Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Nightmare is Over at San Francisco State University

The nightmare for Israeli students, Jewish students and pro-Israel students at San Francisco State University is finally coming to an end.  Mohammad G. Hammad,  President of the General Union of Palestinians students  (GUPS) at SFSU is no longer a student

Thank you to all of you.  Because of your calls to San Francisco State University and multiple inquiries from reporters yesterday, university administrators have stated that Mohammad Hammad is no longer enrolled at SFSU and is no longer living on campus.  

In addition, today we spoke with the SF Police Department Office of Special Investigation, and the sergeant informed us that Hammad is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI. 

We remain concerned that the terrorist ideology espoused by Hammad is embraced by other members of the student organization he ran, GUPS, and we will continue to closely monitor the investigation and the GUPS group. 

Thank you again for everything you did to help ensure the safety of Jewish students at SFSU. 

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and Leila Beckwith
AMCHA Initiative Co-founders

Mohammad's reaction?

At least Hammad is self aware enough to realize that being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI is a rather "serious turn".

Of course, the real thanks are due to the team at AMCHA, who have tirelessly pursued this until its ultimate conclusion.

Documentation of Mohammad G. Hammad's threats.

From the AMCHA initiative.  Documentation of Mohammad  G. Hammad's threats.

Remember- Hammad is the president of the General Union of Palestinian Students at San Francisco State. No one at GUPS has denounced Hammad's words, or apologized to the students he potentially  terrorized. No one at GUPS has distanced themselves from their president. This in itself is shocking.

Some musings from Mohammad Hammad via his tumblr account:

From KTVU: SFSU student under fire for anti-Semitic online posts

Its been months.  Finally, the local news stations are picking up on this story.

An Israeli student  at San Francisco State University describes her fear, realizing that Hammad shared a class with her.

A San Francisco State University student is under fire for online posts Jewish students and pro-Israel groups are calling violent and anti-Semitic.

Mohammad G. Hammad, President of the General Union of Palestine Students, last year wrote a series of anti-Israel posts on his Tumblr page that describe wanting to commit violence against fellow students, teachers and Israeli leaders. The tone of the posts is often juvenile and Hammad has in fact admitted his posts were sometimes "immature,” but now, a well-known critic of student Muslim groups is asking San Francisco Police and prosecutors to investigate.

"It's very intimidating to think that someone like this is on the campus and [is] potentially purveying his hatred individually but also through the organization that he leads," said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a UC Santa Cruz lecturer...

 On Tuesday, she visited the offices of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and District Attorney George Gascon, bearing copies of Hammad's Tumblr writings.

In some of the posts, Hammad writes of wanting to behead or stab Israelis. In others, he refers to wanting to hurt some of his fellow students.

"I was really shocked, taken aback, and I felt really scared," SFSU student Shachar Ben-David told KTVU. The Israeli student shared a class with Hammad and said she'd never seen any sign of hostility from in him. 

"I had to take my finals in a separate room because it turned out the student that had posted these posts was in a class that I was very vocal about being Israeli and an Israel supporter," Ben-David said. 

Read it all here

SFSU GUPS President Mohammad Hammad allegedly posts more threats

From Columbine to Sandy Hook, the stories of shootings and violence in our schools and universities have been heartbreaking.   Invariably people look back at the seriously disturbed assailants and ask the same questions. How could someone with these violent proclivities slip under the radar? Why didn’t someone notice? Why didn’t someone do something, anything, proactively, to prevent the horror?

The President of the General Union of Palestinian students at San Francisco State University, Mohammad Hammad first came into scrutiny by publishing a selfie with a knife, describing his fantasy of stabbing an Israeli soldier.  Apparently, it was not an isolated incident taken out of context. More allegations have since been made public, reported by the AMCHA initiative- a  group devoted to keeping Jewish students- and all students- safe on campus.  The “political” nature of Hammad's reported threats and his glorification of violence make them no less horrific. Equally as troublesome is the complete silence of GUPS ,the General Union of Palestinian Students at SFSU and the local Arab and activist community in denouncing his words and his behavior. 
Are our schools doing enough to keep our students safe?  Read Mohammad Hammad's alleged contributions to social media via the AMCHA Initiative, and  answer that yourself. If you were an Israeli student, a Jewish student, or a student who supported Israel would you feel comfortable with him on campus? Are crude threats and intimidation really protected as "free speech" or as legitimate academic discourse?

