San Francisco State Univ. funds professors’ Middle East meeting with terrorists

Kaitlyn Schallhorn

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  • Professor Rabab Abdulhadi led a delegation of six academics and a labor activist to Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank.
  • The delegation met with Leila Khaled, a convicted hijacker, and Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
  • San Francisco State University (SFSU) used taxpayer dollars to send a group of professors to the Middle East to meet with convicted terrorists.

    SFSU professor Rabab Abdulhadi led a delegation of six academics and one labor activist on a trip to Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank where they met with at least two members of known terrorist organizations. Originally, she planned to present a paper at the American University in Lebanon’s Center for American Studies and Research conference, but her name was dropped from the conference. However, the trip continued, costing the university more than $7,000 alone for Abdulhadi to travel.

    "Professor Abdulhadi called the trip a ‘political solidarity tour’ and not a research with colleagues tour."   

    The delegation met with Leila Khaled, convicted hijacker and member of the terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel who has funded the terrorist organization Hamas.

    Salah has been consistently vocal about his anti-Semitic views and has been charged with inciting violence and racism on multiple occasions.

    “We have never allowed ourselves to knead [the dough for] the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children's blood,” Salah was quoted as saying prior to one of his arrests in Jerusalem. “Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread.”

    Joanne Barker, professor of American Indian studies at SFSU and an attendee on the trip, wrote on her blog that the delegation was able to establish “working relationships and furthered their solidarities with Palestinian scholars, artists, and activists engaged in BDS and other efforts against the occupation.”

    Members from eight pro-Israel advocacy groups decried the Academic and Labor Delegation to Palestine after a California public records inquiry divulged the political nature of the trip.

    “We’re very concerned as we believe [Abdulhadi] lied to the university and misrepresented the nature of her trip in order to get funding and insurance for her trip to meet with terrorists,” Tammi Benjamin from AMCHA told Campus Reform in an interview.

    “To suggest that the mere fact of meeting with someone to interview them as a part of your research necessarily means you are endorsing their politics is ridiculous, whether those politics are right, left, or other,” Barker told Campus Reform in a brief email.

    But Benjamin disagrees.

    “It’s important to note that Professor Abdulhadi called the trip a ‘political solidarity tour’ and not a research with colleagues tour,” she said. “I find it really hard to believe that’s research and had any fundamental academic value. It was purely political.”

    Benjamin says AMCHA is mostly upset that the school used taxpayer money to fund such a polarized trip and is unhappy that Abdulhadi omitted key details of the trip—which could have been important for insurance purposes—from the preliminary itinerary she gave to university.

    “She’s welcome to her own political activism. She’s welcome to protest Israel. She’s welcome to her own opinion. And she’s welcome to trips like this,” Benjamin said. “Our only issue is that she’s doing it on the taxpayer’s dime.”

    AMCHA has since sent two different letters to SFSU’s President Leslie Wong and the California State University board of trustees asking for the school to conduct an investigation into how the tax money was exactly spent, but have yet to receive a response.

    SFSU and Abdulhadi both did not respond to Campus Reform’s multiple requests for comment.

    Baker told Campus Reform that while she cannot speak for the other delegates on the trip, she did not receive any travel funds from SFSU. She said her expenses were all out-of-pocket.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn


    Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Kaitlyn was a reporter at Red Alert Politics and covered business and restaurants for the Alexandria Times.  

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    Molly Conway
    @mm_conway - 50 min ago

    @mrvanceatmc Thank you for this! I knew in the first paragraph of the @campusreform article that it was unreliable

    Reid Vance
    @mrvanceatmc - 1 hour ago

    To my students: avoid lazy journalism. Today's @campusreform article on MC is exactly that.

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn
    @K_Schallhorn - 2 hours ago

    @abigailkwalker @campusreform that's cute b/c you clearly know absolutely nothing about ethics or journalism. Hope you can get your $ back.

    Abbie Walker
    @abigailkwalker - 2 hours ago

    @K_Schallhorn They teach ethical journalism, obviously something that @campusreform doesn't think is important

    Abbie Walker
    @abigailkwalker - 2 hours ago

    @campusreform You let your reporters publish stories with one source? What kind of journalism is that? @gabriellahope_

    Gringo Suave
    @2009superglide - 3 hours ago

    The instructor is guilty of the "either/or" logical fallacy Hair @SHannitysHair @mrvanceatmc @campusreform @gabriellahope_

    @RNRNewMexico - 3 hours ago

    Student vet with PTSD suspended, labeled threat after requesting to meet with non-Muslim counselor via @campusreform

    @SHannitysHair - 3 hours ago

    @mrvanceatmc @campusreform @gabriellahope_ so Mr. Instructor of Communication, send a link to your piece disputing this account.

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