Friday, June 20, 2014




San Francisco, California
Friday, June 20, 2014

The undersigned write in response to the gross misinformation circulating by far-right conservative groups and news forums about the North American Academic and Labor Delegation to Palestine in January 2014 and the San Francisco State University report back in March 2014.

The delegation was organized by Rabab Abdulhadi, Associate Professor of Race and Resistance Studies Department and Director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Program in the College of Ethnic Studies. It included a total of seven delegates from four universities in the United States and Canada (San Francisco State University, the University of Illinois, the University of Texas, and the University of British Columbia). Over fourteen days, the delegation met with 198 individuals from 89 organizations and visited 21 cities, towns, and refugee camps in both the 48 and West Bank territories (for safety reasons, they were unable to travel to Gaza). The meetings included university officials, former political prisoners, cultural centers, human rights organizations, the Palestinian Parliament, Christian and Muslim leaders, and artists. Three of the delegates provided a report back regarding their experiences to the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University in March 2014 which Ken Monteiro, Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, several SFSU and neighboring campus faculty and students attended totaling about one-hundred over the three hour event.

The AMCHA Initiative and other far-right organizations and news forums have been engaged in a campaign to discredit the delegation and the scholarship of the delegates, get Abdulhadi fired, censored, and/or legally charged with the misuse of state funds, secure the dissolution or censor of AMED at SFSU, and otherwise censor the delegates in order to disgrace anyone who is critical of Israeli policies and U.S. funding to Israel. The specific accusations of Dr. Abdulhadi have been that she misused state funds and that she (and so the delegation) conspired with terrorists. They have also accused the delegates at the report back of creating a hostile and unsafe place for Jewish students at SFSU.

With regards to the accusation that Dr. Abdulhadi deceptively used “taxpayer dollars” for political and personal purposes under the guise of conducting research, SFSU conducted an investigation of all relevant travel documents and concluded that Dr. Abdulhadi complied with established rules for the use of research funds without fault or violation and that, therefore, the allegations made against her have no merit. With regards to the accusation that Dr. Abdulhadi, and by implication the delegation, conspired with terrorists, SFSU found that Dr. Abdulhadi’s academic research, consistent with the mission of the College of Ethnic Studies and the University, involves communicating with many different people and examining many different controversial issues. The university concluded that the delegation was an expression of academic freedom and refused to condone the censor of it. (As of today, Leslie E. Wong, President of SFSU, has written to the SFSU student paper exonerating Abdulhadi of these two charges.)

Lastly, accusations have been made that the report back created a hostile and unsafe place for Jewish people at SFSU. The person providing the “evidence” of this is not a faculty, staff, or student member of the university. She attended the report back, posed the first question, and identified herself as “Faith.” In response to comments made by two of the delegates regarding Nelson Mandela’s well‑known support of Palestinian rights and identification of Israel as an apartheid regime, “Faith” claimed that there was a youtube record of Mandela accepting an honorary degree from an Israeli university and not merely supporting but showing his love of Israel. Delegates researched this claim and found it not to be true. Mandela received hundreds of honorary degrees from around the world over the course of his lifetime. He accepted an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in 1997, but no where in his acceptance speech does he assert a change in his position or the position of the African National Congress regarding Israel’s apartheid. In fact, his speech draws parallels between the Bedouin of the Negev and the experiences of Africans in South Africa.

Soon after her question “Faith” was called out by a faculty member from UC Berkeley for audio-recording the report back with a device she had hid in her purse. The moderator of the report back asked her if this was true. “Faith” claimed she arrived late and did not hear the announcement about not recording the event without permission, a standard protocol at university forums, including the classroom and public events. She gestured that she was turning off the recording. But AMCHA later posted the full audio recording on youtube and flagged it as evidence of "anti-Semitism" on campus. The recording shows quite clearly that "Faith" was recording the event from the very beginning of the report back, just as the delegates were getting situated, and so most certainly heard the moderator's announcements regarding not recording without permission. The report back provided no instances of "anti-Semitism" though the delegates did, consistent with the United Nations, identify Israel as an apartheid regime engaged in actions of ethnic cleansing, racial discrimination, and displacement that violate Palestinian human rights. No formal complaint of anti-Semitism has been filed by anyone who attended the report back.

The accusations made of Dr. Abdulhadi have been shown to be without merit and to falsely represent the situations they address. They do so in ways intended to incite anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism, discourage support for the Palestinian call for the academic boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, and dismantle programs and resources at universities in Arab and Muslim Studies. In all of this, they seek to censor critics of U.S. and Israeli policies in respect of Palestine and Palestinian human rights. We encourage everyone to review the situation in Palestine for themselves.

We urge SFSU President Wong to issue a public statement reflecting that Dr. Abdulhadi has not misused state funds and affirm that her research activities further the value and mission of AMED, the College of Ethnic Studies. and San Francisco State University.


1.        Joanne Barker, San Francisco State University
2.        Paola Bacchetta, University of California, Berkeley
3.        Robert Keith Collins, San Francisco State University
4.        Angela Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz
5.        Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz
6.        Çavlan Erengezgin, University of British Columbia
7.        Jason Ferreira, San Francisco State University
8.        Rasmyah Hammoudeh, B.A., San Francisco State University
9.        Andrew Jolivétte, San Francisco State University
10.     Maryam Kashani, filmmaker (Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin)
11.     J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University
12.     Felix Salvador Kury, San Francisco State University
13.     Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University
14.     John-Carlos Perea, San Francisco State University
15.     Junaid Rana, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
16.     Roberto Rivera, San Francisco State University
17.     Jaime Veve, Labor and Social Rights Activist
18.     Waziyatawin, Ph.D.



Link here to the statement from the SFSU President regarding the investigation of travel fund support, June 24, 2014.

Link here to the statement from the Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, June 25, 2014.

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