Student protests across the United States are targeting financial ties between universities and Israel. But information about these links isn’t clear-cut, Al Jazeera explains.

  • The US Education Department requires colleges to report gifts and contracts from foreign sources, but a lot of underreporting takes place, with institutions dodging reporting requirements by steering money through separate foundations that work on their behalf.
  • According to an Education Department database, about 100 US post-secondary schools have reported gifts or contracts from Israel totalling $375 million over the past two decades.
  • As one example, some student protesters allege the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has accepted more than $11m from Israel’s Defense Ministry over the past decade to work on projects related to drone navigation and missile systems.
  • Students at the University of Michigan cite investments in companies that produce drones or warplanes used in Israel, as well as surveillance technology used at checkpoints into Gaza. University of Michigan officials, however, say they have no direct investments with Israeli companies.

Columbia University students participate in an ongoing pro-Palestinian encampment on their campus with a pro-Israel student holding an Israeli flag on April 23, 2024 in New York City. — AFP
Columbia University students participate in an ongoing pro-Palestinian encampment on their campus with a pro-Israel student holding an Israeli flag on April 23, 2024 in New York City. — AFP

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