Say Hello to Professor Trevor Getz

TrevorOne of doctor Astren’s colleagues at San Francisco State University is rather unhappy with me.

In an email, professor Trevor R. Getz writes the following:

Hi Mike,

I’m wanted to write to apologize for your education in our department. We clearly failed to teach you critical research skills.

That was tongue in cheek, and maybe a tiny but biting, but seriously, Tammi Benjamin made simple and embarrassing errors in her analysis of the situation. I’m a bit concerned that blindly accepting her interpretation is going to affect your reputation as a scholar. Seriously, my friend, you might want to suspend your willing belief and to wait for neutral bodies to weigh in all of the evidence. I’ve actually seen the evidence and Tammi screwed up on this one…. Weakened any pro-Israel case on this campus for a long time. You will at least owe poor Fred an apology, and Tammi hasn’t done any favors to those of us trying to make things better at State.

All the best to you, colleague,

Trevor – a Jewish Professor in the history department

Doctor Getz is from South Africa and is a professor of African history.  He also received a Fulbright Scholarship and is the Director of the Initiative for Public Humanities at San Francisco State University and is, therefore, a person of considerable respect within the Bay Area community and a respectable scholar.

He writes:

I’m a bit concerned that blindly accepting her interpretation is going to affect your reputation as a scholar.

While I very much appreciate professor Getz’s concern for my reputation as a scholar, I find myself a bit more concerned about the truth.

Here is one truth:

Professor Rabab Abdulhadi acted as the adviser to the General Union of Palestine Students at San Francisco State University.

Now my understanding of scholarship, crude as it is, is that it has something to do with offering truth to people.  In fact, I would even go so far as to suggest that the fundamental notion behind the entire project, which is to say, the notion that stands as the foundation of the entire western academe, is that particular proposition.

I assume that professor Getz agrees and if he does not I very much hope that he will let me know.

Now, we also know this truth:

The president of the General Union of Palestine Students, Mr. Muhammad Hammad, held up a knife in public and called for murder.

This is either true or false, but I feel reasonably certain that I can claim it as true, given the fact that, well, here is the picture:

So, what does that add up to so far?
We have a professor at a respected university, professor Abdulhadi, who acted as an adviser to a student organization, the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), the president of which last year called for the murder of Jews.
This is not an exaggeration.  It is not hyperbole.  It is a matter of cold fact.Doctor Getz, if he wishes, can argue that Mr. Hammad has nothing against Jews, but merely the Israeli Defense Forces, the IDF.  If so, we can have that conversation, but I certainly disagree and if Getz wants to make that claim we can discuss it.

Seriously, my friend, you might want to suspend your willing belief and to wait for neutral bodies to weigh in all of the evidence.

How long are we supposed to wait?

The university just recently came out with a claim in defense of Abdulhadi.  This does not give any comfort or satisfaction for those of us within the local Jewish community who care about this issue.  To disparage professor Benjamin because she is willing to stand up for the Jewish people should be beneath the dignity of San Francisco State University and its Department of History – which, by the way, I intended to keep out of this, entirely… but now here you are.

Here is another truth.

SFSU students, during a celebration of a new mural in honor of the late professor, Edward Said, held up signs calling for murder.

Again, this is not a matter of conjecture, nor interpretation.  It is a matter of fact.

sfsu1
Here is a photo of a San Francisco State University student during that event smiling for the camera as he recommends murder:Now, I could be wrong – what with the weakness of my critical research skills – but I am pretty sure that when a student from San Francisco State University publicly holds up a sign during a university sponsored event calling for killing it means that we have a student from San Francisco State University publicly holding up a sign during a university sponsored event calling for killing.

The logic behind that claim could be faulty, but I fail to see how.
A = A.
I would even go so far as to suggest that it might say a little something about the political culture of that campus and it might incline people to wonder about the history of the political culture of that campus.You guys have no idea the can of worms that you have opened up, but I have to say, professor Abdulhadi’s advocacy for terrorism has caught the attention of people that you are not aware of.People are curious monkeys and if a particular organization spits out enough hatred over a long enough period of time people will begin to wonder why.

San Francisco State University is a terrific university, but it is simply not immune to that fact.

Heck, I love SFSU and met my wife there.

But, the bottom line is this, my friend.
You have a problem and it is not going to go away as if you can simply shoo away the public.
I was there, professor Getz, and saw and heard the hatred first hand as a graduate student long before you even considered your application.I also intend to write about it and I have curious friends.You seem to think that you are dealing with one particular woman within a narrow locale that you can shrug your shoulders at.

You are not.

Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives , a regular contributor to the Times of Israel and the Elder of Ziyon.

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4 comments

  1. When one wears the badge of Academia to peddle prejudice it is a healthy sign to change professions and the most suitable is taxi driver.
    Getz talks like one.

    • OMG Otto
      I thought you’d left the planet. There have been some great articles which I thought you would have commented on

      • to be honest, great and dear Shirl, I needed a break from the gloom of getting involved in Jewish matters….

  2. Leon Poddebsky

    “Offering truth to people” used to be the purported foundation of academe in the West; it no longer is so.
    The politicisation of what is dishonestly referred to as ‘scholarship’ in many of the social “sciences” and humanities faculties in the West has been blatant for years.

    One of the “New Historians” of the Arab-Israeli conflict ( if memory serves, it was Ilan Pappe) actually publicly and impudently declared that he saw it as his mission to use his “work” as a weapon in the fight against Israel’s existence.

    In 1973 I personally witnessed this kind of intellectually corrupt misconduct at Sydney University.
    That university has since become so degraded that it is the home of “The Department of Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies,” a body that does not even attempt to conceal its politicisation.