A controversial Associate Professor at San Francisco State University (SFSU) shared a live video along with a statement that denied Jews self-determination and demonized Israel on the official Facebook page of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) program at the university’s College of Ethnic Studies.
Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, a Nablus-born “expert on the Middle East” who serves as Director of AMED, charged in her statement that the “SFSU Administration (…) continues to collaborate with the Zionist designs to silence us and has removed me from teaching my two courses (Palestine: Ethnic Studies Perspective and Colonialism, Imperialism and Resistance: Third World Movements, Then and Now).”
She also called Israel a “colonial, racist and occupying power.”
According to Abdulhadi, the “open classroom,” which can be seen in the video, brings together students, faculty, staff, and community leaders to challenge “the hegemonic narratives of oppression, like the Zionist narrative that seeks to erase indigenous Palestinians and sever their relationship to the land of their ancestors.”
The Associate Professor also accused the university of bias against her and other minority activists, asking: “How do we explain such contradictions between, on one hand, the identity of SFSU as a social justice institution, and the escalation of actions that can only seen as hostile to a host of communities, including Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians, and Jews, on the other?”
Abdulhadi added: “And if we add them to the weaponizing of free speech in the service of Nazis, Zionists and other white supremacists, the attacks against Indigenous, Black and other faculty, students and staff of color, can we continue to chalk all of this off to simple mistakes, isolated incidents, reasonable bureaucracy and normal ‘I am just doing my job’? Is something else going on?”
“Which side do you choose?” she asked, concluding her distorted and hateful rant.
Abdulhadi is not new to controversy. She has allegedly used AMED’s educational resources to stoke anti-Zionist sentiments and, in one instance, co-organized an event that saw students painting placards stating: “My heroes have always killed colonizers,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
Last year, she came under fire from dozens of organizations condemning her for posting anti-Zionist messages to the school’s official site. After SFSU President Leslie Wong apologized at the university’s Hillel for suggesting in the past that Zionists were not welcome at the university, Abdulhadi took to Facebook and equated the statement “to a declaration of war.”
“I consider the statement… 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,” said Abdulhadi.
Abdulhadi later doubled down on her position and wrote on her personal Facebook, “Zionists are NOT welcomed on our campus.”
In April 2016, Nir Barkat, then the mayor of Jerusalem, was heckled, interrupted, and drowned out by anti-Israel protesters. He canceled an invitation to return the next year because, according to Barkat, the university had failed to “offer the lecture that would provide the kind of healing needed after the assault on free speech last year.”
[Photo: AMED Studies / Facebook ]