Jew Hatred Funded at SFSU.

Originally published as “San Francisco State University Funds Hatred Toward Jews
abdulhadiI am sorry, but that is the simplest, bluntest, and most honest way that I can put it.

San Francisco State University funds hatred toward Jews.

Between December 24 of last year and June 26 of this I published ten pieces concerning racism toward Jews at San Francisco State University, my alma mater.  These pieces concerned themselves with little facts such as:

1) SFSU funds student organizations, such as the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), that call for the murder of Jews, whom they call “colonizers.”

2) In the last academic year, Muhammad Hammad, the former president of GUPS held up a blade, took a “selfie,” and then published it on a social media site and talked about his desire to kill Jews.

fist3) The adviser to GUPS, professor Rabab Abdulhadi, a malicious anti-Israel anti-Jewish political activist who specializes in some semi-academic discipline called “race and resistance studies,” took a university funded trip to the Middle East for the purpose of meeting with various terrorists and their supporters including plane hijacker, Leila Khaled, whom they exalt as a “freedom fighter.”

Of course, anti-Jewish malice is nothing new at San Francisco State University up to, and including, mob violence.  When I was there at the end of the 1990s Jewish students often faced Arab student organizations, in coordination with the pan-African student group, that regularly demonized Jews on the SFSU campus for their support of Israel.

I will never forget walking past Malcolm X Plaza, in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, and seeing Arab students and Black students holding aloft an American flag with fifty little Stars of David in it.  I guarantee you that almost every member of the tiny Jewish minority on that campus, who walked by that display, understood very well in a visceral way what they were being told.  It was this:

You better watch your ass.

After I graduated things apparently got worse at SFSU.

Todd Gitlin, sociologist, political scientist, and former student radical, writing in Mother Jones Magazine on June 17, 2002, quotes former director of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, Laurie Zoloth:

“I cannot fully express what it feels like to have to walk across campus daily, past maps of the Middle East that do not include Israel, past posters of cans of soup with labels on them of drops of blood and dead babies, labeled ‘canned Palestinian children meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites under American license,’ past poster after poster calling out Zionism=racism, and Jews=Nazis.”

Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, December 14, 2004, Cinnamon Stillwell tells us this:

How did such a threatening environment become associated with a campus located in one of the most liberal and tolerant cities in the nation? The truth is that SFSU has a reputation for intolerance that goes back at least 10 years. In this case, Republican students, clearly a minority at SFSU, were the targets. But in the past, such animosity was directed mostly at Jewish students or those seen as supporting Israel. Jews at SFSU have been spat on, called names and physically attacked, as well as censured by the administration for defending themselves, even as their attackers went unpunished.

The case of Tatiana Menaker, a Russian Jewish emigré and former SFSU student, is an example of the latter indignity. After committing the “crime” of responding verbally to another student’s anti-Semitic epithets during a 2002 rally, she found herself persecuted by the administration.

Pulled into a kangaroo court, threatened with expulsion and ordered by the university to perform 40 hours of community service (but specifically not for a Jewish organization), Menaker was later exonerated after seeking legal assistance from the Students for Academic Freedom and the local Jewish Community Relations Council. But the damage was done.

During my time as a student at SFSU (Class of 1996), I was given a preview of things to come. In 1994, the Student Union Governing Board commissioned a mural to honor the late Black Muslim revolutionary Malcolm X. Designed by members of the Pan Afrikan Student Union and painted by artist Senay Dennis (known also as Refa-1), the finished product was problematic, to say the least. Along with an image of Malcolm X, the not-so-subtle symbols of Stars of David juxtaposed with dollar signs, skulls and crossbones, and the words “African blood,” had been painted. Despite the obvious allusion to anti-Semitic blood libels of old, Pan Afrikan Student Union members claimed the symbols represented Malcolm X’s alleged opposition to Israel, not to Jews, as if that was some comfort.

But even as far back as the early-middle 1960s certain anti-Jewish ideologues were already establishing hatred toward Jews as part of the university atmosphere.

I recently did a little digging into the SFSU special collections archives on, what is for me, a defunct project, but came across this interesting tid-bit:


The above is an article from the SFSC Daily Gator dated March 23, 1966.  The Gator reports that for three years running people painted Swastikas over an Israeli flag which San Francisco State College’s chapter of the American-Israeli Cultural Organization displayed for various functions.

The writer and editors, needless to say, assume that the vandals were either random “vandalists” or Nazis.

San Francisco State College, between 1964 and 1966, did not have a whole lot of Nazis among the student population, nor was the campus conveniently accessible from the rest of the city.  There were heart-felt, politically-innocent folk singers there, to be sure.  There were proto-hippies beginning to experiment with psychedelics as a potential means toward an “expanded consciousness.”  There were young, goateed political radicals gearing up for the fight against the Vietnam War and what Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex.”  And there were young “negro” students such as future movie star, Danny Glover, beginning to rethink their relationship with the college and American society, as a whole.

But, Nazis?  Not so much.

The bottom line is that San Francisco State University has a long history of hostility toward the Jewish people that is expressed both in student body activity, which sometimes takes the form of a violent mob, and almost always takes the form of administrative dithering and indifference.

The only real question I have is whether or not the university intends to continue funding anti-Jewish hatred going forward?

But it is not really much of a question.

I know that they will.

Just ask professor Fred Astren, the current SFSU Chair of the Department of Jewish Studies.  He’ll tell you, maybe.

And if he will not, I bet Tammi Benjamin of the AMCHA Initiative and the University of California, Santa Cruz, might have something to say on the matter.

{Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon.}

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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