Sunday, August 31, 2014

San Francisco State: Tolerating the intolerable

Our friend Mike L.recently originally published  a series of posts at Israel Thrives regarding San Francisco State University

As a graduate he expresses his concern that his alma mater aids and abets anti-Semitism.


He writes

"My concern is that my alma mater finances hatred toward Jews and thus helps to bring that hatred to public prominence in the United States..."

1) SFSU funds student organizations, such as the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), that call for the murder of Jews, whom they call "colonizers."
2) In the last academic year, Muhammad Hammad, the former president of GUPS held up a blade, took a "selfie," and then published it on a social media site and talked about his desire to kill Jews.

3) The adviser to GUPS, professor Rabab Abdulhadi, a malicious anti-Israel anti-Jewish political activist who specializes in some semi-academic discipline called "race and resistance studies," took a university funded trip to the Middle East for the purpose of meeting with various terrorists and their supporters including plane hijacker, Leila Khaled, whom they exalt as a "freedom fighter."

Go to Israel thrives and  read  San Francisco State University Funds Hatred Toward Jews and
SFSU and the Abdulhadi Embarrasment # 1  

Mike reminds of that San Francisco State has a long and checkered history of tolerating the intolerable.

Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, December 14, 2004, Cinnamon Stillwell tells us this:

How did such a threatening environment become associated with a campus located in one of the most liberal and tolerant cities in the nation? The truth is that SFSU has a reputation for intolerance that goes back at least 10 years. In this case, Republican students, clearly a minority at SFSU, were the targets. But in the past, such animosity was directed mostly at Jewish students or those seen as supporting Israel. Jews at SFSU have been spat on, called names and physically attacked, as well as censured by the administration for defending themselves, even as their attackers went unpunished.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

San Francisco State GUPS attempts to disrupt Jewish students celebration

The General Union of Palestinian Students at San Francisco State University have never denounced or distanced themselves from  the genocidal ranting of their president, Mohammad Hammad.  They have attempted to keep a low profile on campus, and according to some sources, postponed a bid at a Divestment referendum until Mohammad's threats were a distant memory.   Yet faced with Jewish students in joyous celebration , the lack of self control that characterized GUPS over the years was out in full force. Until there are consequences for the General Union of Palestinian students- until they are called out and disciplined for their misbehavior- how can we expect San Francisco State to provide a safe campus climate for Jewish students?

From the director Of SFSU Hillel, Alon Shalev

As you might have heard, last week we had a tough Yom Ha'atzmaut at SF State. On Tuesday,the General Union of Palestinians Students held a rally for Naqba (Disaster) Day urging students to come and disrupt our Israel Independence Day. Then on Thursday we held our celebrations.

The first two hours were great: we hosted a shuk (Israeli Market with food,spices, games, and give-aways) and a live performance from local band Sol Tevel. Hundreds stopped to sample the bourekas, rugelach and bamba, pick up information, and dance to Israeli music.

During the final hour, a large group of pro-Palestinians entered the campus quad and held a counter-rally. They were extremely vocal and their chants extreme. As hundreds gathered to watch the spectacle, it became very tense.

Our students were amazing. They continued their singing and dancing throughout. However, many told us afterward about how intimidating it had been. A few left in tears. Ironically, at the end, several discussions broke out between our students and pro-Palestinians. They were hard conversations, but conducted with civility.

On Friday, we invited students to come before our Yom Ha'atzmaut Shabbat to discuss what happened. Usually, a dozen students attend the pre-Shabbat conversations, but this time over 40 students attended. I heard many talk of intimidation and disappointment, but also determination to continue and share the beauty of Israel and all its achievements.

Our JAFI Israel Fellow, Sima Toledano, facilitated the conversation and did an amazing job. She also phoned every student she could remember was on the Quad to see if they were okay.

 After Shabbat service, we partied and ate schnitzel. The house was packed with students setting up tables outside, downstairs and even in the garage! This was the opportunity they were denied on Thursday - the chance to celebrate, to retell stories of their experiences in Israel. Many of this year's Birthright students, who leave in two weeks for Israel, attended both on the Quad and at the Hillel House, and were swept up in the moment.
Alon concludes:


....this week also highlighted why Jewish students need a safe space to be Jewish and explore their relationship with Israel.


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.