San Francisco State University is probably not the most Israel-friendly university in the United States.
In truth, I feel quite confident in suggesting that the opposite is true. Among SFSU faculty most hostile to Israel, however, is professor Rabab Abdulhadi of the ethnic studies department.
Back in the 1960s, the University of California in Berkeley had the reputation for being the most radical school on the west coast of the United States. SFSU, however, was always more hard-core. That is part of what I liked about the place when I was there in the late 90s.
A Warning to Parents:
The truth of the matter, unfortunately, is that any Jewish family would be well advised to keep their kids away from San Francisco State; that is unless they wish to expose them to malice, and potential violence, grounded in anti-Semitic anti-Zionism of the type promoted on campus by professor Abdulhadi.
Unless Jewish parents want their kids to be physically confronted over Israel, as were Jewish students when I was there, I very much recommend sending them to universities elsewhere… either that or make sure that they know how to fight. Get them enrolled in Krav Maga classes, perhaps. And make damn sure that they know something about the history of the Jews in the Middle East, and just why a Jewish State is necessary, before trundling them off to campus as idealistic freshmen.
This is the only reasonable conclusion that I can come to given the fact that SFSU funds student organizations, such as Abdulhadi’s General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), that calls for violence against us. The reason that SFSU funds violent hatred toward Jews – which it clearly does when it funds GUPS – is because they believe that Israel may, in fact, be as awful as Abdulhadi claims that it is.
And lest anyone doubt that GUPS does, in fact, call for violence against Jews, this is the image currently at the very top of their Facebook page.
Although the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre was a massacre of Arab Muslims by Lebanese Christians, anti-Semitic anti-Zionists at SFSU always blame the Jews.
The image obviously shows a masked man with a rifle being greeted as something of a hero by a poor Arab woman somewhere either in Gaza or in the disputed territories. The message is clear. GUPS favors organizations devoted to driving out Jewish sovereignty on historically Jewish land.
From my perspective this would be something akin to funding a student Klan organization because maybe the white majority in the nineteenth-century American south had a point. This is a criticism, by the way, coming from GUPS left, not its right. Jewish national liberation is as much a progressive value, or should be, as is Tibetan national liberation or Kurdish national liberation.
While Professor Fred Astren, the head of the Department of Jewish Studies, is responsible for simply watching too much of this go on during his tenure – although it is unclear to me what he can do to stop it – the main culprit at SFSU is his colleague, professor Abdulhadi of the Department of Ethnic Studies / Race and Resistance Studies and the Senior Scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative, at the College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University.
I kid you not.
Abdulhadi is a “post-colonial” Arab left-feminist academic from Yale who believes that Muslims in the Middle East have every right to murder Jews as a matter of “resistance” and, thus, as a matter of “social justice.”
Administrators like Astren put up with this horrendous nonsense presumably due to an ethos of collegiality – or perhaps just due to desensitization over the years – but it is unclear to me why that should inhibit the rest of us from strenuously objecting.
In distinction, Abdulhadi is not the least bit interested in compromise.
There is, after all, no compromise with a bloody fist.
That image is a Palestinian-Arab flag and what it clearly represents, much like a Nazi swastika, is violence against Jews. Ideologues can dress it up in the language of human rights all that they want, but we understand what it means. It means hatred. It is a bloody fist and until quite recently it held a prominent place on a web page associated with Abdulhadi, but she seems to have deleted it. You cannot really blame the woman for removing that image – if she, in fact, did so – because she was also the faculty advisor to GUPS when the student president of that organization, Muhammad Hammad, made a “selfie” with a switch-blade calling for violence against the IDF.
She was also the faculty advisor to GUPS when they held aloft signs in front of SFSU’s Malcolm X Plaza reading, “My heroes have always killed colonizers,” by whom they meant Jewish people on historically Jewish land. They may have meant that killing white people is joyous, also, but they certainly meant that killing Jews is so.
Subsequently, Tammi Benjamin’s AMCHA Initiative, out of UC Santa Cruz, accused Abdulhadi of misuse of university funds during a recent trip to visit a number of terrorists in Gaza and the disputed territories, including the plane hijacker Leila Khaled, on the university’s dime. Abdulhadi sold this trip as a scholarly endeavor, but there is no question but that the lines between scholarship and political activism are exceedingly porous for this SFSU professor. She is at least as much an activist as a scholar and, thus, the university essentially purchased the anti-Semitic anti-Zionism that Abdulhadi peddles.
San Francisco State backs Abdulhadi against Benjamin’s charges of misuse of funding, having found those charges unwarranted. What the university seems not to understand, however, is that for most of us the problem here is not one of faculty corruption – the problem is not that Abdulhadi is a crook – but of the spreading of hatred and violence toward Jews under guises of academic freedom and “universal human rights.”
It is about the perversion of western liberal values in the service of totalitarian regimes and in opposition to the democratic State of Israel.
