The Golden Gate XPress, the school newspaper of SFSU has finally written about the controversy that has riveted people outside of campus.
Over a month ago, signs appeared on campus expressing the sentiment "My heroes have always killed colonizers". Coupled with violent and threatening Tumblr posts from Mohammad Hammad, the president of the General Union of Palestinian students, local and national non-profits expressed concern about the climate on campus for the SFSU Jewish community.
Apparently there was no need to worry. According to Francisco González of GUPS, "We don't have a position on Jews". Thanks for clarifying that, Francisco.
From the Golden Gate Xpress:
SF State President Leslie E. Wong sent out a mass email to the campus community Monday, addressing a balance between expression and safety.
Wong wrote the letter in response to two recent events involving students that have garnered harsh scrutiny, and become the subject of debate. Wong referred to two events, one organized by the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and one posted on a GUPS member’s personal blog. Both have been challenged by the AMCHA Initiative, a watchdog organization for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities at universities.
“Strong opinions — and strong disagreements — are essential to the life of our democracy, and the life of our university,” Wong said. “While one may want to step in and sanction a student or colleague for speech we find repugnant, our obligation is to allow the lawful airing of views.”
The first incident happened at the Edward Said mural celebration, which GUPS organized with other campus organizations, where tables were set up for art projects. At one of the tables there was a stencil that read, “My heroes have always killed colonizers,” which the AMCHA Initiative considered anti-Semitic.
The quote, originally referred to a specific rhetoric of Native American resistance and at the rally was held by members of Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS), el Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán (MEChA) and GUPS.
GUPS posted a picture of a member, holding the sign at the celebration, on their group website and it has since received harsh scrutiny from outside sources, including the AMCHA Inititive.
“In the context of the day’s events honoring the Palestinian Mural’s subject Edward Said, who notoriously accused Israeli Jews of being ‘colonizers,’ the stencil clearly refers to the killing of Jews,” said Tammi Benjamin, co-founder and director of the AMCHA Initiative. “Language and images that glorify and honor the murder of Jews are anti-Semitic.”
The second, online incident is the AMCHA Initiative’s exposure of GUPS President Mohammed Hammad, who posted a picture of himself on his personal blog holding a knife and wrote “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.”
Although the picture was posted in August, it too received harsh criticism and has since been removed. This most recent incident prompted the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which runs the Museum of Tolerance, to warn President Wong of a “potential threat” to Jewish students.
San Francisco State University insists that the both veiled and overt threats constitute protected free speech.
Read the article in its entirety here.
And to Francisco, who claimed “We don’t have a position on Jews. We have a problem with Zionists,” take a moment to read just why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Start here:
No Excuses, Progressive Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism