SFSU Responds to Arab Calls for Violence Against Jews

San Francisco State University (SFSU) president, Les Wong, has responded for the second time to criticisms that calling for the murder of Jews is perhaps something less than educative.  And for the second time he refuses to address the central issue, which is a call to violence against Jews by the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS).

Professor Wong, who earned a PhD in educational psychology from Washington State University, makes three significant points.  The first is that calling for the murder of Jews is essentially a matter of free speech.  That is his first and foremost point.  It is not that calling for the murder of Jews might be in contradiction to university policy, the law, or just common human decency, but that calling for the murder of Jews is a matter of free speech.

He writes:

First and foremost, I ask that you stay firmly committed to free speech.  Strong opinions—and strong disagreements—are essential to the life of our democracy, and the life of our university.

Thus, in the mind of the president of San Francisco State University, whether or not to kill Jews is a matter for discussion and debate.  It cannot be condemned outright because that would ruin the discussion on this important matter.  SFSU cannot expel Mohammad Hammad, the president of GUPS, who held up a knife before the camera and said:

“I seriously can not get over how much I love this blade. It is the sharpest thing I own and cuts through everything like butter and just holding it makes me want to stab an Israeli soldier….”

Nor can the university cease funding GUPS, and thus eliminate the call for the murder of Jews on the campus of SF State, because that would violate student rights to a free and open discussion on the issues of the day.  In other words, it seems to Professor Wong that the question of genocide against the Jewish people is a matter open to discussion and as the president of an important institution of higher education, dedicated to social justice and human rights, he does not want to interfere with that discussion.

He is, nonetheless, considering, maybe, doing something:

Second, trust that I will step in when speech or actions cross the line into violations of law or University policy. I am absolutely committed to maintaining a safe environment. In both recent cases, for example, we have conducted thorough threat assessments with law enforcement, increased campus safety measures, facilitated dialogue with student groups, offered counseling resources and initiated the student conduct review process. I am confident these actions protect both the safety and the rights of our campus community.  In all situations, I ask that you give our processes the time needed to be thorough, objective and effective.  Understand as well that these processes must protect the rights and privacy of those who may be the subject of counseling, review or sanction.

The way that Dusty put it, over at San Francisco State Unbecoming, is that:

We are being asked to respect the system, and to respect the process.

What president Wong is saying is that if, and when, it is determined that calling for the murder of Jews is in violation of the law or university policy then, perhaps, he may actually do something, but until we figure that out “first and foremost” is the matter of free speech.

It is not as if we are unclear whether or not GUPS called for the murder of Jews, because they quite clearly did so.  On November 7, during a rally in honor of anti-Israel / anti-Jewish scholar, Edward Said, they handed out signs that said, “My heroes have always killed colonizers.”

The question to ask yourself is just who are these “colonizers” in need of killing?

I am pretty sure that you know the answer to that question.

Finally, professor Wong says this:

Third, keep an open mind.  I have spoken before about the obligation to own your own mind. Issues being debated on campus can capture widespread attention.  This can be a welcome contribution to the dialogue. It can also be a source of confusion, misinformation, and pressure to subvert our processes.  Each of us at this university is a scholar—whether student, faculty member or staff—and each of us has the obligation to form opinions and take action based on exploring, analyzing and carefully listening before drawing conclusions.


Who could disagree with such a reasoned and sensible assessment of the question of whether or not Jews (i.e., “colonizers” – otherwise also known as insidious “Zionists”) should be killed or not?  We need to keep an open mind on the matter and thereby see point number one, the matter of free speech.  In truth, Wong’s Point Number One and Wong’s Point Number Three are essentially identical.

None of this should actually be surprising to anyone.  For decades the progressive-left has told itself that the Jews in the Middle East deserve a good beating.

Doctor Wong just wants students to be free to discuss the possibility.


Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

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  1. Clearly, as the name implies, Les Wong is of Chinese origins.

    Maybe someone should ask him what he’d do if the word Chinese was substituted for Jewish.

  2. Otto Waldmann

    Hey Michael, next time you see the Doctoris in Ethics of Choice ask him what would be his reaction to a call of the same kind made against , say, Albanians, Zulus, or why not Chinese !!??

  3. See this recent piece by Dawn Purlmutter at Middle East Forum about the ritual significance of throat cuttings, beheadings and decapitations of infidels by jihadists with beloved sharp knives who, just as this hateful kid in San Francisco, are outspoken about what must be done with the blades. If you can stomach it. It includes an hypothesis that certain unsolved murders in the US and Canada should be examined as likely jihadist hate crimes.. .


    • I don’t know that I can stomach it, Geoff.

      I have to say, I will need some time to process the conversations that I had today and determine what I might want to say.

      As I mentioned over at IT, I am pleasantly surprised that the general mood among the people who I talked to – people who hold considerable significance on that campus and for whom I hold respect – is cautiously positive.

      I need to ponder on this one because that campus is my campus, too.

  4. Michael, in Australia, Crimes Act Amendment (Incitement to Violence) Bill was introduced in 2005, which would have criminalised speech like this. I’m not sure if it ever became law, but I believe making threats to kill is a criminal offence here. What’s the situation in America?

    There’s a vast difference between free speech and incitement to violence. Anyone can see that – except perhaps a Professor with a PhD in educational psychology. It seems that in our postmodern world, taking a higher degree, especially in the humanities, educates you for stupidity.

  5. I think that Les Wong is “wong’ in his way of interpreting freedom of expression.
    Maybe I should paint a Mural saying kill all Muslim invaders and see how far my rights for freedom of expression goes….. not very far I will say.
    People need to see that rejecting the Islamic Ideology is not the same thing as opposing religion.
    Islam and it’s constitution written in 622 AD must be debated and show to be an out dates doctrine that has no place in the modern world. People just need to look around the world to see that Islam with it’s massive population being made up of the poorest and most uneducated people will remain a hindrance to humanity until we can help these people come out of the dark ages, support there movement into other religious faiths if needed and free them from their self imposed slavery and submission.

  6. I think, as Prof Wong, that free speech is essential.

    On that note, a picture should be published of someone holding up a blade and a picture of his child or other loved one. In that vein, we should hold open discussion on whether we should kill the child as the world is overcrowded.

    Alternatively, in the US, how long would it be before we were arrested if we held a picture of Obama and had that discussion….

    Or held up a picture of Wong’s child offering it as prize for a paedophile.

    Free speech has limits. Incitement to violence and peadophilia are probably the only two limits.

    Wong is wrong and if he doesn’t know it, he is unfit for his position and should be removed asap before he continues to undermine the basic tenets of peaceful society.

  7. I think we all agree – freedom of speech doesn’t extend to promoting and inciting violence. As Pam says, the more educated we are the more stupid we seem to become. A bit of common sense and common decency is in order – yet sadly – it may considered bigoted to teach this now.

  8. Otto Waldmann

    I think we must establish here certain delimitations.
    The notion of “free speech” has COMPLETELY different values in and out of the Academic sphere.
    “Free Speech” and the complete freedom of expression, assimilated in the unlimited freedom of choice of matters, subjects, are the FUNDAMENTAL privileges of Academia.
    I would dare ANYONE to search the type of topics that are delivered, studied, espoused, written about in any Universities and one would be ‘aghast” at the variety of subjects which would, otherwise, in a “civil” society , be so illegal that quite a number of those residing and working in Academia would be instantly placed in “solitary” in any goal you’d care to name.

    The issue here is TRANSGRESSION of privileges !!

    Michael, I know you have plenty of time to spare so, here I suggest, in relation to this Wong guy, to look into the topic of ” Efficacy in the Resolution of Conflict”.
    Look at from the “strictly” academic prism and traverse into civil society – actually the political realm as such -.
    Wong seems to express outside his academic space the notion of necessary expedient resolution of conflict as distinct from the “academically inclined” practice of “laboratory” dialectics.
    Wong proposes a compromise whereby conflict needs to be resolved by immediate cessation.
    This involves mechanical intervention and biased resolution. It means sacrificing even the possible legitimacy of one side for the sake of termination of conflict as such.
    Wong ignores rational argument, leans on one side even by un-studied choice, bases his preferences on the LOWEST denominators, sufficient, he implies, to elucidate the matters debated by SIMPLE annulment of confrontation. This MUST be his modus operandi simply because he does not explain WHY he sides with one conflictual entity. He simply picks a few war determinants, causa belli, accepts them as valid, places his emphassis and support behind them, causes it to succeed and, thus, the conflict is resolved by its own means, i.e. brute force. Brute force is valid here as ABSENCE OF REASON.
    Wong abandons formal rational protocols and is happy to arrive at a space of NON-conflict.
    He calls it, implicitly, civilised norms, simply because conflict is the result of um-civilised traits.
    How clearly have we arrived at the desired harmony we hope and call PEACE
    Wong’s incursion into the non-academic by the use of strict academic formulas causes all manner of cries for indictment.
    Yet, is he so socially inept while being absolved academically of any infringement !
    Is Academia that much of an isolated domain with strict ethical segregation that almost ANYTHING is permitted to be performed and eventually permeate ouside its protected perimeter with impunity?
    Here we need Michael Lumish to illuminate us !

  9. Michael

    here’s a few ideas I wish to throw at you because I know:
    a. you got plenty of time………..
    b. you got the inclination
    c. I got the patience, so let’s have it by this Thursday.

    Item #1 :” Ideological Cyclops “, or “One Eyed Free Range Campus Big Mouths “.

    Item #2: ” National and Notional Eschatology”
    This one I am working on myself. It has to do with “Fathers of Nations” and “Fathers of Ideological Movements”.
    My essay will identify ….. known Fathers of Nations. I shall start with the “freshest”, Mandela.
    In the same class would be, of course, Bolivar ( although he is more expansive), Ataturk, Ghandi, Mao and Kim and evcen Bung Sukarno. Ideological “Fathers”, in the same eschatological cathegory would be:
    Marx, ( one Jesus goes WITHOUT any mention ) and to some extent Keyes. For a very short ( and fortunate) while Karl Popper reared his head.
    We have a semi-eschatological figure ( only one degree from idolatry, being only bi-dimensional,) The Rebbe, although I am very seriously accusing Chabad of idolatry by elevating to worship the building shape of the 1st Head Office of Chabad, as in tri-dimensional representation.
    Idea: To what extent can we attribute the accomplishments of historical significance to THE One Figure representation and apellation of “Fathers” !!?? Implicitely , is it fair to relegate entire movements and their effective participants to the sole benefit of the O,NE symbolic as it is, profile !!?? How realistic ids the “mere” size of the national and/or notional eschatological representation !!??

    To be fair, the ONLY one I consider worthy of singular effectiveness/worth is Karl Marx.

    Royal eschatology: Shinto and Thai Royalty.