior in New York to discuss "economic and investment issues, especially in the media sector" and a "future potential alliance with News Corp", according to a statement on the Kingdom Holdings website.

Posted In
Government, Nominations & Appointments, The Judiciary
Network/Outlet
WorldNetDaily, FoxNews.com
Stories/Interests
Supreme Court Nominations, Elena Kagan
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.