USACBI congratulates Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi on legal victory, calls on SFSU to respect demands

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel congratulates Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi, her legal team and her community defense supporters for an important victory for all who struggle for Palestinian rights, especially on campus. The lawsuit against Prof. Abdulhadi and San Francisco State University filed by the Zionist Lawfare Project in an attempt to suppress faculty research and student activism on Palestine was dismissed with prejudice by a federal judge on October 30. This means that the lawsuit cannot be filed again.

The Lawfare Project is dedicated to abusing the legal system to attack and harm faculty, students and all people of conscience who stand for Palestinian rights. This court victory underlines the fact that these allegations are a baseless attempt to repress Palestinian organizing and even scholarly study. They have also come hand in hand with a racist campaign of harassment and attacks by an array of far-right forces outside and inside SFSU, from the posting of harassing, racist and sexist caricatures and posters around the campus to the threatening presence of a self-proclaimed Nazi student at Prof. Abdulhadi’s open classrooms.

The attacks by the Lawfare Project have come hand in hand, unfortunately, with the university’s failure to properly support its faculty and students under attack, including providing the AMED (Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas) program with insufficient funding and faculty lines and failing to present a strong defense of targeted scholars and activists. As we extend our congratulations to Prof. Abdulhadi, we also call on the university to uphold its obligations.

In this regard, USACBI sent the following letter to Dr. Leslie Wong, the president of SFSU:

Dear President Wong:

We write as members of the Organizing Collective of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. We urge you to make clear that you support public education, that you take seriously your accountability to the public, and that you will no longer buckle to right-wing pressures and Zionist donors by heeding the demands issued by Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi:

  1. Publicly issue that overdue apology that you have owed Prof. Abdulhadi since 2013 to stop further damage to her reputation and her career.
  2. Categorically and unambiguously defend her against false charges of anti-Semitism by making it clear that anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel’s colonialism, racism and apartheid cannot be equated with anti-Semitism. Judge Orrick’s November 8th judgement might be instructive here.
  3. Initiate and oversee a transparent and open investigation of the rise in Islamophobia, anti-Arab racism and hostility to Palestine that has escalated on your administration’s watch
  4. Hold accountable those responsible for promoting and emboldening such a hostile Islamophobic, racist and anti-Palestinian environment
  5. Institute immediate structural changes to end the vulnerability and instability of the AMED Studies program by (a) reinstating the AMED faculty lines to honor Prof. Abdulhadi’s contract and the University’s commitment to her and the community; (b) remove all bureaucratic, vindictive, bullying, disrespectful and institutional obstacles that undermine her ability to do her job and that obstruct AMED Studies from becoming the University department that she was brought to build; (c) provide AMED Studies with the staff and operating budget that they need to survive; and (d) stop treating Prof. Abdulhadi, her students, her program, and her communities as “foreigners” and a threat to the university.

As you enter your final months as SFSU president, taking these steps provide you the opportunity to mitigate some of the damage done under your leadership to free speech and to Prof. Abdulhadi and other faculty members and students–particularly those who are Arab and Muslim–who are standing up for justice in Palestine and working for a world free of Islamophobia and racism.

The USACBI Organizing Collective

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