  • In response to the question, "do you really condone violence?" Hammad answered, " I have a PFLP flag in my room and thing it's great when an IDF soldier trips on his own mine, if that answers your question."
  • "So a few years ago, I managed to meat [sic] a branch commander of the PFLP...There is something really empowering and just good feeling about actually conversing, meeting, and just being around these people who fight for the freedom of our people, while being labeled 'terrorists' by the entire Western World."
  • "So apparently there's a rumor going around in Palestine that I've joined the armed resistance...that's an awesome rumor..."
  • In response the comment, "the pflp is a terrorist organization and legitimizes why everyone calls you a terrorist", Hammad wrote: I've stayed at the home of a branch commander and had dinner with his family. I've also participated in marches and gone to lunch with armed fighters. Guess that makes me a huge terrorist and you should be afraid, because I know where you live"
  • Underneath the photograph of a group of armed, masked fighters bearing the caption "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hammad wrote: "I love these guys"
  • Hammad wrote on top of the image of the PFLP logo, "I just convinced my cousin to get the PFLP logo as a tattoo/I am so happy"
  • The caption underneath a picture of a long sword read: "I want it. Imagine me cutting off the heads of those in the IDF with this"
  • "There are children shouting outside and I want to set them on fire"
  • "I think about killing a lot/and some of you are usually the targets of my daydreams :)"
  • "The only peace I want regarding US soldiers is their head/That's a piece I'm willing to accept"
  • "Let's play a game:/Objective: Kill US soldiers/Goal: World peace"
  • "I have a mental list of people I would pee on and then set on fire"
  • "I think about the time I tried to be - moderate - and advocate for non-violence and honestly I just want to go back in time and slit my own throat/and then the throats of all my enemies before they grow up into the shits they are today"
  • "Oh/And tomorrow is [hopefully] the day that I find out if I will be the President of the General Union of Palestine at my school/...Hopefully I'll be able to radicalize half of our population and bring them back with me as fighters~"
  • "For context - Hillel is the [extremely well funded] Pro-Israeli group on campus, and they have repeatedly painted our group GUPS [General Union of Palestinian Students] as a terror group and screwed us over to no end/...I hope they all trip down the stairs and break their necks :)"
  • Someone asked Hammad, "how can I actively support palestine?", and he answered "Buy a keffieyh/Learn to tie it around your head [I'm willing to teach via Skype~~]/Get in touch with some PFLP militants or arms dealer in the West Bank/Learn IDF patrol routes/???/Boom/Thanks for your help comrade"
  • Hammad posted a message on Tumblr as he was sitting in class listening this his International Political Economy teacher. Another blogger posted the question, "Are you or will you soon be eating his flesh"? Hammad responded: "It is a she and she is pregnant and I may be hungry but I don't think I can down them both...The is the same professor who tried to justify drones last semester, and the professor whose classes I have skipped the most/I severely dislike her"

You can see all of Hammad's violent postings HERE.

The AMCHA Initiative has been under fire by the Electronic Intifada, an extremist agitprop website because of its work and has been condemned for attempting to protect students from precisely these sorts of threats.  Show AMCHA some love- follow them on Facebook and on Twitter.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

To SFSU Hillel: Improving communication

We've heard often how beloved the Hillel leadership is at SFSU and how strong the community is.  While this is a true blessing for Jewish students at the school, it may not have been enough.   With the cycle of adverse publicity and rumors circulating regarding the events at SFSU, a different form of leadership was needed.

The American Psychiatric Association offers advice for those in extraordinary circumstances. Geared for trying times, it provides an effective formula for leadership on campus

Communicate Effectively with Your Community 
Worry and distress can spread within and among communities, resulting in rumors and distortion of the facts of the event. Therefore, special attention should be given to optimizing communication with members of your community and with those outside of your community. Formal and informal leaders can be role models for the importance of sharing grief, communicating hope, identifying facts, managing rumors and providing support to others as needs change over time.

