San Francisco State University has a well-earned reputation as perhaps the most anti-Semitic University in the nation, and Professor Rabab Abdulhadi serves as the public face of its Jew hatred. To say that Abdulhadi is notorious is an understatement. She is a rabidly anti-Semitic professor of Ethnic Studies who also heads SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED). AMED sponsored an event at which posters asserted, “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers,” referring to Israel’s Jews. Abdulhadi has glorified anti-Israel terrorism in public talks and served as faculty advisor to SFSU’s chapter of the General Union of Palestinian Students, an SJP surrogate group, during the time when its leader posted pictures of himself wielding a knife and threatening Jews on social media and was investigated for terrorism by the FBI. In a guest lecture in a UCLA anthropology class last spring, Abdulhadi equated Zionism with “white supremacy,” refusing to back down even when a Jewish student tearfully attempted to counter her vitriol. AMED, the university initiative she leads, does not even play to the pretense of neutrality but instead openly declares Zionism to be racism and Israel to be the occupier of Palestine.
SFSU has a lengthy record of ignoring if not outright enabling campus support for terrorism and threats against Jewish speakers and students. The student organization, General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), takes every opportunity to make Jewish students feel unwelcome on campus. GUPS prides itself on disrupting pro-Israel events. The group interrupted a speech by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, shouting “Intifada,” a call for terrorism against Israel, and chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” a call for the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of its people. A lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in 2018 charged that the University “has systematically supported these departments and student groups as they have doggedly organized their efforts to target, threaten, and intimidate Jewish students on campus and deprive them of their civil rights and their ability to feel safe and secure as they pursue their education.”
In 2018, SFSU President Leslie Wong infamously gave an interview with a Jewish news organization in which he refused to categorically state that Zionists are welcome on SFSU’s campus. When forced to reverse his position amid a public outcry, many SFSU campus organizations and entities including Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, and SFSU’s Woman and Gender Studies Department issued their own statements lambasting Wong for welcoming “racists” on campus.
Instances of Jew Hatred:
In July 2019, the official Facebook page for the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED) at SFSU, which is led by Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, shared an image of a large banner exhorting "Zionism = Racism, Silence = Death, Palestine is a Queer Issue – Boycott! Divest! Sanction!"
In May 2019, multiple displays of Jew hatred were found on campus including a swastika that was carved into a toilet paper holder in a campus restroom. The four arms of the swastika were labeled with the words “San Francisco State University” and “Free Palestine” was written below. At least one flier was also found on campus with the message “Anti-Zionist Students Welcome, No Occupation, No Anti-Semitism,” thereby implying that Zionist students are NOT welcome on the campus.
In March 2019, Professor Rabab Abdulhadi shared a live video on AMED at SFSU's official Facebook page alongside a statement which demonized Israel and invoked anti-Semitic Zionist conspiracy tropes by accusing the SFSU administration of “collaborat[ing] with the Zionist designs to silence us... staff, faculty and community who view Israel (as I do) as a colonial, racist and occupying power...” and labeling the administration’s conduct as “the weaponizing of free speech in the service of Nazis, Zionists and other white supremacists…”
In February 2019, members of several student organizations at SFSU including the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and Jews Against Zionism (JAZ) held a rally to protest the classification of Israeli Independence Day as a campus religious holiday. The University claimed that classification was a "clerical error" and apologized. Activist chants at the rally promoted the false narrative that Israel is the oppressor in the Middle East conflict. These included “Free Palestine,” “Zionism has got to go” and “Stop the attacks. Stop the hate. You’re supporting an apartheid state." were shouted. One student displayed a sign stating “Zionism is NOT welcome on this campus.”
On April 19, 2018, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) at SFSU, an SJP surrogate group, held an event titled “The Global Resistance Against Zionism: How Israel Affects All Our Communities.” The event description called for the “right of return of millions of stateless Palestinian refugees,” which would destroy Israel as a Jewish state, and also chastised “Zionists” for celebrating Israel’s founding, declaring that “Al-Nakba marks a destructive and horrific time in history as Palestinians faced death, expulsion, and full out violence from Zionist European militias. The Zionists, however, commemorate this day through dancing and celebrations, proving their continuous dehumanization of Palestinian people and history. There is nothing to celebrate about May 15th, 1948.”
