Tuesday, December 10, 2013

AMCHA Letter to SFSU Dean Ken Monteiro

As my readers are aware, I am following the events at San Francisco State University in the wake of inflammatory images by pro-Palestinian students designed to incite murder of Israeli soldiers. The AMCHA Initiative has written a series of letters to SFSU officials protesting these images. Here is the latest addressed to ethnic studies dean Ken Monteiro.

Dear Dean Monteiro,

More than two weeks ago, we wrote to you about a statement posted on Facebook, which defended GUPS' use of inflammatory stencils justifying and glorifying murder and those who commit it. The bottom of this statement referred contact inquiries to the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED) in the College of Ethnic Studies.  

It has recently come to our attention that this statement was written and circulated to CSU faculty in an email by Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, acting in her capacity as Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race Resistance Studies and Senior Scholar of AMED. In her email, Professor Abdulhadi, a faculty member and an advisor to GUPS members, encourages students to glorify murder. In doing so, Professor Abdulhadi defiantly ignores President Wong's condemnations of such actions. 

We firmly believe it is not acceptable for faculty to legitimize violence against any group. Professor Abdulhadi makes the argument that it is not only acceptable, but encouraged, to essentially take up arms against a collective people perceived to be the "oppressors" - Jewish Israelis in the context of the November 7th incident.

Professor Abdulhadi has made no secret of her animus towards the Jewish state and those who support it. She publicly promotes the dismantling of Israel as a Jewish state. For example, she signed a petition calling for the elimination of the concept of a Jewish state (not peace with the Jewish state, the outright elimination of it). She also was an organizer and signatory of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and has endorsed several other academic boycotts of Israel.  

Since 2007, when Abdulhadi began directing the AMED program, she has misused her university position and university resources to mount and co-sponsor events that promote her anti-Israel political agenda aimed at eliminating the Jewish state, including by co-sponsoring a GUPS program advocating for the academic boycott of Israel. 

In her recent statement, Abdulhadi clearly misuses her university position and resources to encourage students to glorify the murder of their political enemies.  

Indeed, we believe that GUPS president Mohammad G. Hammad, who posted on Tumblr a picture of himself holding a large knife and expressing a desire to stab Israeli soldiers, may have felt encouraged by Prof. Abdulhadi.

Therefore, we reiterate our request that you, as Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, issue a public condemnation of students and faculty affiliated with the College, who misuse the name and resources of the University to defend, justify, and glorify murder and those who commit it.

We also call on you to investigate Prof. Abdulhadi's misuse of the name and resources of SFSU to incite students to violence in the promotion of her personal political agenda, in violation of California Education Code 89005.5(a)(2)(c).

We look forward to hearing from you soon, and thank you for your thoughtful consideration regarding this matter.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Co-founder, AMCHA Initiative

Leila Beckwith
Co-founder, AMCHA Initiative

Cc:    SFSU President Leslie Wong
         CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White  
         CSU Board of Trustees 
         CSU Interim General Counsel Andrew Jones
         SFSU Counsel Patricia Bartscher  
         California State Senator Leland Y. Yee (San Francisco)
         California State Senator Mark Leno  (San Francisco)
         California Assembly Member Philip Y. Ting (San Francisco)
         California Senator Carol Liu, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education
         California Assembly Member Joan Buchanan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee
         California Assembly Member Marc Levine
         California State Senator Marty Block
         California Assembly Member Das Williams
         California Assembly Member Jose Medina
         California Senator Lois Wolk
         California Assembly Member Richard Bloom
         California Assembly Member Steve Fox
         California Jewish community leaders 

BCC: Wide circulation in the Jewish community

I heartily concur. The images urging killing of IDF soldiers have no place on an American university campus. It is important that President Wong also launch an investigation to determine if any faculty members were complicit in the legitimizing of violence against any group of people.

This is the result of what began on college campuses in the 1960s when I was a student. In particular, the various departments of ethnic studies have become perverted in that rather than conduct serious academic inquiry into the history and culture of various groups, they have been used not only to glorify the particular group in an ethnocentric way, but also rift division from other groups. They have hardly been productive in promoting reconciliation and understanding.  Middle Eastern Studies departments, many of which were established with Saudi money, are  little more than activist, anti-Israel enclaves dedicated to making the Israel-Palestinian conflict the main point of contention on American (and Canadian) college campuses. And they have succeeded.

The SFSU controversy illustrates what I have been saying for years. One day, we are going to have a tragedy on one of our campuses resulting from this Israel-Palestinian issue. At SFSU,  President Wong clearly has a mess on his hands.

1 comment:

Miggie said...

I wonder if the prospect of better relations between Saudi Arabia because of their mutual enemy, Iran, will influence the Saudi financing of these efforts. I hope the Israelies will include this aspect in any negotiations with the Saudis.