That is the point and that is the reason why so many of us object to the kind of malice that we saw last year on the SFSU campus. You cannot pay student organizations to spit hatred at Jews and then contemptuously dismiss Jewish people who stand up for themselves.
Or I suppose that you can and certainly SFSU Dean of Ethnic Studies, Kenneth P. Monteiro did in an effort to deflect from the bigger picture. In a rather ugly public letter concerning the AMCHA Initiative’s interest in Abdulhadi, Monteiro writes:
The AMCHA Initiative has over many years expressed its support for the policies of the state of Israel and their disagreement with those who do not support those policies. Indeed, I firmly support their right to express their views.
This is false. AMCHA is not about supporting Israeli policies. AMCHA is about keeping an eye on the rise of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism in the academe and making people aware of its corrosive, if not violent, tendencies. (Gil Troy, by the way, has some some words on the matter over at the Jerusalem Post.)
AMCHA has publicly singled out one of our faculty, Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, for uniquely malicious bullying. Therefore I am compelled to repudiate their claims publicly. Make no mistake, Professor Abdulhadi has been and remains a valued colleague, scholar and teacher. She is a locally, nationally and internationally recognized and respected scholar/activist, who is the recipient of awards for the quality of her work. The claims made by AMCHA against her were investigated, as are all claims no matter the source, and those claims have been found false.
So, am I to understand that Monteiro disagrees that Abdulhadi was the advisor to GUPS when both its president and its regular student members called publicly for murder? Because I am pretty sure that this is easily verifiable.
Is he claiming that Abdulhadi did not publish a bloody fist, indicating violence against Jews, on a website associated with her name?
Is he claiming that Abdulhadi did not recently visit with terrorists, including a plane hijacker that is considered a hero to many of Abdulhadi’s students?
Is he claiming that Abdulhadi does not support BDS?
Is he claiming that she does not, in fact, spread malice toward Jews through spreading malice toward the Jewish State?
Is all of that false, professor Monteiro?
The Bigger Picture:
I feel reasonably certain that those of us who care about Jewish well-being have not made the mistake to think that SFSU would repudiate Abdulhadi. We do not, you can be sure, expect San Francisco State University to in any way protect its Jewish students from the kinds of scenes of hatred that I was witness to when I was a student there. We understand very well Abdulhadi’s ideology and how it relates to the university and we also understand that it is not a matter of this one particular hate-filled academic.
It is, rather, about the rise of the BDS movement and its corrosive influence not only on Arab-Israel discourse, or Muslim-Jewish relations, but on the well-being of Israeli society and the Jewish people, as a whole. Ultimately those who favor the international campaign to single out the Jews in the Middle East for boycott, divestment, and sanction, as Abdulhadi does, are championing a racist movement in direct contradiction to their own alleged values.
Abdulhadi, in a recent “End the Occupation” panel discussion even went so far as to suggest that the Gazan terror tunnels represented a humanitarian effort by Hamas on behalf of their people. She referred to those tunnels into Israel as a “lifeline” for the Gazans. The fact of the matter is, and she knows this, those tunnels were decked out with weaponry and supplies for the purposes of kidnapping and murder, yet Abdulhadi would have people believe that their purposes were bunny-like and benign.
They were not.
It was this bit of public stupidity which, in fact, inclined me to write this piece. Abdulhadi believes that those terror tunnels were essentially good things. She might find it regrettable that they are necessary, but in her unfortunate world-view, necessary they are.
I think that she should tell it to Dana Bar-on who used to live in 18 Comments in-between S’derot and the Gaza Strip before Abdulhadi’s friends came to drag her and her family away.
She was there the night that Hamas fighters leaped out of the ground with rifles, yards from her home and she discusses it toward the end of the video below. The IDF dispatched the Islamist thugs in short order, but if they had not been there who knows what would have happened to those people?
Here is what Dana has to say and I promise you that you cannot understand what is happening in that part of Israel without listening to her all the way through:
The bottom line is that San Francisco State University, much like other schools – throughout Europe – has made a vehicle of itself for a noxious political movement whose ultimate goal is the dissolution of Israel as the national home for the Jewish people. If people like Abdulhadi were to get their way the Jews of the Middle East would, yet again, find themselves an abused minority living as dhimmis under Sharia law just as Jews did for thirteen long centuries.
That was when we were forced to ride donkeys, if we were to ride, and were not allowed to repair synagogues.
But I have a message for professor Abdulhadi.
It is this:
The Day of the Dhimmi is Done.
And for that, at least, we can be very grateful.
Please, by the way, support the AMCHA Initiative. Tammi Benjamin is fighting a lonely fight against hard odds and just as Yale, Abdulhadi’s alma mater, killed professor Charles Small’s Interdisciplinary Initiative for the Study of anti-Semitism (YIISA), so many in the University of California and California State University systems would love to shut Tammi up.
First published at The Elder of Zion
Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.