In April 2018, a video was posted on the official Facebook page for Arab Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED) at SFSU which featured a radio interview with AMED Director Professor Rabab Abdulhadi in which she equated Zionists with the KKK and other hate groups. Referring to SFSU President Wong’s statement that Zionists are welcome on campus, she said, “I’m waiting for him to say, white supremacists is welcome, KKK is welcome, David Horowitz is welcome, Richard Spenser is welcome, Neo-Nazis are welcome, homophobes are welcome, misogynists are welcome, why stop only at Zionists? Welcome them all. I mean bring the…whole club. Bring everybody who is right wing and racist, bring them to campus, why only stop at Zionists.”
On March 26, 2018, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) held an “open dialogue in Malcolm X Plaza” as part of “Palestine Awareness Week.” A large sign at the protest read “Zionism is not welcome here; The support of genocide is not welcome,” and a small mock “apartheid wall” declared “To exist is to resist.” “Resistance” is a euphemism used by Hamas and its allies to describe terrorist acts against Israel.
In February 2018, GUPS and AMED Studies at SFSU held the, "11th Annual Edward Said Mural Celebration." The description for this event which was cosponsored by an official university program, demonized and delegitimized Israel, stating that “The US claiming that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel enables the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians...” Speakers during the event accused Israel of “apartheid” and one speaker promoted the anti-normalization stance held by Hamas stating "it's important to note that the Palestinian people refuse to remain silent in this normalization of constant displacement, erasure and exile by the racist, settler-colonial state." Professor Abdulhadi also spoke at the event and equated Zionism, white supremacy and "any kind of hatred and bigotry." AMED, the initiative directed by Abdulhadi, has also held numerous other events at which Israel was declared to be an “apartheid state” and demonized and delegitimized. At an off campus event in October 2018, Prof. Abdulhadi referenced locations in Israel as part of “Palestine” thus delegitimizing the Jewish state. Another speaker at the event called a member of the Israeli Defense Forces an “Israeli Occupation Soldier.”
In February 2018, SFSU President Leslie Wong sent out a campus-wide email and made a public statement apologizing for a previous interview with a Jewish news organization in which he refused to categorically state that Zionists are welcome on SFSU’s campus. “Thus, I want to sincerely apologize for the hurt feelings and anguish my words have caused. Let me be clear: Zionists are welcome on our campus,” Wong declared.
Wong’s apology was met with outrage by many individuals and even academic departments on SFSU’s campus. Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, Director of Arab Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED) at SFSU, wrote in response: “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 social justice on and off campus.” She also charged on Facebook that Wong’s statement was “racist, Islamophobic and colonialist” and claimed that the administration was bowing to “donor pressures and the Israeli lobby.”
The Women and Gender Studies Department at SFSU also released a statement condemning Wong’s apology. It read in part: “On February 23rd, President Wong of San Francisco State University sent an email to the entire campus community... The Women and Gender Studies Department is deeply concerned about the motivation, tenor, and potential effects of this statement… Wong’s statement fails to express concern or support for Palestinian, Arab, and Middle Eastern students and their allies that are harmed by Zionism… In sum, the Department of Women and Gender Studies unequivocally rejects the equation of Zionism with Judaism, and stands by all of our SFSU students and their right to a university committed to intellectual inquiry and social justice.”
GUPS declared in a Facebook post that “Wong does not have the right to speak on behalf of an entire community while welcoming racist and colonial ideology on a college campus that is meant to educate students. Zionism is not welcome at SFSU or in any space where justice, freedom, and liberation are our goals. We stand united on the front lines of achieving liberation and justice in and for Palestine, academic freedom, and a campus free of hate, Zionism, and White supremacy.”
A combined statement released by the Black Student Union, African Studies Association, Black Residents United in Housing, and Black Business Student Association stated, “To support Palestine is to combat tyranny, totalitarianism, racism, xenophobia, terrorism, colonialism, and state sanctioned violence….Leslie Wong has welcomed terrorism to our campus and has remained an ally to Zionist groups long before releasing a statement that boldly stated that Zionists are welcome on our campus…”
Chalkings in the main campus quad in response to Wong’s apology stated “Zionists Not Welcome” and “Zionism = Racism.”
