A new report by a watchdog group exposed the family foundation of billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar for funding professors who push anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Israel agendas, the Middle East Forum (MEF) reported last week.
The Forum's Campus Watch investigated Omidyar's private foundation, the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, which awards fellowships and scholarships to many American and foreign universities.
The report, "Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute: The Omidyar Empire's Misadventures in Academe," discovered that some of the money is funding professors who are not just highly politicized, but who push anti-American and anti-Israel agendas at universities across the globe.
Omidyar was born in Paris but grew up in the U.S. The Roshan foundation is run by his Iranian-born mother, Elahe Omidyar Mir-Djalali.
"Under the guise of supporting the understanding of Iranian culture and history, Roshan funnels money – and a veneer of legitimacy – to politicized professors who skew history against the West and, at times, toward the Tehran regime," the report said.
The report details how hidden among the many legitimate grants to support Iranian culture and the Persian language "are those supporting tendentious, highly politicized, even Islamist projects and individuals."
One the recipients of Omidyar's funding is Iranian Studies Prof. Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University, who has a long history of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel bias. Dabashi has called American Jews "diehard Fifth Column Zionists working against the best interests of Americans," has called Zionists "hyenas" and once tweeted that Israel is responsible for "every dirty treacherous ugly and pernicious act happening in the world."
Another recipient is well-known anti-American and anti-Israel professor Noam Chomsky, who whitewashes the Iranian regime and blames Israel and the U.S. for unrest in the Middle East.
"Roshan's strategy of maintaining a low profile has allowed it to escape scrutiny from higher education watchdogs and other media so that its biases went unnoticed – until now," said Campus Watch director Winfield Myers.
"We hold Roshan and, by extension, the Omidyar empire, to account for their role in strengthening the politicized status quo in Middle East studies."
The MEF report did note, however, that the Anti-Defamation League had also received donations from Omidyar.