AMCHA’s Responses to Antisemitic Activity – California State System Wide
3. An incendiary message was shared on the official Facebook page of AMED that was written by its founding director. The message targeted Jewish students for discrimination.
- INCIDENT: On February 23, 2018, an incendiary message was shared on the official Facebook page of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) program at the university’s College of Ethnic Studies that was written by Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, the founding director and sole faculty member associated with AMED. The message clearly targeted Jewish students at SFSU for vilification and discrimination, and could be read by many as a frightening incitement to violence.
- 3/20/18 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: 60 Organizations wrote a letter to Chancellor White and CSU Trustees in an AMCHA-organized letter outlining the full situation and stating, “When an academic unit at a state university uses its official online presence to attack students on its campus for their religious beliefs, ethnic identity or political opinions, it is clearly out of control and must be stopped. We urge you to thoroughly investigate AMED and its administration, and to inform California taxpayers exactly how you intend to address this shameful violation of student rights and university standards.”
- 3/26/18 – UNIVERSITY’S RESPONSE: President Wong issued a statement to the community that said, “While [Prof. Abdulhadi] is entitled to voice her own opinion, it cannot be done in a way that implies university endorsement or association. Dr. Abdulhadi’s post does not reflect the opinions, values, or policies of San Francisco State University…All are welcome at SF State and a diversity of perspectives helps us grow as an institution. SF State is taking corrective action and will affirm this core principle in its social media policies and practices to avoid confusion and better safeguard the university’s web presence in the future.”
- 3/26/18 – CSU SYSTEM’S RESPONSE: Chancellor White responded in an emailed statement, “Because this post appears on a site that affiliates with the San Francisco State University name, it carries the implication that it reflects the views of the university – when in fact Professor Abdulhadi’s statement explicitly contradicts the principles of inclusion that are central to the values, mission and policies of San Francisco State and the California State University…President Wong and his staff took immediate corrective action with this faculty member regarding the post, and have communicated on this matter to the campus community.” His message went on to state, “As I write you, it is not yet clear whether this faculty member will comply with the request. If not, the University will explore all appropriate options with respect to this conduct. SFSU is also updating its social media policies and practices to help prevent this type of situation and better safeguard the university’s web presence.”
- 3/28/18 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA coordinated a thank-you letter from 60 organizations to Chancellor White and the CSU Trustees commending them, “for standing up against this type of exclusionary behavior that fosters intolerance and puts all students at risk.” The letter concluded by pointing out that, “such departmental misbehavior does not happen in a vacuum. If the head of an academic unit is willing to use her program’s official social media platform to target a group of students on campus with hateful and discriminatory messages, it is reasonable to ask whether such messages are also being conveyed in the classroom or conference hall. We hope that you will fully investigate AMED, and any other academic unit on a CSU campus that would misuse the university’s name and resources to promote hatred and bigotry against CSU students.”
2. Taxpayer funding of antisemitism on California State University campuses
- 4/29/14 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: More than 1,000 California residents sign an AMCHA Petition asking legislators to help stop University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) faculty from using taxpayer dollars for antisemitism. The petition referenced Klein’s use of university resources to host his “Boycott Israel Reference Page” on CSUN servers.
1. University-Sponsored Speaking Tour of Ilan Pappe on 3 CSU Campuses
- INCIDENT: Prof. Ilan Pappe, an anti-Israel professor, who has publicly called for the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state, was flown from London to speak on several CSU campuses in February 2012. This speaking tour was organized and promoted by CSU administrators and faculty members and used university resources to do so.
- At CSU Fresno, the lecture was organized by the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, Vida Samiian, and sponsored by the Middle East Studies Department. There is little doubt that Dean Samiian organized this event for the purposes of propagandizing rather than educating students at CSUF. Like Ilan Pappe, Dean Samiian has made her political animus towards Israel a matter of public record.
- At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Pappe’s talk was organized by History Professor Manzar Foroohar and sponsored by the History Department and the College of Liberal Arts. In an email announcing the event, which Professor Foroohar sent to all faculty in the College of Liberal Arts, she asked them to announce Pappe’s talk in their classes and to encourage their students to attend. It is clear that Professor Foroohar, too, is organizing and promoting this event for the purposes of propagandizing rather than educating students, and like Dean Samiian at CSUF, Professor Foroohar’s animus towards Israel is a matter of public record.
- At CSU Northridge, the announcement for Pappe’s talk was emailed widely to the campus community by the Office of Academic Affairs, which, according to the CSUN website, is directed by interim President Harry Hellenbrand. Although co-sponsored by several student groups, the Academic Affairs announcement clearly indicated that Pappe’s talk was an official University event, stating: “California State University, Northridge presents: A lecture by Ilan Pappe.” In addition, the Academic Affairs announcement provided links to two flyers, which appeared on the CSUN web server of the Boycott Israel Resources webpage posted by Professor David Klein, the faculty sponsor for two of the student groups sponsoring the event. Like his CSU colleagues Dean Samiian and Professor Foroohar, Professor Klein’s animus of Israel is also a matter of public record.
- 2/13/12 AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative wrote to the president of the CSU system as well as the presidents of the individual campuses where Pappe spoke, alerting them of Pappe’s animus towards the Jewish state, as well as the animus of the administrators and faculty members that organized the tour.
- 2/13/12 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative produced a video explaining their concerns.
- 2/16/12 – CSU’S RESPONSE: The Presidents of the 3 CSU campuses where Ilan Pappe was scheduled to appear – Jeffery Armstrong at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, John Welty of CSU Fresno, and Harry Hellenbrand of CSU Northridge – issued a statement affirming the “academic freedom” of the faculty organizers of Pappe’s tour to use university resources to promote Pappe’s politically-motivated and directed tour.