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Letter to California State Controller John Chiang Asking for a State Audit of SFSU

Letter to California State Controller John Chiang Asking for a State Audit of SFSU


To: California State Controller John Chiang

June 24, 2014

Dear Controller Chiang,

One month ago, our organizations sent a letter to CSU Chancellor White, SFSU President Wong, CSU Chief Audit Officer Mandel and CSU Attorney for Conflict of Interest and Governance Reith, regarding what we believe to be a serious and blatant misuse of University and state funds.

According to documents obtained through a California Public Records Act (PRA) request, it appears that SFSU Professor Rabab Abdulhadi received more than $7,000 in state dollars to meet with members of known terrorist organizations and promote the boycott of Israel. On all of the PRA documents regarding the funding, insurance, and administrative approval of her travels, Abdulhadi indicated that the primary purpose of her trip was academic: to deliver a paper at a scholarly conference in Beirut. However, Abdulhadi never attended the Beirut conference. Instead, as she herself acknowledged at a public event she had organized on the SFSU campus to report on the delegation’s experiences, the trip was a “political solidarity tour” to Jordan, the West Bank and Israel, whose primary purpose was to promote “resolute actions in support of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.”

As part of her “political solidarity tour,” Abdulhadi met with individuals affiliated with the US State Department-designated terrorist organizations Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas, including convicted terrorist Leila Khaled and Islamist leader Sheik Raed Salah. Khaled is a convicted hijacker and the most famous member of the PFLP, a terrorist organization responsible for 159 terrorist acts such as bombings, armed assault and assassinations, resulting in numerous injuries and deaths including those of more than 20 US citizens. Salah was recently incarcerated for incitement to violence and aiding and abetting Hamas, an organization responsible for the murder and maiming of hundreds of Jews that is suspected in last week’s abduction of three teenagers in Israel.

Although evidence demonstrates that Abdulhadi had planned the “political solidarity tour” and meetings with PFLP and Hamas members almost a year in advance, nowhere in the documents she filled out in order to receive funding and insurance from the University did she mention that the primary purpose of her trip was political advocacy — to promote the academic boycott of Israel — nor did she mention the intended meetings with individuals affiliated with US State Department-designated terrorist organizations.

We have asked the University to investigate this matter, but have received no response. However, according to the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support website, it appears that the university is defending the professor’s personal advocacy mission as “research” and clearing her of all wrong-doing. We are therefore turning to you and requesting that you investigate this potentially fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars.

We also urge you to investigate a June 2011 trip that Prof. Abdulhadi organized and led, the “Indigenous & Women of Color Feminist Delegation to Israel and the West Bank.” According to a statement issued by the delegation’s participants, the purpose of the 2011 trip was political — “to affirm [their] association with the growing international movement for a free Palestine” — and the statement itself was a call to “academic and activist colleagues in the U.S. and elsewhere to join [the delegation’s participants] by endorsing the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] campaign.” The statement also indicates that the group met with the “Boycott National Committee,” whose first and most important member organization is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, which, according to the Anti-Defamation League, was founded by Yasser Arafat at the start of the Second Intifada in 2000 for the purpose of “organizing a unified effort among major Palestinian factions to coordinate terror attacks.” The Council includes among its constituent organizations Hamas, the PFLP, and PFLP – General Command, all three of which are on the U.S. Department of State’s list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Thank you for looking into this matter. Professors should not be meeting with terrorists and propagating hate on the taxpayer dime. Please help put a stop to this outrageous abuse of power and resources.


AMCHA Initiative
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Simon Wiesenthal Center Campus Outreach
Zionist Organization of America

Cc: Attorney General Kamala Harris
Deputy Attorney General Stepan Haytayun
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
California State Senator Mark Leno (San Francisco)
California State Senator Leland Y. Yee (San Francisco)
California Assembly Member Philip Y. Ting (San Francisco)
California Senator Carol Liu, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education
California Assembly Member Das Williams, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education
California Assembly Member Shirley Weber, Chair of the Select Committee on Campus Climate
California State Senator Marty Block, Chair of Legislative Jewish Caucus
CSU Trustees
CSU Chancellor Timothy White
CSU Vice Chancellor and Chief Audit Officer Larry Mandel
CSU Resource Attorney for Conflict of Interest & Governance Carrie Hemphill Reith
CSU General Counsel Framroze Virgee
CSU Deputy General Counsel G. Andrew Jones
SFSU President Leslie Wong
SFSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sue Rosser
SFSU Associate Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management Michael Martin
SFSU Associate Risk Management Dao VanQuate
SFSU Counsel Patricia Bartscher
California Jewish Community Leaders

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