In June 2017, Jewish students at SFSU together with members of the local community filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against SFSU and the trustees of California State University charging that SFSU has fostered a hostile environment for Jewish students on campus who are “often afraid to wear Stars of David or yarmulkes on campus, and regularly text their friends to describe potential safety issues.” The lawsuit was prompted in part by an incident in April 2016 when a speech by the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was disrupted by anti-Israel protestors who chanted “Intifada” (a call for violence and terrorism against Israel) and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” (a statement urging the genocide of Israel’s Jews). During this incident, university administrators told campus police to “stand down” and allowed the protest to continue.
The suit filed against the University claimed, “SFSU has not merely fostered and embraced anti-Jewish hostility — it has systematically supported these departments and student groups as they have doggedly organized their efforts to target, threaten, and intimidate Jewish students on campus and deprive them of their civil rights and their ability to feel safe and secure as they pursue their education.” The suit also specifically named SFSU professor Rabab Abdulhadi, the director of SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative (AMED) and the faculty advisor for SFSU’s Hamas-supporting GUPS chapter, who has a long history of supporting terrorists and their allies.
GUPS at SFSU holds an annual commemoration of the “Nakba,” a term used by Hamas and its allies to describe the creation of Israel as a “catastrophe.” Signs and advertisements for the event have stated “Never Forget, Never Forgive,” and have called for the Palestinian “Right of Return” which would mean the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, one of Hamas’s chief aims. GUPS also brings the anti-Israel hatefest “Israeli Apartheid Week” to campus each year. Past festivities have featured mock checkpoints, so-called “apartheid walls” plastered with Hamas propaganda, speakers who promote the Hamas-funded BDS movement against Israel, and signs and banners promoting the claim that “Zionism is racism.”
SFSU GUPS held a March 2017 event on “Israeli Policies in Relation to the Trump Era” at which they attempted to smear both the Trump administration and the Jewish state. The event description claimed “Since the settler colonial project of Israel was established as a state in 1948, the Israel government has used ‘security’ as a pretext to further oppressive and racist policies and practices against the Palestinians. This include[s]… building an Apartheid Wall…a racist ID system… and torture, resulting in the policing, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.” Israel’s “apartheid wall” is actually a security fence that has saved thousands of Jewish lives by preventing Palestinian terrorists from entering.
GUPS deliberately and maliciously excluded SFSU Hillel from a February 2017 campus fair on the topic of human rights which they helped to organize by changing the registration dates after they had been announced to the public and then claiming the fair was at capacity when in reality many empty tables remained.
In September 2016, GUPS held a campus event to commemorate “one of the hundreds of massacres committed on the Palestinian people: Sabra and Shatila.” A Facebook post about the event claimed that “we hold the United States and Israel [responsible] for the continue repressions among our communities from police killing black and brown men and women to the Assad regime slaughtering Syrians. If we were to commemorate every massacre in Palestinian history, having an event every single day of the year would still not be enough.” Large signs displayed at the event falsely accused Israel of “settler colonialism” and “ethnic cleansing.”
In April 2016, SFSU hosted a tour created by National SJP called “Right 2 Education,” featuring two speakers from Birzeit University in Palestine. Birzeit is well known for hosting Hamas rallies and Hamas recently beat out rival party Fatah in student elections there. During the event, the student speakers defended terrorism claiming that acts such as knife attacks on unarmed civilians were merely efforts to “bring attention” to the alleged plight of Palestinians. The speakers praised the genocidal BDS campaign against Israel, and attempted to delegitimize the Israeli state by falsely claiming that Jews “fabricate our history to make it look like they have a right to exist in our country” and that “Israel was built to be a racist state.”
The SFSU General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) disrupted an April 2016 speech by the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, by shouting exhortations to terrorist violence and succeeded in curtailing his address. SFSU students involved in the protest entered the auditorium carrying Palestinian flags and wearing checkered kaffiyehs which are associated with anti-Israel terrorism. The demonstrators then proceeded to shout “Intifada,” and chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” a slogan falsely claiming that Israel is Palestine (Israel is bounded by the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea) and should be destroyed.
