Once again painstaking work done by supporters of Israel reveal that public universities are paying to support, encourage and promote terrorists by faculty or students of American universities. This time what it means is that American taxpayers are paying for radical professors to travel to the Middle East in order to show solidarity with and support people who promote the murder of Americans and Israelis.
The scam this time went like this: a professor of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi submitted a series of documents for SFSU administrators to sign so that she could get funding to attend an academic conference in Lebanon, to “conduct research,” and to meet with “potential collaborators towards [establishing a] memorandum of understanding with San Francisco State University” in Jordan and the West Bank.
After her trip and the funding was approved, Abdulhadi sent a memo stating that “her name was dropped from the academic conference.”
But Abdulhadi went on the pre-approved and publicly funded trip anyway, with the $7000 she was given by SFSU for her “academic” trip.
And then, not only did Abdulhadi not obtain academic enrichment from attendance at an academic conference, she instead used the money to meet with and show solidarity with various known terrorists in order to support those terrorists by establishing “working relationships” with Palestinian Arab activists “engaged in BDS and other efforts against the occupation.” This astounding information was not obtained through clandestine espionage. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and her colleagues at the AMCHA Initiative, along with several other pro-Israel groups, simply read public documentation of the funding provided to those who went on the trip with Abdulhadi. Those faculty members proudly bragged on public websites about their activities in furthering the delegitimization of Israel – paid for with taxpayer money. The fact that the trip was paid and signed for by SFSU officials was easily revealed through a California Public Information Act Request.
For example, in an event on March 6, 2014 that was advertised on the SFSU Ethnic Studies website, Prof. Abdulhadi and two other members of the “Academic and Labor Delegation to Palestine 2014″ — SFSU Ethnic Studies Professor Joanne Barker and Abdulhadi’s husband Jaime Veve — discussed their trip to “the West Bank and the 1948 areas of Palestine [sic, i.e. Israel].”
In her presentation at the March 6 event, Abdulhadi called the trip to Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel, which she had led, a “political solidarity tour,” and she went on to say: “This was not ‘solidarity light,’ this was not ‘pre-Solidarity 101′.”
Prof. Barker, in her blog documenting the trip, corroborated Abdulhadi’s statement, writing that the delegation “established working relationships and furthered their solidarities with Palestinian scholars, artists, and activists engaged in BDS and other efforts against the occupation.” The event announcement also confirmed that the purpose of Abdulhadi’s University-funded trip was not to engage in University-related business but rather to pursue her own personal political goals: to promote “resolute actions in support of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.”
Why Abdulhadi was not required to provide documentation that the funds disbursed by the university – public funds consisting of taxpayer money – were used in accordance with the funding request is unknown. Or if, perhaps, there was documentation after the trip that was provided by Abdulhadi to SFSU, and if it did not accurately reflect the manner in which the money was used, Abdulhadi must reimburse the community funds.
For example, did the documentation reveal that the SFSU employees met with people who are known terrorists, including ones who are members of organizations on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations?
Prof. Barker’s public blog reveals that the SFSU delegation met first in Jordan with Leila Khaled, a convicted hijacker member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization responsible for scores of terrorist attacks and the deaths of more than 20 U.S. citizens.
The SFSU delegation also met with Shaikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who was convicted of funding Hamas, for his participation in terrorist activities against Israel, and for calling for a third Palestinian Arab uprising (intifada) against Israel.
The stalwart organizations who did the due diligence work one would have expected SFSU or the California Regents should have engaged in are, in alphabetical order: the AMCHA INITIATIVE, the Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center Campus Outreach, StandWithUs, and the Zionist Organization of America.
Ellen Griffin, the Associate Vice President of SFSU for University Communications issued a terse statement to reporters. SFSU apparently employs an expansive interpretation academic freedom may which may well include the right of faculty members to meet with genocidal terrorists and to do so even when funding for those meetings comes from taxpayers.
Universities respect and encourage academic freedom and do not censor their scholars or condone censorship by others. Faculty can and do communicate with others relevant to their research, communicating by various methods that can involve travel. Any allegations that a member of the University community misused state funds will be investigated.
One would be forgiven for expecting a university which already kicked to the curb a student for repeatedly making threats against supporters of the Jewish State, and for using dangerous weapons to make more credible his threats, would be a bit cautious about issues relating to terrorism. One might be even entitled to expect that when the academic freedom concerns a faculty member who worked closely with that former threatening student, encouraging him in his fascination and reverence for terrorists, the university would be even more circumspect. But apparently one would be wrong if the university under discussion were San Francisco State University.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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