July 12, 2012—New York—AJC is appalled at UNESCO's decision to sponsor a chair at the Islamic University of Gaza in astronomy, astrophysics and space sciences. The university is controlled by Hamas, indoctrinates its students with hatred of Israel, and has trained engineers implicated in terrorist operations.
"This move will be seen as granting international legitimacy to Hamas rejectionists," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "There are Palestinian universities that are serious academic institutions and deserve such consideration by UNESCO, but the choice of the Islamic University of Gaza, a blatantly political operation with no pretensions to objective scholarship, suggests that academic factors take a back seat to anti-Israel political correctness at UNESCO. We shudder to think how the knowledge acquired in the field of space sciences might one day be used by Hamas, a group on the terrorism list of both the U.S. and European Union and dedicated in its charter to Israel’s elimination."
UNESCO's announcement of the creation of the chair comes several months after that body granted full recognition and status to the Palestinian Authority, a step that triggered a cut-off of U.S. government funding to UNESCO.