Watchdog: FBI, San Francisco Police Investigating Student Leader After Violent Posts About IDF, Hillel
The FBI and a Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating a San Francisco student leader who published violent comments about the Israel Defense Forces and Jewish student group Hillel, campus anti-Semitism watchdog AMCHA said in a message to supporters on Thursday.
Mohammed Hammad, 22, who until recently was the president of San Francisco State University’s General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), made the troubling statements on the social network Tumblr. They were subsequently brought to the attention of campus officials and the local police department by AMCHA.
Hammad’s violent postings number in the dozens. He captioned an image of a sword, “I want it. Imagine me cutting off the heads of those in the IDF with this.” About members of Hillel he wrote, “I hope they all trip down the stairs and break their necks.”
In October 2012 he posted, “I think about killing a lot/and some of you are usually the targets of my daydreams.”
Speaking about the State Department-designated terrorist group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), he wrote, “I’ve stayed at the home of a branch commander and had dinner with his family. I’ve also participated in marches and gone to lunch with armed fighters. Guess that makes me a huge terrorist and you should be afraid, because I know where you live.”
Hammad first came to AMCHA’s attention in November after his organization hosted an all-day celebration commemorating the 6th anniversary of the unveiling of an Edward Said mural on campus. At a booth at the event, students were offered stencils to make signs that said “MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS KILLED COLONIZERS,” a reference to the killing of Israelis.
SFSU President Wong made a public statement at the time condemning the stencils, but since then AMCHA said they have heard nothing from him.
AMCHA co-founder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin said in an interview with The Algemeiner that she first heard from law enforcement officials less then an hour after she hand-delivered letters detailing Hammad’s activity to the local police department and the San Francisco District Attorney.
“I would like to think that they saw the seriousness of our complaint and that they are concerned for the safety of the students at San Francisco State,” she said. “This kid was the president of a registered student organization on a public campus. The fact that he would have anything to do with a terror organization is frightening, really frightening.”
University administrators stated that Mohammad Hammad is no longer enrolled at SFSU and does not live on campus anymore, according to AMCHA’s latest communique.
It is unclear if his departure was a result of any action taken by campus officials, but Rossman-Benjamin said, “I know that as of the end of last semester he was still a student and he was still the president of the student organization.”
“He became the president of the student organization (GUPS) last May,” and “they chose him to be president for this coming academic year,” she said, indicating that his departure from SFSU was abrupt. “I highly doubt that he graduated.”
Rossman-Benjamin said her motivation is concern over the safety of students, particularly Jewish students, on the campus.
“Are students safe on a campus where the leader of a university-sanctioned and funded student organization, known for its anti-Semitic activity, has publicly proclaimed his desire to stab, burn and decapitate others?,” she asked.
“I was really shocked, taken aback, and I felt really scared,” SFSU student Shachar Ben-David, who shared a class with Hammad, told San Francisco’s Channel 2. “I had to take my finals in a separate room because it turned out the student that had posted these posts was in a class that I was very vocal about being Israeli and an Israel supporter.”
Representatives from the San Francisco Police Department were not immediately available to comment.