Qatar Money Casts Shadow Over Prestigious Think Tank

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Brookings Institution building near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.
The Brookings Institution building near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

The integrity of the Brookings Institution was called into question by Israeli officials following a report that the renowned think tank has been receiving significant funding from Qatar.

Last year, Qatar, the main bankroller for Hamas, pledged $14.8 million over four years to Brookings, according to disclosures on Sunday in The New York Times. That makes Qatar the single biggest foreign donor to Brookings, which gets 12 percent of its funds from foreign sources.

“Qatar has been a major bankroller for Hamas and other terrorist organizations,” one government official said. “The fact that the same Qatari government is also a major provider of funds for a respectable Washington think tank raises a whole series of questions about that think tank’s relationships and impartiality.”

According to the report, “more than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities.”

The Brookings Institution is also the past and present employer of former Middle East envoy Martin Indyk, who worked closely with Secretary of State John Kerry in the recently failed peace talks.

Since the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Indyk raised a storm with remarks largely blaming Israel, and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in particular, for the disappointing outcome.

In a recent interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Indyk said President Barack Obama became “enraged” by Israeli criticism of Secretary Kerry.