When SFSU President Wong called for an investigation into the protestors who shut down Barkat’s speech, GUPS responded by calling Wong’s request an “attack on pro-Palestine protestors” that “criminalize[s] anti-racist speech on campus.”
In Februry 2016, GUPS at SFSU held a rally in solidarity with Mohammed Al-Qeeq, a Palestinian journalist who was arrested and detained by Israel. According to the Associated Press, “Israel’s Shin Bet security service says al-Qeeq is involved in terrorism activities linked to the militant Hamas movement.”
In October 2015, GUPS at SFSU promoted a community protest on its Facebook page supporting terrorism and the Hamas goal of destroying Israel. GUPS’s endorsement stated in part: “The General Union of Palestine Students – GUPS-SFSU supports the uprisings in Palestine! We Stand with our Brothers and Sisters in the streets, and we will find victory! … End to the Zionist State! End to the killings of our Men, Women and Children in cold blood! End to the colonist empire! We will not be silenced!”
In the Fall of 2014, SFSU Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, faculty advisor to GUPS, who had previously taken a university-sponsored trip to the Middle East where she met with terrorists Leila Khaled and Sheikh Raed Salah, posted on her Facebook page, “Today San Francisco State University’s All University Committee on International Programs unanimously voted to recommend that SF State formally collaborate with An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. This is the first time that SFSU will collaborate with any university in a Palestinian, Arab or Muslim community.” The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has written of An-Najah University, “Today the student council of An-Najah is known for its advocacy of anti-Israel violence and its recruitment of Palestinian college students into terrorist groups. The council, almost completely controlled by factions loyal to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, glorifies suicide bombings and propagandizes for jihad against Israel. Hamas has described An-Najah as a ‘greenhouse for martyrs.’”
In November 2014, GUPS at SFSU held the 7th Annual Edward Said Mural Celebration. Among the event’s speakers was UC Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, former leader of GUPS, and co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine. Bazian, during a speech at an anti-war rally in San Francisco in 2004, called for an “Intifada” in America.
In February 2014, SFSU General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) President Mohammad G. Hammad was exposed as having written a number of threatening social media posts describing his wish to attack students, teachers and Israeli soldiers and to ally himself with anti-Israel terrorists including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Hammad’s posts include: A photo of himself holding a large knife with the caption: “I seriously cannot get over how much I love this blade. It is the sharpest thing I own and cuts through everything like butter and just holding it makes me want to stab an Israeli soldier…”; “I think about killing a lot. And some of you are usually the targets of my daydreams J.”; “You know what? Israelis ARE colonizers, there is literally no way around it. And you know what else? My heroes have always killed colonizers. I literally see nothing wrong with this. And my only regret is that not all colonizers were killed.”
In response to a poster that asked “how can I help actively support Palestine,” Hammad responded “Buy a keffieyh. Learn to tie it around your head…get in touch with some PFLP militants or arms dealers in the West Bank. Learn IDF patrol routes…BOOM.” “Let’s play a game. Objective: Kill U.S. Soldiers. Goal: world peace.” “The number of times I have legitimately considered flying back to the Middle East and joining the armed wing of the PFLP or something is surprisingly high.” “I think about the time I tried to be - moderate - and advocate for non-violence and honestly I just want to go back in time and slit my own throat/and then the throats of all my enemies before they grow up into the shits they are today.” “Oh/And tomorrow is [hopefully] the day that I find out if I will be the President of the General Union of Palestine at my school/...Hopefully I'll be able to radicalize half of our population and bring them back with me as fighters.”
After Jewish groups and the media exposed his postings, Hammad eventually left campus and was placed under investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI.
During a December 2013 “emergency rally” held by GUPS at SFSU, the phrase “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers” was written with chalk on the concrete stage at Malcolm X Plaza. The same phrase, referring to the Hamas assertion that Jews have colonized Arab Palestine and must be exterminated, was also written on a sign at a display table during the “Edward Said Mural Celebration.” Said was a Columbia professor who was a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Palestinian National Council until 1991 when he resigned because he thought the terrorist Yasser Arafat’s policies were too moderate towards Israel.