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July 11, 2019 4:08 pm

Eighty Groups Protest California Professor’s Use of Official Department Facebook Page to Spread Anti-Israel Propaganda

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

An anti-Israel demonstration in London. Photo: Campaign Against Antisemitism.

A petition from dozens of organizations large and small has been sent to the chancellor of California State University system protesting a professor’s use of a department’s official Facebook page to spread anti-Israel propaganda.

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi — the director and senior scholar at the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED) department at San Francisco State University (SFSU) — posted an image of a large banner saying, “Zionism = Racism,” and, “Boycott! Divest! Sanction!”

This is not the first time Abdulhadi has exploited the Facebook page to spread such sentiments. Last year, she wrote a lengthy letter bashing Zionism, Jewish students and the Jewish campus organization Hillel after President Leslie E. Wong said, “Zionists are welcome on our campus.”

In a response notable for its vehemence, Abdulhadi posted, “I consider the statement below from President Wong, welcoming Zionists to campus, equating Jewishness with Zionism, and giving Hillel ownership of campus Jewishness, to be a declaration of war against Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians and all those who are committed to an indivisible sense of justice on and off campus.”

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She signed the statement with her official titles, all of which cited her positions of authority at SFSU.

Despite a complaint from pro-Israel and Jewish advocacy groups, the post was never taken down.

In response to Abdulhadi’s latest missive, 80 organizations led by pro-Israel campus group AMCHA wrote to California State University Chancellor Timothy White that it and the other signatories were “deeply concerned about the unlawful use of the name of California State University or any of its campuses to promulgate anti-Zionist propaganda and promote a boycott of Israel.”

“While Prof. Abdulhadi has the right to express religious, ethnic, or political hatred on her personal platform,” the letter said, “it is a flagrant breach of academic conduct for her to use her administrative position and the Facebook page bearing her academic unit’s logo — which includes the name ‘San Francisco State University’ — to do so.”

“Moreover, unless the CSU Trustees provided their permission to use the University’s name in this way, Abdulhadi’s posting appears to be a clear violation of California Education Code section 89005.5,” the signatories pointed out.

The code in question prohibits the use of the names of the universities in question for “propaganda, advertising, or promotional activity of any kind” or “the support, endorsement, advancement” of a “boycott or of any political … movement, activity, or program.” A violation is considered a misdemeanor.

“Prof. Abdulhadi’s flagrant and unlawful conduct requires your immediate attention, and we look forward to hearing how you will address this matter,” the letter concluded.

Among the signatories were the AMCHA Initiative, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA), the Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, Students Supporting Israel and the Zionist Organization of America.

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