The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel extends its warmest congratulations to Rabab Abdulhadi, Palestinian scholar-activist and longtime USACBI Organizing Collective member who has consistently resisted racism, oppression and all forms of attacks aimed at suppressing her work and Palestinian expression as a whole. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) announced that Dr. Abdulhadi is a recipient of its 2020 Georgina M. Smith Award, which recognizes “a person who has provided exceptional leadership in the past year in improving the status of academic women or in advancing collective bargaining and through that work has improved the profession in general.”
As the announcement notes, “Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi exemplifies courage, persistence, political foresight, and concern for human rights, including union organizing, gender and sexual justice, in her scholarship, teaching, public advocacy, and collaboration with a diverse group of academic, labor, and community organizations. Her commitment to global scholarship that builds mutual understanding is evident in the collaborations she has initiated. As a director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program she brings together scholars, activists, academics, and organizers to create justice-centered knowledge, build broad-based coalitions, and advance the agenda for social change in Palestine, the United States, and internationally. Her leadership transcends the division between scholarship and activism that encumbers traditional university life.”
The letter written to nominate Dr. Abdulhadi for the award details the attacks she has faced by Zionist and right-wing groups as well as the scrutiny, discrimination and repression she encountered from her own university administration at San Francisco State University. As the letter details, “Nonetheless, SFSU has joined these right-wing and pro-Israel groups in discriminating and retaliating against her. This included the misuse of the bureaucracy, “microaggressions”, and threats of or actual disciplinary measures, such as denying her disability accommodations, revoking her travel authorization and refusing to reimburse her for previously approved travel, and most recently using Islamophobic, Orientalist and racist stereotypes in labeling her as “combative” not “civil” “unprofessional” and “toxic” for daring to speak up for herself, her program and her students.”
“After 13 years of trying to persuade SFSU to stop penalizing her and the AMED program, she found no other choice but to bring forward affirmative lawsuits to hold SFSU, a public university that has increasingly become corporatized, accountable for its hostility towards her as a Palestinian Muslim Arab disabled woman. She is widely supported by her CFA faculty union, academic associations, such as American Studies Association, National Women’s Studies Association, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, Middle East Studies Association, National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies Association.”
In order to continue this legal battle, Dr. Abdulhadi also needs financial support; you can donate to support her legal fund at https://al-awda.org/give/. Once again, USACBI salutes our colleague on this well-deserved award recognizing her leading role in seeking justice in the academy and in the world.