Support Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi and Arab and Palestinian Committed Scholars Against Zionist Intimidation

Originally circulated 8/24/2014

Dear PYM Community and supporters,

We urge you to support Professor Rabab Abdulhadi who has been the target of a smear campaign by AMCHA, a right-wing, racist and Zionist organization led by Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz.  Dr. Abdulhadi’s First Amendment Rights have been attacked and her legitimate research endeavors have been manipulated by Rossman-Benjamin; Professor Abdulhadi faces allegations of anti-semitism, misuse of public funds, and support for terrorism.  The AMCHA initiative has gone to great lengths to discredit Dr. Abdulhadi in order to silence and censor her for her criticism of Israel, as it has done repeatedly in the past with other vocal advocates for justice in Palestine.  

Rossman-Benjamin’s history of intimidating critics of Israel and its policies on US campuses only serves to stifle freedom of speech, silence debate, and isolate those who are often already marginalized.  Though the University carried out a thorough investigation into the baseless and false allegations levied against Dr. Abdulhadi, it refused, until June 24th, to make public President Wong’s press release that explicitly cleared her of the charges.  

Professor Abdulhadi has received broad based support from other communities across the nation, but AMCHA continues its campaign to smear her.  Considering that we have the most at stake, it is imperative for our safety and that of our brothers and sisters at risk of attack that we express our isappointment with the University’s handling of this issue and make our voices heard immediately!

Please sign one of the letters below. 

Palestinian, Arab and Muslim Community Organizations and Members Unequivocally Support Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi:Under Zionist Attacks

International Academic and Public Intellectuals Letter in support of Professor Abdulhadi

Petition demanding that President Wong publicly reject the false accusations being made against Profressor Abdulhadi and to affirm that her activities advance the mission of the university

For Professor Abdulhadi’s statement, click here.  For the much delayed and finally released ambiguous statement made by President Wong clearing Professor Abdulhadi of any allegations, please click here. Continue below to read PYM’s letter to President Wong.

Until Return and Liberation,

The Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) – USA Branch

Letter from the Palestinian Youth Movement in the Bay Area to SF State University President:

June, 17, 2014

Dear President Leslie E. Wong,

We are writing to express our condemnation and refusal for the accusations made by the AMCHA initiative against Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, the leading scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) Initiative. Dr. Abdulhadi is one of the pillars of Arab American and Palestinian academy in the United States, she is known for her unique approach in activist scholarship and we believe that AMCHA’s accusations not only aim to silence Palestinian, Arab and Muslim voices in the US but to also criminalize critical and social justice scholarship, one of the core values of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State, which remains the only Ethnic studies college in the nation.

Since her beginning at SFSU, Dr. Abdulhadi has been a mentor to many of our members in the Palestinian Youth Movement- Bay Area chapter and a valuable supporter of our Arab and Muslim community organizations and social justice initiatives that aimed to expose Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism. We know that this is not the first attack by AMCHA against Dr. Abdulhadi and we know that they will try their best to create obstacles to AMED and Abdulhadi's work. It is not a coincidence that in their website AMCHA quotes writings by Tammi Benjamin, AMCHA’s co-founder that invalidates the College of Ethnic Studies, Black Student Union, Black Studies and people of color activism and scholarship. It is an indication that attempting to silence the Arab and Palestinian voices is rooted in larger xenophobic ideas and racism against marginalized communities and our right to reclaim our education and our historical narrative. 

As many of us are students and graduates of San Francisco State University, we pride ourselves by carrying on the legacy set forth by the history of SFSU, the College of Ethnic Studies and the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS). We view the academy as a space for free speech, critical scholarship and an incubator of relevant community involvement and leadership. As you have demonstrated, academic freedom is a critical principle that must be upheld, protected and enshrined in the value system of SFSU.

Thus, we respectfully ask you to disregard AMCHA's accusations and attacks and support Dr. Abdulhadi and students of our community through this campaign of pressure and intimidation. AMCHA is nothing but an extension of a wealthy and powerful lobby that has been for decades dominating US academy and public opinion through use of political money and campaigns of intimidation as the ones they have been recently waging against the General Union of Palestine students and Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi.  AMCHA, like other right-wing Zionist organizations, continue to use misleading rhetoric that conflates criticism of Israeli government racist and exclusionary policies with anti-Semitism, thus betting on the publics’ ignorance and fears. Despite that, numbers of students of various religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds that are engaging in Palestine-justice activism has been steadily growing. Those brave students and scholars continue to educate, protest and make the connections between the Palestinian movement for liberation with that of Native and indigenous struggle, and other movements for decolonization and liberation in South Africa, Latin America and the Global South. They have exposed the hypocrisy of Israel and US official policies and rightfully called for accountability. While we salute the bravery of student activism on US campuses we realize that those successes are accompanied with considerable sacrifice. Many individuals, students and faculty have been attacked and harassed and silenced, yet this does not seem to be stopping the persistence of this movement. AMCHA and other right-wing Zionist organizations are feeling threatened and discomfort simply because knowledge is being disseminated and more and more students and faculty are taking on the responsibility of challenging the unjust status-quo. Thus we realize that their campaign will continue, unless administrations are willing to be truthful to values of intellectual freedom and refuse to subscribe to libel campaigns and monetary pressure. 

We agree that SFSU needs to be a safe environment to the entire student body, faculty and workers community and we also agree that this should not be at the expense of silencing those more vulnerable or those who have been historically marginalized and repressed by the dominant structures. Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are an important part of SFSU community and the vibrant activist and social and global justice movement in the Bay Area and we believe that the AMED initiative lead by Dr. Abdulhadi is worth of more support and nurture from your administration. Finally, we believe that critical scholarship is not just about representation of the various communities but also about asking the uncomfortable questions and pushing for more comprehensive and just realities and world-views, hence, SFSU should be the place where the local and global connections are made and where students and faculty are encouraged to pursue those alternative world views where justice, liberation and equality for all is addressed and re-imagined.

Thus, President Wong, we hope that you will take seriously the mandate to defend your professors, the College of Ethnic Studies and academic freedom as well as student mobilization. We strongly urge you to release a public declaration clearing Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi and the College of Ethnic Studies and to show the community that smear campaigns by external forces will not suffice to silence voices of dissent at SFSU. It is in this moment, President Wong, that we need you to be our leader. 


The Palestinian Youth Movement – Bay Area Chapter.

The United States Branch.