Ford draws US congressional scrutiny for funding Columbia Panel, Mearsheimer speech


The Ford Foundation, which came under US congressional scrutiny in 2003 “for supporting groups committed to destroying Israel,” again has drawn censure from American elected officials, this time for funding a panel at Columbia Universityhighlighting a professor who blames Israel and its American supporters for the Iraq War and for Al Qaeda terrorism against America.” Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, co-author of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” with Stephen Walt of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, spoke October 30 at Columbia’s Heyman Center for the Humanities. The panel, entitled ‘Freedom and the University’, was paid for using part of a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to the Hyman Center. Representative Eliot Engel, a Democrat of the Bronx district, New York City, made this statement: “It’s disappointing that the Ford Foundation would make Mearsheimer one of the highlights of what they’re funding…If the Ford Foundation is going to say they’ve changed their attitudes, doing something like this only calls into question whether they’ve got the message and changed.” NGO Monitor has released a detailed report, Ford Foundation: 2006 Update on Funding for Political NGOs active in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, September 24, 2007, which highlights Ford’s continued support of many problematic NGOs, including major international organizations like Human Rights Watch as well as Palestinian NGOs such as the DWRC and PHRO, which promote the anti-Israel boycott movement.

In response to increased scrutiny of Ford, opponents of accountability and guidelines to prevent abuse have counter-attacked. Scott Sherman’s op-ed in The LA Times (“Fixing the Ford Foundation,” October 21, 2007) is one example, to which NGO Monitor has offered a thorough response.