Be Visible–Make Public Announcements and Appearances
By providing useful and accurate information, leaders can re-establish a sense of safety and enhance the community’s trust in leadership.

Provide Accurate, Timely Information on What Is Known, What Is Not Known, and When More Information Will Be Communicated
Press briefings, use of social media, and community meetings can reassure families and dispel rumors. Always say when more information will be available.

Words of Wisdom from GUPS supporters

Its been nearly a month since GUPS  announced their strategy, (blaming the messenger) and launched their petition.

Its truly remarkable how few of the thousand or so signators are from San Francisco State.

Lets take another look at some of the comments, and see just what kind of people defend murder and incitement to violence.

Mikos Fabersunne is well known in anti-Israel circles. He hits a new low here, blaming the Jews for antisemitism on campus.

Rabab Abdulhadi  is deeply concerned with providing a safe environment for Palestinians on campus, but apparently is perfectly ok with Israeli students and supporters being threatened, harassed and vilified.

And there's always room for some classic antisemitism in any anti-Israel document. Note to John Barker and Rand Carter:  If the Zionists really dominated American academia, Mohammad G. Hammad would have been out on his ass  suspended from SFSU weeks ago.

Hashem  Kardevani from Aptos plays constitutional scholar, but neglects to notice the petition seeks to curtail the freedom of speech of those who support Israel's right to exist.

Clayton Plake from Concord seems unclear on the concept. By signing this petition, does that mean he supports threats and intimidation directed towards Jews, and Israelis?

Caroline Lato from Milton, Ma presents her impassioned  plea to find the cuckoos and expose them.  I think we just did.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mohammad G.Hammad Issues a personal Statement. Hint: Its not an apology

 Originally posted at Pro Israel Bay Bloggers

An anonymous commenter points us to Mohammad Hammad's personal  statements about the incidents at San Francisco State University, published here.  Its not an apology.

 Mohammed claims  that  posts threatening to stab and behead Israeli soldiers were part of his sardonic sense of humor, admitting that although they were "immature"  they were taken out of context.

He writes:
"An organization with a track record for hyperbole and misrepresentation has taken some of my old personal blog posts out of context."

Would that be the ADL?  Head Of Pro-Palestinian Student Group Posts Inflammatory Comments On Israel

Would that be CAMERA on Campus? President of Campus Palestinian Group Wants to Stab Israeli Soldiers

Would that be the Simon Wiesenthal center?  SWC to San Francisco State University: Take Action After Violent Posts by Palestinian Student Group Leader - Expel Student & Make Investigatory Findings Public

Would that be the AMCHA  Initiative?  President of SFSU Student Palestinian Group Puts Name and Face to IDF Soldier He Wants to Kill

The vast majority of the organizations charged with protecting the safety of the Jewish community have condemned Mohammad's words.  The vast majority of the organized Jewish community and the blogsphere also expressed their collective outrage.  What Mohammad describes as a  "smear campaign" against him, characterized by "selective quotations and other misrepresentation"   was the unified gasp of revulsion at his words by those who genuinely feared for the safety of Jewish students on campus.

To Mohammad- in what context would  this EVER be acceptable?

Anyone who thinks there can be peace with animals like this is absolutely delusional, and the only “peace” I’m interested in is the head of this fucking scum on a plate, as well as the heads of all others like her, and all others who support the IDF
The Liberation of Palestine can only come through the destruction and decimation of this Israeli plague and it can’t possibly come soon enough.”
You are calling for the genocide of 40% of the Jews on the planet.
Mohammad,  the entirety of your Tumblr post has been widely published.
You captioned a photo of yourself holding a knife: “I seriously can not get over how much I love this blade. It is the sharpest thing I own and cuts through everything like butter and just holding it makes me want to stab an Israeli soldier.”  

You provided the context. The photo and the caption were simply reproduced in their entirety. In what context is incitement to murder EVER acceptable?

Read Mohammad Hammad's personal statement here  and below.  See the narcissism and  moral bankruptcy of a young man who lacks the empathy to ever move beyond his cherished identity as victim.