A Baker Institute official played a prominent role in boosting an anti-Israel advocate at Rice University.
Allen Matusow, academic affairs director at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and a history professor at Rice, traveled to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to raise money for the Arab American Educational Foundation. The AAEF gave $1 million to Rice for the creation of the campus' first endowed chair in Arab studies, established some 16 years ago.
That chair was given to history professor, Ussama Makdisi, a partisan advocate who teaches students that Israel is an illegitimate, colonial, racist, apartheid state, and who calls into question Israel's right to exist.
Makdisi is the nephew of the late Columbia University professor, Edward Said, who is credited with revolutionizing the anti-Israel movement on Western college campuses. Makdisi is involved in the same partisan work.
The Baker Institute promotes itself as a one of the nation's "leading nonpartisan public policy think tanks." Matusow, according to a Sept. 7, 1995, Rice media release, headed the search committee that selected Makdisi for the new AAEF chair, which was filled in 1997.
Matusow sits on the AAEF's advisory board and has been involved in the foundation since its inception in 1985.
The AAEF's mission is to "promote understanding of Arab culture, history and language through the endowment of university chairs and the sponsoring of academic programs, lecture series, cultural performances, scholarship and research."
Similar foundations, with similar missions on campus, have been established across the country over the past few decades. According to observers, the goal is to indoctrinate an entire generation of future American leaders to turn their backs on Israel, believing that without U.S. support, Israel will not survive.
The AAEF, Makdisi and the Baker Institute have partnered to host a variety of controversial programs and anti-Israel speakers on the Rice campus, directed at demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish state and its people.
Speakers have included Columbia University's Said, Joseph Massad and Rashid Khalidi; PLO politician and recent Baker fellow Hanan Ashrawi; revisionist historian Ilan Pappé; commentator Rami Khouri; and University of California-Irvine professor and Hezbollah advocate Lara Deeb.
The AAEF, similar to its efforts at Rice in the 1990s, launched a fundraising campaign at the end of 2010, targeting the University of Houston. The first step in the five-year plan is to hire a professor of Arab history, who will be planted as a seed to grow a multidisciplinary center for Arab studies at the largest college campus in the Texas Gulf Coast region.