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June 8, 2018 8:20 am

Zionists Need Not Apply to San Francisco State University?

avatar by Cinnamon Stillwell

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The J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University. Photo: Wiki Commons via Webbi1987.

How long does it take to remove a Facebook post — 30 seconds? But if doing so falls under the auspices of California State University (CSU)’s politically-correct bureaucracy or San Francisco State University (SFSU)’s spineless administration, the answer is three months and counting.

On February 23 of this year, Rabab Abdulhadi, director of SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED), authored an inflammatory Facebook post opposing SFSU President Leslie Wong’s public assurance that “Zionists are welcome on our campus,” which Abdulhadi proclaimed to be “a declaration of war against Arabs, Muslims, [and] Palestinians.” She also attributed the statement to the “Israeli lobby.” Wong had been apologizing to the Jewish student group SF Hillel for an earlier interview in which Wong declined to affirm that Zionists are welcome at the school.

Abdulhadi’s post was then shared to the official, university-affiliated Facebook page for AMED, a program of SFSU’s College of Ethnic Studies. Meanwhile, she produced another post on her own page declaring unequivocally that “Zionists are NOT welcomed on campus.” This was immediately followed by the ominous appearance of campus vandalism decreeing, “Zionists Not Welcome.”

Despite media attention and public outcry at Abdulhadi’s bigoted pronouncement — including an AMCHA Initiative-organized letter to CSU signed by the Middle East Forum and 59 other organizations — and assurances from both CSU and President Wong that action would be taken, as of this writing the Facebook post remains.

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What’s worse, this was the first such incident in which SFSU or CSU had pledged to do anything about Abdulhadi’s ongoing incitement against Israel and its campus supporters. President Wong issued a statement distancing the university from Abdulhadi’s post, confirming that such declarations “cannot be done in a way that implies university endorsement or association” and promising to take “corrective action.” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White reacted similarly, noting in an emailed statement that although “it is not yet clear whether this faculty member will comply with the request” to remove the post, “the University will explore all appropriate options with respect to this conduct.”

At this point, it is clear that Abdulhadi hasn’t cooperated — so what has been done? When asked by this reporter, CSU Director of Public Affairs Toni Molle merely stated, “The campus has taken steps to remove Professor Rabab Abdulhadi’s Facebook post and, in the process, has made it clear that her personal views are not the views of the University.” Meanwhile, SFSU’s Mary Kenny would only confirm that “the matter remains under investigation — San Francisco State University continues to review and assess this matter.”

Not only does Abdulhadi’s incendiary post remain on AMED’s Facebook page, but as AMCHA pointed out in a May letter, “In a series of subsequent videos of departmentally-sponsored events posted to the same AMED Facebook page, Abdulhadi has openly flouted the university’s demand that she remove the hateful posting.” Likewise, on her own page, Abdulhadi appears to be taunting the university by re-posting the aforementioned declaration about Zionists being unwelcome on campus, while another post displayed the cover of an issue of SFSU’s student newspaper the Golden Gate Xpress with “Wong Must Go” emblazoned across the top.

This is not the first time that Abdulhadi has complained publicly about Wong, despite their previous collaboration on SFSU’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with antisemitic An-Najah University in the West Bank — an unacceptable partnership that the Middle East Forum seeks to end. At an SFSU conference late last year, she accused Wong of bowing to “Zionist pressure” and the administration of “Islamophobia,” “anti-Palestinian racism,” and “white supremacy.” This is the same administration that appears unable to remove her offending Facebook post, let alone conclude an investigation into her misdeeds. Perhaps Abdulhadi should thank the university and CSU for their inaction.

Middle East studies academics like Abdulhadi have a penchant for spewing antisemitic rhetoric on social media. University administrations should not hesitate to condemn such prejudice and, if warranted, to discipline faculty. That is, unless bigotry is permitted as long as it’s directed against Zionists.

Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at stillwell@meforum.org.

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